50 Awesome Playwriting Prompts

Are you planning to become a playwriter? If so, did you know you can build an intriguing story from a basic scene overview? Talented and creative writers can improvise with a few good lines that set up a scenario by adding their imaginative input to create a beautiful script. Start your next script with one of our 50 awesome playwriting prompts to get you started with the basics of entertaining scenes.

1. Post-apocalyptic Reality

A pregnant woman stands at the corner of a street in her old neighborhood. The air is heavy with smoke and dust. A wave of fear paralyzes her body as she hears the sound of machinery getting louder, moving in her direction. She has three choices hide in a brick factory still standing, duck into the bushes of a hedge, or retreat toward the river, crossing an open stretch of land to get there. The window of time for action is getting smaller as the vehicle comes into view.

2. Head Games

Three male friends sit at their table in an upscale restaurant. One complained about the quality of the food served and its presentation. The second guy admonishes him for being a perfectionist. The third quietly asks his friends to stop the game. He likes the pretty and innocent-looking waitress and is tired of the ill-mannered habits of his friends. He’s seen them tag team with other waitresses to ask for a date in a game of complainer and white knight. It’s all a scam to make a girl feel bad so one of them can be the rescuer.

3. Is This The Work of a Serial Killer?

Police discover a dead body just off a walking path in the city park. The victim’s arms and hands are folded neatly over his heart. The killer painted a smile on his face with bright red lipstick. In the distance, a woman watches the scene from an office window through binoculars. A detective sees a flash from the sun shining on the metal of her spying device, drawing his attention to the lovely girl observing them. They make eye contact and hold their gaze. As she smiles at him, he gets a feeling he doesn’t understand yet.

4. Man’s Best Friend

A dog lies over a fresh grave in the cemetery. A man walks up to the animal and offers him part of his sandwich. The dog refuses to eat. He groans and places his head on the ground, licking the grass. This scene repeats for 3 days and at dusk, the man watches the dog stand up and walk through the cemetery, disappearing into the headstone. Curious, he reads the name on the grave and is shocked by what he sees. In the distance, the dog and its owner are walking toward him. In shock, he stands still as they loom closer.

5. High-School Drama

Two girls whisper secrets in their lockers in the local high school. They abruptly cease their conversation and stare down the hallway, remaining silent. The bustling hallways have cleared of all student traffic and one foreboding figure stands at the end of the hall. His steps are slow and carefully executed as he walks toward the pair with intention. They could see the sweat glistening on his forehead.

6. Alarming Scene

A man enters the doors of a bank. Seconds later, an alarm sounds, and shots are heard ringing out from the building. A woman jumps back away from the door. She drops to her knees and crawls away in the opposite direction. Police cars arrive and an officer points his gun at her and orders her to surrender.

7. Challenging Situation

Three riders get on an elevator. One chooses the fifth floor, the second pushes the button for the 10th floor. The third rider selects the basement. The lower floors are reserved as a morgue for the hospital. The elevator speeds toward the bottom level. The other two riders become nervous as the basement-bound occupant stares at them with a twisted smile on his face and eyes that pierce through the soul.

8. Dognapper

A woman in black clothing creeps around the alley of a well-kept home. She’s equipped with a leash and collar in her rucksack. She calls the dog from the back of the yard. He runs to her, tail wagging. An attractive man steps out onto his porch to see her collaring his beloved dog to lead him away. He intervenes, wrestling his pet out of her grasp. Instead of running, she puts up a brave battle.

9. Desert Diner

Two women pull up at an Arizona diner and get out of their car. They stop at the window, frozen in fear. They can’t believe what they see in the booth facing the window, and turn to one another with panic-stricken looks on their faces.

10. On a Mission

A woman drops a man off at the train station. Few words are spoken as they get out of the car and make their way to the ticket booth. She breaks the silence, saying “it’s not fair.” He looks at her with remorse in his eyes.

