Sometimes the best stories come to us when we are challenged to leave our comfort zone and write something we wouldn’t usually try. In that spirit, to give our writing a boost, let’s make a game out of using a writing prompt.

Writing Prompt: The Random Title Challenge

The Title Challenge Writing Prompt

Many of my favorite short stories have started with a fun and challenging title. I love starting with an image and then allowing the story to flow from there. A few of my novels (like The Window Washing Boy) started as a short story inspired by a writing prompt just like this one.

Below are three lists. Using a random number generator or a die, select one thing from each list.

1. Chose a descriptor

  1. Seven
  2. Weeping
  3. Green
  4. Enraged
  5. Tall
  6. Sorry

2. Chose a primary word

  1. Screwdriver
  2. Elephant Tusk
  3. Daughter
  4. Unwanted Apology
  5. Elf
  6. Hamburger Bun

3. Chose an ending word

  1. The Purple Meat
  2. This Guy Named Ralph
  3. The Land of Lost Things
  4. The Silent Winter
  5. The Pumpkin Spice Latte
  6. The Microwave
  7. The Ordinary Day

4. Create your title

Now drop the words you selected into the following title:

The [Descriptor] [Primary Word] and [Ending Word]

Where Will Your Writing Prompt Title Take You?

This is the title of the short story you should write today. Imagine a scenario in your head where these things come together, start writing, and see what happens.

You may be surprised at where you take the story.

Where do you find inspiration for new stories? Let me know in the comments.


Follow the writing prompt above to build your title. Using the title you’ve come up with, write for fifteen minutes.

Once you are done, post your story in the comments below. Make sure to leave comments on the other stories people have posted. And remember to have fun.

Jeff Elkins is a writer who lives Baltimore with his wife and five kids. If you enjoy his writing, he'd be honored if you would subscribe to his free monthly newsletter. All subscribers receive a free copy of Jeff's urban fantasy novella "The Window Washing Boy."

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