If you’ve ever stared at a blank screen waiting for inspiration to strike, you’re not alone. What if there was a tool to help nudge your creativity? Enter ChatGPT.

No, I’m not talking about using generative AI to write your books for you. It’s more than just a chatbot; using ChatGPT prompts for authors’ unique needs can turn the technology into your co-writer, brainstorming partner, and muse. ChatGPT can provide a treasure trove of plot lines, character attributes, scene settings, and challenging situations to move your story along.

Here, we explore 150 creativity-boosting prompts for authors in various genres and offer best practices to harness its potential. You’ll also find tips for using mega-prompts to workshop your characters, plot devices, and scenes and uncover new ways your story could unfold.

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How ChatGPT Prompts for Authors Can Help in Different Genres

One of my greatest sources of inspiration is reading the works of others. But it’s easy to get lost in other authors’ worlds, characters, and storylines. Using ChatGPT allows you to tailor prompts to your own needs, giving you a wide variety of more relevant material to read and consider. Here are some examples.

Fiction Authors

ChatGPT can help authors with character development with prompts that help you explore a character’s background, motivations, or quirks. A simple prompt can lead to intricate character studies that breathe life into a narrative.

Want to throw a curveball in your story but unsure how? ChatGPT can generate unexpected plot developments that will keep readers hooked.

ChatGPT can also aid in building worlds and scenes by helping you sketch out cultures, traditions, or even the physics of a new world, providing a solid foundation on which to build.

Non-Fiction Authors

Stuck in an echo chamber? ChatGPT can introduce angles or viewpoints that hadn’t been previously considered, enriching the depth and breadth of your analysis.

If you have a topic in hand but are unsure of its layout, ChatGPT can assist in outlining your thoughts, ensuring a logical flow to the arguments and information you want to present. It can also highlight areas needing more research or emphasis, ensuring your piece is comprehensive.

Romance Authors

Find innovative ways to deepen relationships between characters, or brainstorm conflicts and resolutions. Use ChatGPT to dive into the nuances of relationships, be it the initial flutter of attraction or the trials of long-term commitment. Use prompts to help explore the multifaceted dynamics of love and gain different insights into what characters may be thinking or feeling.

ChatGPT can help you develop conflict and resolution, too. Every romance faces hurdles. Use your AI to suggest conflicts that are unique and compelling, and also propose resolutions that are satisfying yet unpredictable.

Mystery Authors

Looking for more intricate plot details, motives, or potential red herrings? ChatGPT can assist in crafting a tightly-knit mystery where every element has significance.

It’s also useful for exploring characters’ motives and alibis. Dive into the psychology of your characters, understanding their motivations or crafting alibis that can mislead yet make complete sense upon revelation.

Keep your readers guessing! ChatGPT can introduce elements to misdirect your readers, heightening the suspense.

Fantasy Authors

From majestic creatures to unique magical spells, ChatGPT can aid in populating your fantasy realm with original elements.

Create diverse societies with their own traditions, languages, and conflicts. ChatGPT can assist in detailing these civilizations, making your world rich and immersive.

It can help create magic systems, too. Every fantasy world has its rules. ChatGPT can help in devising a magical system that’s both intriguing and internally consistent.

Recommended reading: Copymatic Review: Testing a Time-Saving AI Writing Tool

Thriller Authors

ChatGPT can help authors find new ways to create tension and suspense, crafting scenarios that keep readers on the edge of their seats. Thrillers often dive into a character’s past to explain their current actions. ChatGPT can help design these intricate backstories and suggest situations that ratchet up the tension. It can also provide plot points that not only surprise but also deepen the narrative, with twists and turns that propel the story forward.

How to Use ChatGPT Mega-Prompts for Developing Your Plots and Characters

Mega-prompts provide an important contextual baseline for your ChatGPT session, allowing you to share detailed information about your needs and intent with the AI. Think of them as a guiding map, laying out the landscape of your narrative or characters to give ChatGPT deeper insight into your story’s universe. In this way, mega-prompts help ensure that the AI’s suggestions are aligned with your vision.

A detailed mega-prompt gives ChatGPT a clearer understanding of your story’s tone, setting, and characters. Instead of back-and-forth interactions to provide context each time, a mega-prompt frontloads the information, making your session more time-efficient and productive.

