30 Non-Fiction Writing Prompts

February 24, 2017 at 11:11 am  •  Posted in Articles, Contest, Home Page, Welcome by

“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.

  1. Write about a moment that divided your life into before and after.
  1. Write about a “missed connection.”
  1. Recall a memorable (delightful, brilliant, cruel) teacher from your school days.
  1. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.” – Ernest Hemingway
  1. Write about a book you loved as a child. Use this as a jumping off point to say something about who you are now.
  1. Do something you’ve never done before. Write about the experience.
  1. Find a piece of music that reminds you of a time and place from your past.
  1. Write about a déjà vu experience, where one incident reminded you of another one from your past.
  1. Write a scene of a personal experience that risks making you look bad.
  1. Make the familiar unfamiliar.
  1. Write about an experience where setting was your main antagonist.
  1. Write about a childhood incident, using the “Voice of Innocence.”
  1. Write about a twist of fate.
  1. Write about a time you were a fish out of water.
  1. Write about a time you or someone you know had a “status update.”
  1. Write your own “modern love” story.
  1. Write about a time your body rebelled.
  1. Imagine what the life of a person you know was like before you met them.
  1. Begin a creative non-fiction piece with a scene of movement, creating rhythm with your prose.
  1. Write a piece about two incidents from your life that occurred in the same setting, finding a thematic link between them.
  1. Write a creative non-fiction piece in the form of a list.
  1. Write a piece using the 2nd person point of view.
  1. Write a 6-word memoir.
  1. Write a piece centred on your hometown.
  1. 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.