30 Non-Fiction Writing Prompts
“Writing is an act of great courage, and writing creative non-fiction raises up the stakes even higher. It is not a genre for the fainthearted.”
–Ayelet Tsabari, Judge’s Essay, EVENT 45/3.
EVENT’s Non-Fiction Contest is one of our most exciting events of the year. We’ve created 30 creative non-fiction prompts to warm up your writing brains. Click on each link for explanation and discussion of the prompt.
- Write about a moment that divided your life into before and after.
- Write about a “missed connection.”
- Recall a memorable (delightful, brilliant, cruel) teacher from your school days.
- “The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.” – Ernest Hemingway
- Write about a book you loved as a child. Use this as a jumping off point to say something about who you are now.
- Do something you’ve never done before. Write about the experience.
- Find a piece of music that reminds you of a time and place from your past.
- Write about a déjà vu experience, where one incident reminded you of another one from your past.
- Write a scene of a personal experience that risks making you look bad.
- Make the familiar unfamiliar.
- Write about an experience where setting was your main antagonist.
- Write about a childhood incident, using the “Voice of Innocence.”
- Write about a twist of fate.
- Write about a time you were a fish out of water.
- Write about a time you or someone you know had a “status update.”
- Write your own “modern love” story.
- Write about a time your body rebelled.
- Imagine what the life of a person you know was like before you met them.
- Begin a creative non-fiction piece with a scene of movement, creating rhythm with your prose.
- Write a piece about two incidents from your life that occurred in the same setting, finding a thematic link between them.
- Write a creative non-fiction piece in the form of a list.
- Write a piece using the 2nd person point of view.
- Write a 6-word memoir.
- Write a piece centred on your hometown.
- Tell the other side of the story.
26-30. Revise, revise, revise.
Please share these prompts with your writer friends, colleagues, and students!
Once you’ve polished up your piece, send it to EVENT’s Non-Fiction Contest. We’re proud to say it’s the longest running contest of its kind in Canada, and more than a few talented writers have been discovered in our pages. Winners receive up to $1,500 in cash prizes, as well as publication.
For contest details, click here.