Here’s an example:

“I’m writing a steampunk fantasy set in a sprawling city named Etherbridge during the late 19th century. The city floats among the clouds, connected by brass bridges and propelled by steam engines. The protagonist, Lysandra, is a young engineer striving to discover a new form of energy that will replace steam. However, there’s a powerful guild named The Steam Sentinels that controls the city’s energy supply, and they view Lysandra’s endeavors as a threat. Lysandra has a mysterious pendant, a family heirloom, that glows in the presence of untapped energy sources. I need ideas for challenges Lysandra might face as she navigates the political and technological landscape of Etherbridge, as well as potential allies or enemies she could encounter.”

AI-generated image of a steampunk birthday party
AI-generated image of a steampunk birthday party, from Craiyon

By starting with such a mega-prompt, ChatGPT gains a vivid picture of the world you’re creating. Whether you’re looking for plot twists, character backstories, or potential challenges for Lysandra, the AI now has a rich tapestry to draw from, ensuring its suggestions remain in harmony with your world-building efforts.

From there, you can use prompts to explore wildly different scenarios and storylines within that session:

  • Create three allies for Lysandra and put them all together in a bar where they have a conversation about the mysterious pendant. What do they say to one another?
  • What are the most challenging aspects of living in Etherbridge and why?
  • Describe what it’s like to take a walk through the downtown core of Etherbridge and three people Lysandra might meet along the way.

150 ChatGPT Prompts for Authors

In addition to workshopping your own story, ChatGPT is great for blue-sky thinking and generating unexpected scenes, stories, and situations. Use these prompts as a starting point, exchanging key details for your own to help inspire creativity, develop new plot twists, build your characters, and more.

For Fiction Authors:

  1. Describe a world where emotions can be seen as colors.
  2. Imagine a city where memories are the currency.
  3. How would a conversation go between a robot and a tree?
  4. Describe a society where music is forbidden.
  5. Write about a journey to a hidden library.
  6. What happens in a world where dreams are shared?
  7. Chronicle a day in the life of a time-traveling postman.
  8. Describe a marketplace that trades in secrets.
  9. How would society change if every lie made a sound?
  10. Tell a story where shadows have a life of their own.
  11. Sketch a world where every thought grows into a tree.
  12. Explore a universe where stars sing tales of the past.
  13. Narrate an encounter between a human and an entity that collects emotions.
  14. Describe a society where aging is a choice.
  15. Detail the daily routine of someone who can speak to inanimate objects.
  16. Craft a tale set in a city that floats on clouds.
  17. Imagine a world where doors can lead to different dimensions based on one’s feelings.
  18. Describe the challenges faced by a detective who can only see the past.
  19. Narrate a day in a world where rain carries memories.
  20. Write about a society where people can exchange talents.
  21. Sketch a realm where oceans are made of thoughts and each wave tells a story.
  22. Describe a world where seasons change based on collective beliefs.
  23. Write about a city where buildings move and rearrange themselves.
  24. Imagine a world where art comes to life every full moon.
  25. Chronicle the adventures of a cartographer mapping out emotions.

Recommended reading: Are Humans Still More Creative Than Generative AIs? [Study]

For Non-Fiction Authors:

  1. Explain the influence of technology on modern relationships.
  2. Discuss the ethics of artificial intelligence in warfare.
  3. Describe the impact of urbanization on mental health.
  4. Analyze the pros and cons of a cashless society.
  5. Chronicle the evolution of communication tools.
  6. Evaluate the role of social media in shaping public opinion.
  7. Discuss the environmental implications of fast fashion.
  8. Explain the rise and implications of telemedicine.
  9. Compare the educational systems of two countries.
  10. Discuss the history and cultural significance of a specific cuisine.
  11. Analyze the impact of globalization on local industries.
  12. Discuss the significance of renewable energy sources for future generations.
  13. Evaluate the psychological effects of prolonged space travel.
  14. Compare the ancient and modern Olympics.
  15. Explain the socio-economic factors contributing to global migration patterns.
  16. Describe the cultural evolution of storytelling mediums, from oral traditions to streaming platforms.
  17. Analyze the intersection of art and politics in a specific era.
  18. Discuss the effects of a universal basic income on a nation’s economy.
  19. Examine the role of women in ancient civilizations compared to today.
  20. Explore the historical relationship between religion and science.
  21. Detail the challenges and opportunities of sustainable agriculture.
  22. Analyze the influence of the internet on the traditional publishing industry.
  23. Discuss the health implications of prolonged screen time in the digital age.
  24. Explain the societal impact of virtual and augmented reality.
  25. Evaluate the long-term effects of pandemics on global economies and societies.