11. Bridge Scene

A woman walks toward a bridge spanning the local river. Her eyes fill with tears as she enters the gate leading to the secondary crossing for pedestrians below the roadway access. She looks back to see a boy running towards her. He approaches the entry gate as a car speeds in his direction honking its horn. He turns at the noise, catches his toe in a pothole, and trips to hit the pavement beneath.

12. The Mansion

Andy and Jane walk through the gate of a dilapidated mansion. They meet a man in a gray suit who shakes their hand. He’s trembling, and nervously adjusts his glasses asking, “are you ready to start?”

13. The Letter

The postman rings the doorbell at an upscale home in L.A. He hears rustling in the background and muffled voices. He rings again and the door creaks open, revealing a disheveled woman in her 40s with a swollen lip and a cut above her eyebrow. He tells her that it’s a registered letter and she must sign for its release. The letter is from a prominent law firm in the area. She looks around the room behind her and whispers, “okay, but quietly, please.”

14. Dinner Scene

An elderly couple sits at the two ends of a massive banquet table in their dining area. A maid serves the appetizers and main course. A man waits in the hallway. He pulls the maid aside, tossing her out the door and telling her to never return to the home again. He bursts into the dining room shouting, “Stop!”

15. On the Edge

An older man opens the door of his condo and walks outside to the patio. He sees a young woman holding her baby on the terrace above. Her eyes are vacant and her face is tear-stained. She looks at him and smiles faintly. As she steps toward the edge of her fifth-floor condo patio, he asks her to join him for dinner.

16. Kitchen Wisdom

Grandmother shows her granddaughters how to make the perfect pie crust. The two young women watch intently as she grabs a pinch of this and a dash of that, not measuring, but going on memory and feeling for the texture. She explains that some things have to be an experience and you can’t perfect them by reading a book. You must do them yourselves and live the experience instead of hearing it from someone else. The door burst open and a stern man with an authoritative demeanor enters the kitchen. He admonishes the girls to return to their studies and leave the menial tasks to help. Upon his exit from the kitchen, he caresses his wedding ring and pauses in a moment of guarded thoughtfulness.

17. Down and Out

Two bums fight in an alley over a chicken carcass they found in a dumpster. A well-dressed woman hears the ruckus and stops to get a better look. Her stare turns to an expression of horror. The bum who lost the battle meets her gaze and falls to his knees sobbing. She stands there without moving or registering emotion for what seems like an eternity

18. Saving a Buck

A woman walks into a local dollar store. She is quiet and keeps to herself. She is well-dressed, unlike most other shoppers. She stops at the frozen foods area and studies the contents of the freezer as if calculating in her mind. She grabs a few items, then repeats the process in the packaged goods and canned foods aisle, still thinking and planning. She looks around corners before sprinting to the check stand. Just as she’s paying for the few items in her basket, the door opens and she quickly hides her face with her hand.

19. Busted

A man and woman enjoy a light lunch at a diner near their workplace. They banter and laugh until a woman in a ponytail walks up to the table with tears in her eyes. The man’s face turns ashen.

20. Airline Drama

A pilot puts the aircraft on autopilot and turns to tell his co-pilot a joke. As the two laughs and wipe their eyes, the stewardess burst into the cabin with a look of concern on her face. Unaware of the issue, the men turn their attention to her as the cabin door bursts open with such force that she’s hurled onto the control panels.

21. The Bus

A bus driver makes his usual route with stops every few blocks. A woman with a strong aroma of gasoline steps onto the bus and pays her fare. She sits directly behind the driver. They soon arrive at a roadblock with an officer directing traffic around a large home that is ablaze in a residential area. Ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars surround the home. The driver glances in his rearview mirror to see the smelly woman smiling broadly.

