Historical Writing Prompts

Adobe Spark (9)It’s been a while since we’ve had a round of writing prompts on here.  I decided to branch out and do historical prompts.  This place was getting bogged down with all the fantasy prompts.  

Now, I don’t write historical.  I tried to write a short story set in the Great Depression, but it turned into a miserable failure.  (Actually, my seven year old brother read it over my shoulder while I typed it, and I asked him for help.  The plot didn’t improve, so I’ll blame that story’s failure on him. But he liked the story.)

These historical fiction prompts are going to be something unique because–guess what– they all happened in history!  (I know, historical fiction normally is set in history, but hear me out.)  

These prompts were all in the newspaper and they caught my eye.  These are real life prompts, taken from headlines and articles in newspapers a long time ago.  Some are quite humorous, and I daresay you’ll like them whether you write historical or not.

“Flower Picker Is Jailed” -New York Times, May 11, 1937  

“The Pitfalls Of Catching A Cannonball” -The Guardian, February 16, 1880

“Man Found Asleep In Bed”10 December 1912, Hull Daily Mail, Kingston upon Hull, England

“Smuggling By Pigeons” – 11 July 1896, Worcestershire Chronicle, England  

“Radio Fake Scares Nation” October 30, 1938

Write the story first, then read the articles.  

There is only a few this time, but you have no idea how long it took to find those.

Now, you might say that these aren’t historical.  Well, I’m pretty sure that these happened more than ten seconds ago, and that’s history.  If you want others, go somewhere else.  

And one last closing article:


Image detail for -funny newspaper headlines duck refuses medical treatment:

from pinterest

(*Some articles found from Find My Past, the rest I combed through old issues for)


9 thoughts on “Historical Writing Prompts

  1. The Smuggling by Pigeons could be a story of letters sent by a prisoner of the Tower of London, telling of a circle of mastermind criminals plotting to murder the queen or something. The writer of the letters could be sending the letters specifically to someone to inform them of the plot, or he, or she, could be desperate to save the queen and is sending the letters out, hoping anybody will find them. The pigeons who carry the letters actually belong and report to an old man who collects the letters, feeding the Tower authorities the important information. As the notes keep coming, both the writer and the receiver have to come up with more creative ways of getting the new plots to the authorities, as the writer is pretending to be one of the mastermind criminals, and the other members are getting suspicious.


      • Sorry, but I don’t have the time. I’ve got like five other stories I need to finish first, and that might happen when I die at the rate I’m going.


      • Well, there is a quote that basically says, if you can’t find a story on the shelf that you really want to read, then maybe you should write it. I’m pretty good at coming up with story ideas, but not with the follow through. I have to fall in love with the story and characters before I sit down and start writing it. Besides, I’m not a mystery/crime writer. I tried once, and it didn’t turn out at all. (Yes, I meant to leave out the well. It just didn’t turn out.)
        I would love to read it though if you write it. 🙂



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