50 fun group writing exercises

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‘Fill in the blank’ writing exercises are fun to do in a group. Writing exercises with some set parameters highlight the diverse, interesting ways different writers interpret and respond to the same prompts. Try one of 50 ‘fill in the blank’ creative writing prompts below, and share your creativity in the comments or tag @NowNovel if sharing your version on social media.

The group writing exercises (and a contest)

The first ‘fill in the blanks’ exercise is a prompt for our contest, running 20th December 2021 until 3rd January 2022.

Win a place on our 6-month Group Coaching course that includes daily drop-in writing sprints to keep accountable to your writing goals, writing coach consultations, access to Now Novel’s story outlining tools and weekly workbooks.

There are also runner-up prizes to be won.

How to enter

  1. Fill in the blanks in the first prompt below. You can use a word or a whole phrase for each blank. Be creative, express yourself!
  2. Follow Now Novel on Instagram or Facebook and like the contest announcement post.
  3. Comment your entry on the announcement post on Instagram or Facebook. You can also fill in your entry on the template we’ve shared in the announcement or on the story template you’ll find in our Instagram highlights. Remember to tag us and use the hashtag #nownovel

Contest prompt

Fill in the blanks Now Novel group coaching contest

Every year, I’d made a resolution not to ever __ again. Yet by January 20th I’d already __ and __.

Good luck for the contest! All entries will be judged blind by our panel of Now Novel editors and coaches, and the winners will be announced in the first week of January.

Here are 49 more prompts to enjoy and stimulate creative ideas:

Writing exercises featuring scene-setting

On leaving
As soon as I turned 18, I left__. It was a town of__and__ .

On arrival
I walked through the arched entryway and my jaw dropped. Everywhere you looked there were__. Marco Polo himself could never have imagined__.

The first time
It was my first ever flight. I was__. Then a__ sat down next to me, turning to me and asking, “__?”

Compare and contrast
My hometown was__. When I got to__, a college town, the first thing I noticed was__.

Use the senses
The minute you entered, you could smell __. Paired with the sound of __, it was unmistakably home.

Be specific
The home we’d rented for the holidays was neither__ nor__, contrary to the listing. Yet my younger brother was delighted when we found__.

Build a bucket list
I’d always wanted to go to__. I’d read so much about its__, though nothing had prepared me for__.

Create a world
In the books I had read as a kid, portals were gateways to worlds where __. Yet here, I was surprised to find a__.

Outside, the sounds of__ filled the air__. Yet inside, the 19th Century __was like another world, full of strange __.


Stay accountable, in a structured program with writing sprints, coach Q&As, webinars and feedback in an intimate writing group. Early birds save until January 3rd.

LEARN MORE Next session starts: January 17th 2022

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Group writing exercises featuring conflict

Lovers’ quarrel
We thought it would be a romantic getaway to Rome. Then__. By the end of the day, hot and fed up, we__.

A troubling lookout
He climbed the watchtower, yet when he turned to the window, what he saw made him tremble.__.

The duel
Many had said that if they were ever to duel, no two could be more equally matched. But what his opponent didn’t know was__.

Alien invasion
In alien movies, they always blew up The White House or__. So he hadn’t expected to be toe to toe with an extraterrestrial having a screamed debate about__.

An assassin
As the most skilled contract killer in the kingdom, she knew how to__. Yet nobody knew that she__.

Warring nations
It started with a trade embargo. Then the president said that our neighbors’ president was a __ with a __. Next thing we knew, __.

Difficult decisions
I couldn’t decide whether to__ or to__, but it was 4:45 pm and the last train was leaving in five minutes.

Writing exercises using dialogue

Secrets and lies
“I never__,” he said. Yet I knew he was lying because__.

“Guess what I have behind my back?” she said.
“__?” I guessed.
“No!” She held out__.

“I didn’t know how to tell you this … I__.”
“I’m glad you told me, now we can__.”

Embarrassing family
“Your son is very talented, Mr Jones,” the__ said.
“You say that now. You should have seen when he was 9. He__ and we were told that__.”

Thinking aloud
“You should__.”
“What did you just say?”
“Did I just say that out loud? I was thinking about__.”

“Bet you didn’t know__,” he gloated.
“Bet you didn’t know__,” I clapped back, full sass.

Bad bard
“Shall I compare thee-“
I married a thespian. “Shall I compare you to __?” I rolled my eyes.

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Writing exercises using simile and metaphor

Wild reactions
His face was as __ as a__ after the bug bite and we were all a bit worried.

Comparing the moon
The moon is a__ tonight, its thin crescent glowing like a__.

Making abstraction specific
My anxiety is like a__ on the first day of school. A__ with a __.

Sound and simile
The first minutes the orchestra was like a __, the music shimmering like __. But in the allegro the principal violinist’s string broke and the conductor__.

Describing emotions
Fear is a__ with a__.

Describing the human voice
He had a voice like__, like a__ echoing in a __.

Degrees of comparison
The mysterious drink they prepared was sweeter than__. But sweeter still was__.

Fill in the blanks writing exercise - use the senses | Now Novel

Writing exercises using different POVs

I had run all night, adrenaline keeping fatigue at bay. When I saw__ as dawn broke, I knew__.

They had ways of dealing with dissent. If you dared to go against the clan, you would be__, God help you.

The reader as reader
You decide to go to the library. You want to read a book about__. The librarian raises an eyebrow as they run the barcode scanner.
“__?” They ask, as you blush.

The group as one
That summer, we__ until we couldn’t__. We were all in our twenties, and the days were__.

Writing exercise using different moods of the verb

Future perfect tense, indicative mood
In several years’ time, she will have changed, our__ changing like__.

Present tense, potential mood
“They may change their minds,” the King says, scowling, “or else we may have to__ and__.”

Future tense, subjunctive mood
If I should__, then tell everyone I never__.

[See a helpful explanation of verb moods and tenses in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Steering the Craft.]

Writing exercises from creating blanks in books

Colum McCann – Let the Great World Spin
We had a short driveway full of__. If we crossed the road, we could stand on__ and__.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Love in the Time of Cholera
He had returned from a long stay in Paris, where he__, and from the time he set foot on solid ground he__.

Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake
Jimmy’s earliest complete memory was of a huge__. He must have been five, maybe six. He was wearing__.

Virginia Woolf – Mrs Dalloway
Her only gift was__. If you put her in a room with some one, up went her back like a cat’s; or she__.

Italo Calvino – The Complete Cosmicomics
I thought only of the Earth. It was the Earth that caused each of us to__.

David Sedaris – Me Talk Pretty One Day
When painting proved too difficult, I turned to__, telling myself__.

Eva Hoffman – Lost in Translation
The library is located in a__ street, in an ancient building, which one enters through a__. It is Plato’s cave, Egyptian temple, the space of__.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Half of a Yellow Sun
Richard said little at the parties Susan took him to. When she introduced him, she always added__. But they were pleasant to him; they would be to__.

Ursula K. Le Guin – The Left Hand of Darkness
I’ll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught__.

Colson Whitehead – The Zone
The reunions were terrific and rote, early tutelage in the recursive nature of human experience. “__?” the girlfriends asked as they padded in bearing__, and he’d say “__”.

Barbara Kingsolver – The Poisonwood Bible
Once every few years, even now, I catch the scent of__. It makes me want to keen, sing,__.

Jorge Luis Borges – Labyrinths
He opened a drawer of the black and gold desk. He faced me and in his hands he held__.

Emily BrontëWuthering Heights
While enjoying a month of fine weather at the sea-coast, I was thrown into the company of a__, a real__.

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