Visual Prompts for Narrative Writing

When you have to write, nothing can seem scarier than the blank sheet of paper or a Word file page in front of you. Especially when you have to write a number of words but cannot think how to complete them, you need some inspiration. This is commonly called writer’s block but it is just a temporary state of mind that you can easily overcome with visual prompts as ideas for story writing. 

Narrative writing prompts for writing engaging stories

In this article, you will find some narrative writing prompt ideas to write stories. These prompts will give you effective ways to get your writing going. The narrative style of writing is used for fiction stories as well as nonfiction like memoirs and autobiography.

Also read article How to tell stories to children.

5 Visuals as Writing Prompts

dog writing prompts

Dog Finding Something

  • Where is the dog?
  • Is the dog lost?
  • What will happen next?
boy writing prompts

Boy in Mud

  • How did the boy get covered in mud?
  • What happened?
  • Why is the other boy calling him?

Also read: Types of Fiction Genres

aliens ufo at night graphics for kids

Aliens at Night

  • Is that a UFO?
  • Are they aliens?
  • Why are they here?
hiker writing prompts

Mountaineers at Peak

  • Which mountain is it?
  • Who are the mountaineers?
  • How was their journey?
police at grocery store graphics

Police in Community

  • What are the police doing?
  • Why did the police come at the local store?
  • Is the grocery store owner safe?

Also read: Methods of Storytelling.

Why use visuals as writing prompts?

Pictures and images are very inspiring because our brains are creative, so we feel that a picture says a thousand words. Haven’t we all looked at old photographs and had a rush of memories flood our consciousness? Or felt mesmerized by billboard images and related them to people you know or your own experiences.

Our brains are wired to create visual memories with a complex connection of our intellect with experiences and visuals. So, visual prompts can lend a creative spark for writing a new story. You can get better at creating interesting stories as you practise writing every day. 

Also read: How to Edit Short Story?

How to use visual prompts for creating stories?

Visuals evoke intuitive emotions without the use of words. Some visuals can be soothing and calming while some visuals can create a dreadful unknown fear. That is the power of images and visuals. If you are an educator, a parent or a budding author, you could keep a “image bank” or stock of images for inspiration.

Print the visual prompts or create your own illustrations by using your drawing skills. Creativity is flexible and unique to each individual. Allow yourself the freedom to create original stories inspired by the images. Let the visuals act as a springboard for your imagination to build characters, settings and problems. Once you get into the creative mode, the resolution will also evolve. 

To get your creativity flowing, you could ask questions based on the visuals. 

  • Where 
  • Who
  • What
  • Which
  • When
  • How

Also read: 21st century Learning skills for students

Writing prompts for inspiration 

These writing prompts let your creativity and thoughts flow, so you can weave beautiful engaging stories that you want to tell. Generally, as a beginner writer or a budding author, you have to practise how to write good stories. As a writer, you must build on what you already know about story writing and learn to tell a good story. 

Stories have been told since the beginning, it is no rocket science, so you can write good stories. We hear and see stories every day and everywhere. From having a good chat with a neighbour or a colleague, or being bombarded by ads on billboards or on social media.

Also read: Types of Writing Styles

Build the story elements from writing prompts

The most important parts of a good story are the plot, the setting, the characters, the conflict, the climax, and the ending. You need to remember to merge these elements in your story to make it interesting. Imagine your favourite story without characters or a conflict, how boring and plain would that be? In fact, there would be no story at all. 

Writing stories is a creative process because you have to imagine and develop characters and their persona. You have to put these characters in settings that are part of the plot. Then you need to show what’s the conflict and the need to resolve the conflict. While doing all of this, you create events that show the conflict and create a hook for the reader’s attention.

When the conflict and rising action reach a dramatic phase, you need to create events where the characters engage in resolving the conflict. Alternately, the situation changes and the challenging situation subsides.

Also read: Childrens Book Awards in India

Characteristics of Narrative Writing

Apart from story elements, rising and falling action, plot and theme, these are the four points you need to observe. 

  1. Language – Use descriptive words that stimulate the imagination.
  2. Perspective –  You could write in first person or third person narrative.
  3. Dialogue – Use quotation or speech marks to distinguish dialogues. 
  4. Tense – Make sure the readers know whether events are happening in past, present or future.

Rising action refers to the series of dramatic events where the conflict in the story rises or peaks. Falling action refers to a series of events where the conflict begins to get resolved. The rising action peaks at the climax of the story or towards the middle of the story. Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. The plot is a series of main events that depict the theme or the central message of the story.

Also read: Types of Nonfiction


In this article, you read about narrative writing prompts with the help of visuals. Images are especially useful for kids who are beginner authors. Visuals could be illustrations, real photographs or even videos. They are used as writing prompts because we humans get inspired by visuals. Advertising agencies use this inspirational quality of visuals in their advertising campaigns to create awareness, nurture and lead audiences to take action.

Visuals are engaging and tell stories, so they find prominent place in children’s books. Young readers pick up cues from illustrations and interpret them to fill in those details which even the author has not put in words. This is why you can effectively use visual prompts for narrative writing too.

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