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Writing Prompts 101 – Part 1: How to Use Photo Prompts

Writing Prompts 101

Part 1: How to Use Photo Prompts

In one of my posts, I talked about The 5 Most Important Things You Need to Start Writing. There we agreed that once you have all the tools to start writing, you need an idea to get started. Sometimes that’s the hardest part. So today I’m going to talk about some things you can use to find writing ideas.

What Is a Writing Prompt?

A writing prompt can be anything that gets you thinking and imagining something. It can be something you see, like a photo, a painting or a video clip. Your job is to look at this and start asking yourself questions about it and imagine the answers. For example, lets try one. This is a photo I took last year.

Writing Prompt damaged bicycle
Photo by Abby – Help Kids Write HQ

How to Use a Photo Prompt


“Where is this bike?”

Let’s say it’s in a lake.


“Why is it in a lake?”

We’ll say it’s because it doesn’t work anymore.


“What happened to it?”

It was hit by a truck.


“How did it get hit by a truck?”

A boy didn’t lock it up at night. Someone stole it and they left it in an alley where a delivery truck ran over it.


“Who stole the bike? Why did the steal it? How did the bike end up in the lake?”

See how this works? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions because this is your imagination. You use the object to create a setting, action and a story behind each. What is even more fun is that you may decide not to write about the the bike at all. You may choose to write about the man driving the truck who ran over the bike. Or maybe you want to tell the story of the person who stole the bike. Or, you might write about the lady reading the ad in the paper announcing that someone is missing their bike. Even more interesting, you could write about what happened to the bike from the bike’s point of view. If you use your imagination, one photo can help you create just about any kind of story.

This is just one example of a photo writing prompt.

To view more than five hundred writing prompt photos, visit this Pinterest board. You can also visit Young Poets Portal for more writing prompts.

In my next post, I’ll be talking about standard writing prompts. To be alerted when I publish the post, feel free to subscribe to Help Kids Write HQ.