In partnership with Creative Screenwriting and ScreenCraft, “First Draft” is a series on everything to do with screenwriting.
Welcome to the story den of horror, scares, and the macabre.
Most writers are often asked, “Where do you get your ideas from?” A majority of the time, writers find it difficult to answer that question.
We get our ideas from a plethora of sources—news headlines, novels, television shows, movies, our lives, our fears, our phobias, etc. They can come from a scene or moment in a film that wasn’t fully explored. They can come from a single visual that entices the creative mind—a seed that continues to grow and grow until the writer is forced to finally put it to paper or screen.
In the spirit of helping writers find those seeds, here we offer 101 originally conceived and terrifying story prompts that you can use as inspiration for your next horror story.
They may inspire screenplays, novels, short stories, or even smaller moments that you can include in what stories you are already writing or what you will create in your upcoming projects.
But beware! If you scare easily—and have active imaginations like most writers do—turn up the lights and proceed with caution…
1. A girl goes missing in the woods and her parents find only a decrepit and scary doll left behind. They soon learn that the doll is actually their daughter. And she’s alive.
2. New residents to an old neighborhood are invited by their friendly neighbors to a Halloween party. The neighbors are vampires.
3. A family dog runs away from home. He returns a year later to the delight of his family. But there’s something different about him. Something demonic.
4. A girl goes missing. Fifteen years later her parents get a call from her older self. But they listen in fear because they killed their daughter that dark night years ago.
5. A man reads a novel, soon realizing that the story is his very own—and according to the book, a killer is looming.
6. A scientist clones his family that died in an airplane crash—but soon learns the repercussions of playing God.
7. A man wakes up bound to an electric chair.
8. A man wakes up in a coffin next to a fresh dead body.
9. A woman wakes up to find her family gone and her doors and windows boarded up with no way to escape.
10. A man afraid of snakes is shipwrecked on an island covered with them.