For Romance Authors:

  1. How would two time-traveling lovers reunite?
  2. Describe a love story between a chef and a critic.
  3. Imagine a romance blossoming during an art heist.
  4. Tell the tale of childhood sweethearts reuniting after decades.
  5. What happens when rivals fall in love during a competition?
  6. Narrate a story where a musician’s biggest fan turns out to be a past lover.
  7. Imagine a love that blossoms amidst the backdrop of a revolution.
  8. Describe a romance that starts with two people stranded on a deserted island.
  9. What happens when a bookshop owner and a tech mogul find love?
  10. Tell a story where a fake engagement leads to real emotions.
  11. How does love flourish between a mermaid and a sailor?
  12. Narrate the romance that unfolds on a train journey across continents.
  13. Describe the complications of love in a world where soulmates are determined by a test.
  14. Imagine a world where lovers exchange memories instead of gifts.
  15. What happens when two ghost hunters fall for each other while chasing spirits?
  16. Write about a love story between a knight and a mage in a magical realm.
  17. Describe a romance that starts when two people keep meeting in their dreams.
  18. How does a fashion designer find love with someone who doesn’t care about appearances?
  19. Imagine a world where heartbreak physically manifests, and how two lovers navigate it.
  20. Tell the tale of two diplomats from warring nations finding common ground in love.
  21. Write about a love story that unfolds through exchanged letters in different languages.
  22. Narrate a romance set in a city where love is forbidden.
  23. Describe a love story that begins with a mix-up at an airport luggage carousel.
  24. Imagine a romance between a renowned detective and the mystery novelist who always manages to predict his next case.
  25. Tell the tale of two stargazers who find love under the same constellation, but from opposite sides of the world.

For Mystery Authors:

  1. Describe a case where the detective is the prime suspect.
  2. Tell the story of a crime witnessed only by a parrot.
  3. Write about a theft where the stolen object disappears every day at sunset.
  4. Chronicle the investigation of a town where everyone claims to be the culprit.
  5. Imagine a mystery where the clues are hidden in famous artworks.
  6. Narrate a tale where the detective can only communicate with the witnesses through dreams.
  7. Unravel a mystery set in a library where certain books predict the future.
  8. Describe a case where every witness recalls a different version of the suspect.
  9. Write about a detective who has to solve a crime in a town where no one speaks his language.
  10. Tell the story of a crime that happens during a total solar eclipse.
  11. Imagine a case where the clues are revealed through a series of anonymous podcasts.
  12. Explore a mystery set on a train where every passenger has an alibi.
  13. Describe an investigation where the main evidence is a centuries-old letter.
  14. Narrate the unraveling of a crime that’s intricately linked to a board game.
  15. Write about a detective duo where one can only see the past and the other the future.
  16. Describe a case where the only witness is a shadow that appears at a specific time.
  17. Imagine a crime scene that changes every time it rains.
  18. Tell the story of a detective who finds links between crimes in different centuries.
  19. Write about a mystery set in a circus, where every performer seems to have a motive.
  20. Detail an investigation where every clue is a different scent.
  21. Describe a case that unfolds in a city where mirrors show more than reflections.
  22. Imagine a mystery intertwined with a series of riddles from a forgotten folklore.
  23. Tell the story of a detective who receives anonymous, hand-painted postcards hinting at crimes yet to occur.
  24. Chronicle an investigation revolving around a theater play where each performance reveals a new, real-life clue.
  25. Describe a mysterious case in which a town’s inhabitants lose an hour of their memory, and the detective must uncover what happened in that missing time.

For Fantasy Authors:

