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Young Writers Project Writing Prompts for the New Year

Each week, Young Writers Project receives several hundred submissions from students in Vermont and New Hampshire in response to writing prompts and selects the best for publication here and in 20 other newspapers and on This week, we are publishing the student prompts for the second half of the school year.

16. Invisible. Imagine that you are invisible for a day and could be anywhere at any time in history, witnessing without participating. What do you see? Alternates: General writing in any genre; or Photo #7. Wrote a poem based on this picture. Due Jan. 18.

17. I like… Create a list of things you like. They can be random and unrelated or they can have a progression and tell a story within a story. Alternate: Relief. Describe the moment when you felt the greatest sensation of relief from thirst, hunger, sadness, pain or fear. Due Jan. 25.

18. Three letters. Choose three letters. You can write a poem or a short story, but all words must either start or end with these letters. Alternate: Bottle. You’re walking along the beach and a bottle with a message inside washes up on the shore. What is the message? What do you do? Due Feb. 1.

19. Surprising. Interview someone you know and ask the person to tell you a story you’d never heard. Alternate: Photo #8. Write a story or poem based on this photo. Due Feb. 8.

20. Package. The UPS truck arrives with a huge box addressed to you. What’s inside? Who’s it from? Alternate: General writing in any genre. Due Feb. 15.

21. Eternal night. You wake up one morning and the sun doesn’t rise. It doesn’t rise the next day either. What do you do? Alternate: Silver lining. When bad things happen, how do you recover? What advice would you give? Due Feb. 22.

22. Egg. You go outside one day and find a big purple egg in your backyard. You keep the egg for a few days and then it hatches. What happens? Alternates: General writing in any genre; or Photo #9. There’s a dog in the window of this old place. What’s the story? Due March 1.

23. Lesson. You are sitting in a park and an old man sits down beside you. At first you are annoyed, but he teaches you something that you had no idea you could do. What is it? Alternate: Rhyming poetry. Write a poem that follows any strict rhyming scheme. Due March 8.

24. Outrageous. Write a story that begins, “This is the funniest story I’ve ever heard…” Alternate: Thirty-five. You wake up and you are suddenly 35 years old. What is your life like now? Due March 15.

25. Six words. Create as many six-word stories as you can. Alternate: News story. Write an opinion piece based on a current news story. Take a side and make a persuasive argument – in a maximum of three paragraphs; or General writing. Due March 22.

26. Promise. Write about a promise you made but couldn’t keep. Alternate: Strength. Write about a time when you had to be strong, physically or mentally. Due March 29.

27. Mystery. Something very strange just happened, and you don’t know how or why. Write a story. Be succinct. Alternate: Photo #10. Write about this photo – from any angle. Due April 5.

28. Dislike. Write about something that disgusts you, no matter how wrong, distasteful, or awkward it is. Alternate: Fairy tale. Write a fairytale that includes the phrase, “one thousand peas.” Due April 12.

29. Scared. What really scares you? Why? Tell a story about when you confronted it. Alternate: White lie. Write about a little white lie that grows and turns into a bigger lie until you can’t keep up. Due April 19.

30. Technology. Your cell phone is broken and you can’t get a new one. It’s your first day without it. What happens? Alternate: Photo #11. Write about this photo. Due April 26.

31. Long ago. Write a journal/diary entry of someone from a different time period — past or future. What was everyday life like? What’s important about this specific entry? Alternate: Being right. Describe a time when you were sure that you were right, but someone else refused to see your view. How was it resolved? Due May 3.
32. Music. Choose a piece of music and write a story that flows from it. Tell us what music you were listening to. Alternate: Three wishes. What would you wish for – in three sentences? Due May 10.

33. Vacation. Rewcall a specific moment on a favorite vacation and describe it. Or imagine your perfect vacation. Alternate: General writing in any genre. Due May 17.