Writing Prompts – Pictures of People


There are hundreds of things we see every day that can spark a story. Watching people on the street, in cafes, in the park, can set us wondering what their life is like and what has brought them to where they are now.

Below are ten photographs of people in different situations. Pick the one that immediately grabs your attention and sets your imaginative juices flowing, and see if you can write a story about it.

Set aside twenty minutes and just write. Don’t worry about grammar or editing, just write and get your story down on paper. As your theme, consider why these people are there and what are they about to do?

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man behind door
Lucy opens the wardrobe

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you collect photographs or notes? What are your sources? Share your thoughts and inspiration here.


  1. I think this is a really interesting idea. I’ve actually been working with two other creative writers on a school project (we’re in college) called Muse, whose purpose is to inspire writers by providing random words and pictures. We prototyped several versions and ended up with a version that allows writers to infinitely scroll through a mix of random and associated words, learning from what the writer clicks. Then on the next page it offers random pictures from the internet (as well as random tweets and online posts) associated with each word. Feedback we’ve gotten is that one word or one picture can help someone determine what he or she is writing about. There was one instance where a picture associated with the word dream lead a writer to change their poem to turn darker and be about the line between dreaming and death. It’s been incredibly interesting seeing how different people associate words and pictures and how the visual aspect is more useful to some than others.

    Check out our project (it’s completely non-comercial, like I said, we are students):

    1. MuseInspire definitely looks interesting, Sierra. I love the idea that one word or picture can lead you far from your original thinking and generate fresh and unexpected ideas. I’m a great believer in the story telling itself but you have to have the catalysts. Your project makes writing more unexpected and can help change the writer’s style and direction. I’ll be back to investigate more. Thank you.

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