  1. For Fantasy Authors:
  2. Describe a land where the moon controls time.
  3. Write about a protagonist who can communicate with plants.
  4. Tell the tale of a city built on the back of a giant creature.
  5. Chronicle the journey of a hero with a magical map tattoo.
  6. Imagine a kingdom where shadows can betray their owners.
  7. Delve into a world where music can shape the landscape.
  8. Describe a realm where every waterfall leads to a different dimension.
  9. Narrate the story of a knight tasked with protecting a forest that moves.
  10. Imagine a society that relies on dreams to predict the future.
  11. Write about an island where the tides reveal ancient, buried cities.
  12. Describe a mountain that whispers secrets to those who dare to climb it.
  13. Tell the tale of a beast tamer who communicates through dance.
  14. Craft a story about a mage who draws power from star constellations.
  15. Write about a wandering merchant selling bottled emotions.
  16. Narrate the adventures of a thief who can slip through reflections.
  17. Imagine a desert that holds the memories of a once-great civilization.
  18. Tell the tale of a child who befriends a spirit guarding an ancient tome.
  19. Write about a fortress hidden in the clouds, accessible only by thoughts.
  20. Describe a war between sun worshippers and moon devotees.
  21. Chronicle the tale of a wandering bard whose songs become a reality.
  22. Imagine a frozen land where the Aurora Borealis guides the lost.
  23. Explore a world where oceans are made of mist and ships sail through the skies.
  24. Write about an academy where students learn to weave spells through poetry.
  25. Describe the legend of a hero who can transform into any mythical creature at will.

For Thriller Authors:

  1. Describe a heist planned during a total solar eclipse.
  2. Chronicle a chase between an agent and a shapeshifter.
  3. Write about a protagonist who remembers a life they never lived.
  4. Tell a tale of a spy with the ability to hear thoughts.
  5. Imagine a city where every resident is a sleeper agent.
  6. Dive into a plot where a scientist discovers a formula to manipulate memories.
  7. Chronicle the story of a detective who stumbles upon an underground society.
  8. Write about a hacker who can access any information, but only for ten seconds at a time.
  9. Describe an escape from a prison located deep underwater.
  10. Narrate a tale about a journalist who uncovers a conspiracy stretching back centuries.
  11. Write about a world where emotions can be stolen and sold on the black market.
  12. Imagine a hostage situation where the captor communicates only through riddles.
  13. Tell the story of twins: one a renowned detective, the other a notorious criminal.
  14. Write about a doomsday cult preparing for an apocalypse only they can see.
  15. Describe a protagonist who receives letters from their future self, warning of impending events.
  16. Chronicle a race against time to decode a cipher hiding a global threat.
  17. Imagine a secluded mansion where guests must solve their way out.
  18. Write about a vigilante who uses ancient rituals to dispense justice.
  19. Describe an elite team tasked with retrieving artifacts that alter history.
  20. Tell a story of a pilot who lands in an airport that shouldn’t exist.
  21. Write about a mountain retreat where writers find their plots coming to life.
  22. Narrate a journey into the heart of a city where lies manifest as physical distortions.
  23. Imagine a scenario where a world leader is replaced by an indistinguishable doppelganger.
  24. Chronicle the quest of an archaeologist who unearths a relic that controls minds.
  25. Describe a descent into a subterranean realm with its own set of deadly rules.

Best Practices for ChatGPT Prompts for Authors

ChatGPT can open the doors to countless avenues of creativity and inspiration. However, to maximize the benefits and ensure that your work remains authentically ‘you,’ it’s essential to keep some best practices in mind.

Be Open-minded. Every author has their own unique style and comfort zone. However, sometimes, the most unexpected suggestions can lead to groundbreaking ideas. Even if a suggestion doesn’t immediately resonate, consider how it might be adapted or merged with your existing ideas. You never know where a seemingly out-of-place idea might lead!

Ask Follow-up Questions. A prompt is a starting point. Digging deeper can help you explore the various facets of an idea. If a character or plot point intrigues you, ask ChatGPT to expand on it. For instance, if you’re given a prompt about a mysterious artifact, inquire about its origin, powers, or the consequences of its discovery.

Maintain Your Voice. While ChatGPT can offer numerous ideas, your unique voice and perspective are what make your work stand out. Use the AI’s suggestions as a foundation. Build upon them, tweak them, or merge them with your own ideas to create something unmistakably yours.

Review and Edit. ChatGPT generates content based on patterns and data, but it doesn’t have the nuanced understanding and intent that a human author possesses. After receiving a suggestion, step back and assess. Does it align with your story’s tone? Does it further your narrative or character development? If not, refine it until it does. Get a copy of AI Content for Editors to learn more about working with machine-generated text.

Remember, It’s a Tool. As impressive as AI can be, it’s still just a tool in the author’s toolkit. The final direction and decisions lie with you. Enjoy the process of collaboration, but trust your instincts. If a suggestion doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to discard it. After all, you’re the storyteller charting the course of your literary journey.

These best practices can help you harness the power of ChatGPT effectively, ensuring that the AI serves as a helpful assistant rather than overshadowing your unique voice and vision.

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