While it’s still technically the summer season in New York where I live, for me it’s back-to-school time for my children. And that means it’s back to my regular writing routine. Writing and revising beckon, but I’ll also be setting aside time for brainstorming ideas. The following writing prompts will help me get started. Hopefully they will be useful to you as well.

Writing Prompts:

  1. Think about activities typical of the autumn season such as apple and pumpkin picking, hay rides, and corn mazes. Did you experience any as a child, or do you share these activities with your families now? Write about the settings for each activity.
  2. Reflect on any holidays you celebrate during this season. Do any story ideas resonate based on rituals, foods, or family traditions during this time of year?
  3. Take a fall nature walk. Notice any signs of fall such as changing leaf colors. What animals do you see in your neighborhood? What natural attractions in your area could form the basis of a story? Take some photos to remind you of story possibilities.
  4. Back-to-school days mean lots of conversations children have that could be incorporated into a story. Eavesdrop on children at the library, in parks, and at restaurants. Or at home! Write down the adorable dialogues you hear and try to incorporate them into a story.
  5. Enjoy fall foods and include the smells and tastes in your idea generating. What spices remind you of fall? What foods do you enjoy most? Could apples play a role in your next manuscript?

These are just a few ideas to help you brainstorm new stories as we move into autumn. Let me know in the comments if these prompts help you develop a new story idea.

Happy writing and creating!



Melissa Stoller is the author of the chapter book series The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection - Book One: Return to Coney Island and Book Two: The Liberty Bell Train Ride (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017 and 2020); and the picture books Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, GOrilla! (Clear Fork, 2018). Upcoming picture books include Return of the Magic Paintbrush and Sadie’s Shabbat Stories. She is also the co-author of The Parent-Child Book Club: Connecting With Your Kids Through Reading (HorizonLine Publishing, 2009). Melissa is an Assistant and Blogger for the Children’s Book Academy, a Regional Ambassador for The Chapter Book Challenge, a Moderator for The Debut Picture Book Study Group, and a volunteer with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators/MetroNY. Melissa has worked as a lawyer, legal writing instructor, freelance writer and editor, and early childhood educator. Additionally, she is a member of the Board of Trustees at Temple Shaaray Tefila, and a past Trustee at The Hewitt School. Melissa lives in New York City with her husband, three daughters, and one puppy.

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