Mystery fiction prompts can help you with ideas when you're stumped. All it takes is one spark to ignite the flame of a story. Whether it's mystery short story prompts or mystery novel prompts, we hope these 10 mystery writing prompts can help when you're stuck or if you want to challenge yourself to write from a simple prompt.
1. The young man learns that his favorite teacher from high school was murdered. At the funeral, he overhears a suspicious conversation.
** What does he overhear? Can he turn to the police for help? **
2. After buying a new home, the couple talks about building a pool in the backyard. As they are gazing out the kitchen window into the yard, they see the family dog digging frantically. They rush outside as he discovers what looks like an arm bone.
** Was there a skeleton found in the yard? What happens next? **
3. A man and a woman meet, have a whirlwind affair, and get married 6 weeks later. The woman disappears mysteriously and the husband is the prime suspect. He starts his own investigation into her disappearance.
** What does the husband learn about his new wife? What kind of secrets does she have? **
4. A young woman finds a roommate online. The roommate moves in over the weekend and by Monday, the young woman finds suspicious things going on in the apartment.
** What does the young woman figure out about the new roommate? Does she go to the police? **
5. A notoriously nosy old guy in the neighborhood reports digging in the middle of the night. The police don't believe him, but another neighbor hears scraping, too.
** What happens when the neighbors compare notes? Who is digging and why? **
6. Working late one night, the older woman hears a strange noise in the back office. Everyone has left for the night.
** Who is in the back office, and what does the woman do that gets her into trouble? **
7. On the other end of the phone line, there is a small voice that whispers about a dangerous situation the young woman is about to find. The voice repeats things it couldn't possibly know.
** What does the young woman do after receiving the phone call? Who was on the other end of the line? **
8. An older couple disappears without a trace. They were scheduled to meet with a detective, but wouldn't tell him why. The couple's children hire the detective to learn what happened, and why the couple wanted to meet with him.
** The couple ends up being important to him personally. What does the detective learn that actually impacts his life? **
9. The fire alarm goes off in a department store. All the customers and employees end up in the parking lot except one employee who is found dead in the back room. There's nothing on camera, but one young man is accused of the crime.
** How did the employee die? Was the accused individual responsible for the employee's death? **
10. A retired professor receives a cryptic letter from a former student. The letter hints at a future crime that the student will commit. The police are not very helpful, so the professor investigates the letter himself.
** How does the professor stop the crime from happening? **
Mystery fiction prompts like these will give you a starting point for your own story. You can use them for short stories, flash fiction, or full-length novels. They can start the ball rolling for a larger story, or flash fiction to practice your craft.