Anyone who has tried to write a short story, fanfic, or novel has experienced writer's block: that terrible phenomenon when all your words leave you staring at a blank page. If you're stuck on your project, I've got 12 writing prompt Twitter bots you should follow to beat back writer's block with a heavy stick.
Writing prompt Twitter bots are exactly what they sound like: automated Twitter profiles that tweet out randomly generated prompts on a regular basis. They're created by programmers, and every bit of each tweet — from syntax to semantics — is determined by code.
Speaking from personal experience, it can be difficult to find writing prompts that aren't intended for children or teachers of children. Sources for prompts can be unreliable; blogs shut down, columns get cut, and people move on. Thankfully, Twitter bots will always have fresh writing prompts for you, so long as nothing gets messed up in their code.
The writing prompt Twitter bots below aren't geared toward writers of any particular genre, although fantasy authors may find the lot of them more useful than, say, literary fiction or crime thriller authors. So trust me, there's more than enough writing inspiration waiting for you here.
Check out the 12 writing prompt Twitter bots I think you should follow, and share your favorite prompt generators with me on Twitter!
An Irish pub is haunted by the ghost of a Californian college professor. She is extremely wrong.— Magic Realism Bot (@MagicRealismBot) March 30, 2017
In Mecca there is an elm tree which used to be a Norwegian politician.— Magic Realism Bot (@MagicRealismBot) March 30, 2017
In Budapest is a schoolmaster whose heart is a piano.— Magic Realism Bot (@MagicRealismBot) March 29, 2017
By far my favorite writing-prompt generator on Twitter, the Magical Realism Bot turns out a fabulist writing prompt every two hours.
I moved to this country last year. I get to work around 4:15pm. I studied nursing. I have a bachelor's degree. I have never been married.— censusAmericans (@censusAmericans) March 31, 2017
I carpool with four others. I got married last year. I am looking for work. I don't have health insurance. I moved last year.— censusAmericans (@censusAmericans) March 31, 2017
I studied philosophy and religious studies. I am divorced. I got married in 1981. I work in services incidental to transportation.— censusAmericans (@censusAmericans) March 31, 2017
Looking to generate some backstories for your characters? FiveThirtyEight's censusAmericans bot uses data from the U.S. census to generate a random citizen every hour.
a pearl necklace, a card, a stoppered glass flask filled with liquid, a rotten wooden chest. (Zork II)— YOU ARE CARRYING: (@YouAreCarrying) March 29, 2017
an ultra-plasmic vacuum awl, a handbag, a pair of hypersonic pliers, Advanced Tea Substitute. (Hitchhiker's Guide)— YOU ARE CARRYING: (@YouAreCarrying) March 18, 2017
a drink, a sample of powder, a clock key, the body of Mr. Linder, a snub-nosed Colt, a side-yard cast, a match book. (Witness)— YOU ARE CARRYING: (@YouAreCarrying) March 9, 2017
YOU ARE CARRYING is an extremely fun, interactive-fiction (IF) bot. Tweet "i" or "inventory" to @YouAreCarrying to get a random assortment of items from a game. For added fun, draw yourself — or your character — with the items and tweet the image back to @YouAreCarrying.
we were covered warmly, we were organized— * (@soft_focuses) January 21, 2016
you imagine delicate children -- vivid flowers...— * (@soft_focuses) January 20, 2016
...i dissolved quietly -- you swelled— * (@soft_focuses) January 20, 2016
I have absolutely no idea where this Twitter bot sources its words, but it's slightly terrifying to think about. Go to the @soft_focuses bot if you need an unsettling image to jumpstart your writing.
The cake goddess bestows a red flower on you in the passionate greenhouse.— dreamy bot (@dreamhaver) March 31, 2017
You dawdle through the euphoric science facility to return a missing potion to a broodmother.— dreamy bot (@dreamhaver) March 31, 2017
DREAMSCAPE: quaint indigo mushrooms adorn a luminous borough— dreamy bot (@dreamhaver) March 31, 2017
Another favorite for fantasy and speculative fiction fans, dreamy bot tweets out a dream setting or plot every hour.
Every day at 6:31 P.M. EST, Picture Prompts gives you a random image for all your writing-inspiration needs.
You have peak athletic conditioning which has lead to your hilarious vision quest.— Unlikely Powers (@UnlikelyPowers) March 31, 2017
You have the power to end the planet but your heart's not in it.— Unlikely Powers (@UnlikelyPowers) March 30, 2017
You have the power to generate psychotropic goo but it won't win you the Man Booker prize.— Unlikely Powers (@UnlikelyPowers) March 26, 2017
If you want to give your heroes and villains some weird abilities, Unlikely Powers should be your go-to source for writing prompts.
Doing a word sprint? Head over to the Hourly Prompts Twitter bot and write for 60 minutes about their latest word.
Unfairly blamed for parking tickets, billionaire sheriff Thor Duke must rescue a smoldering witch from scene kids.— Man Plots (@manplots) March 31, 2017
When pinkos frame him for parking tickets, wandering commando Jesse Bauer must protect his home with only a sword.— Man Plots (@manplots) March 26, 2017
Unfairly convicted of tax evasion, tough-but-fair CEO Dick Bear must rescue an impractical starlet from hipsters.— Man Plots (@manplots) March 22, 2017
Want a story you wouldn't normally think to write? Man Plots generates a hyper-masculine plotline every six hours.
Hyperalloest, adj. the most beyond other— Fantastic Vocab (@fantasticvocab) March 29, 2017
Enmorate, v. to cause to be surrounded by death— Fantastic Vocab (@fantasticvocab) March 27, 2017
Anvolia, n. diseases relating to an increase in rolling— Fantastic Vocab (@fantasticvocab) March 30, 2017
Like the Hourly Prompts bot, Fantastic Vocab tweets several one-word writing prompts per day. Unlike Hourly Prompts, Fantastic Vocab makes up the words and definitions that it tweets out.
From behind a beaded curtain, you hear hissing. A gold piece lies discarded nearby.— All Alike (@all_alike) March 30, 2017
A gentle drizzle covers a beach. Footprints lead away East.— All Alike (@all_alike) March 30, 2017
You stand in a hospital waiting room, which is nearly empty but for a flashlight sitting on a butler statue with a tray.— All Alike (@all_alike) March 28, 2017
All Alike is intended to be used by IF writers, but there's no reason you can't take some inspiration from it for your novel or short story. Use one of this Twitter bot's rooms in your story's beginning, its end, or anywhere in between.
the adventures of a blue-collar labor organizer who has an eccentric obsession with beer bottles— Writing Prompts (@howboutyouwrite) April 4, 2017
what was it like to be a bigfoot during the loma prieta earthquake?— Writing Prompts (@howboutyouwrite) April 4, 2017
the story of a art student living through the crusades— Writing Prompts (@howboutyouwrite) April 2, 2017
Home of the "worlds best writing prompts [sic]," the Writing Prompts Twitter bot posts one new prompt every hour. Because it draws from a wide base of source material — "Red Wedding" has been turning up a lot lately, at the time of this writing — the Writing Prompts bot is perfect for anyone, even fanfiction writers.