22. Betting on It

A man hides in the bathroom with his laptop computer. He’s quiet and tries not to make any noise. His wife awakes from her sleep to find him sitting on the edge of the tub with his back turned to her. She sees that he’s visiting an online betting site. She clears her throat and he turns around and snaps the lid shut on the device. She throws up her hands and stomps off as he runs to catch her.

23. Nowhere To Go

A boy turns the corner as he walks home from the baseball field. He’s a few blocks from home when he hears a deafening roar. He sees people running as a building behind him erupts in a fiery blaze. He starts to run toward his house when a fireball from the sky lands in front of him, wiping out everything in its path. He looks to the sky where a volley of meteors falls around him, leaving him few options to find safety. A woman yells from her car and tells him to get in.

24. They Didn’t Agree

Two men go to a theater to see a new film release. They meet a woman in the lobby, who joins them. As the credits roll at the end of the film, she exclaimed, “that was lame.” The man to her right pulled out a knife, telling her to say she was sorry. The other man laughed and said he agreed with her observation. A man walks out of the theater with blood on his jacket and jeans.

25. A Moral Judgment

A group of teens walks by an alley where three homeless people approach them for spare change. Two of the boys push the beggars and make fun of them and all but one in the group moves on, laughing and making gestures at the vagrants. The teen boy looks down the road to make sure nobody is watching, leaves his last $20, and says “we miss you.”

26. Who’s in the Wrong?

A garbage collector pulls to the side of the road and jumps out of his truck. He is met by a furious woman who accuses him of stealing her treasures. She makes crude gestures and calls him names. The frustrated driver calls the police who cuff him and put him in the back of the police car.

27. Moving on Up

A woman waits impatiently on a box of her belongings. A man lingers at the door of the home in the background. A moving truck pulls up with a handsome younger man in the driver’s seat. The man at the door walks out and tells his brother to get the hell off his property while he can still move his arms and legs.

28. What Should I Do?

A man sits in his study, poring over documents from a private detective. He sets the file aside and stares blankly at the wedding picture of him and his lovely wife. He places his hand on the frame with a look of rage on his face, then gently turns the picture on its face, lowering his head into his hands and sobbing uncontrollably.

29. Red Light Green Light

A woman driving an expensive sportscar rolled up to a red light and gave it the gas. She stopped at the green lights, laughing when drivers honked their horns, before moving slowly ahead. She did this through four traffic lights, then pulled over at a local dive bar. A man driving a sedan pulled in behind her, walked over to the vehicle, opened the door, and pulled her out by her arm.

30. Playing the Field

A woman in her 30s comes out of the boss’s office buttoning her blouse. The secretary opens the door and screams in horror. Everyone in the office ran to the door except the woman who left previously.

31. Going the Distance

An elderly couple walks through the downtown area of Chicago with two bags. They stop at each homeless encampment and give each person there $10 from the bags. Soon, two large vagrants follow them wherever they go, scanning the streets with their eyes, but keeping the couple in sight. They don’t seem alarmed and continue on their way, distributing the funds to the needy until every bill is gone. The two homeless men follow the couple within a block of their home, then return to their encampment smiling.

32. Slipping Away

A woman sits in a corner booth at a fancy downtown restaurant, wearing dark glasses and sipping brandy neat. She continues to glance at a couple holding hands and nervously laughing as they make small talk at the opposite corner. Her hands shake as she takes another sip, then gulps the entire drink, wipes her mouth, and marches to their table. They’re so consumed with one another that it takes them a moment to realize she’s standing in front of them.

33. Confrontation

A man gets sick at work and drives home to recover from a bad sandwich. He sees a strange car parked in the driveway and is shocked to find the door unlocked. He quietly turns the doorknob, walks into the foyer, and hears noises coming from the back of the house. He grabs a poker from the fireplace and walks toward the sound. Minutes later, he returns to his car, wiping his hands with a towel, and speeds away.

34. The Announcement

An elderly man sponsors a family dinner for his adult children and their spouses. During the meal, the butler removes the empty plates and dessert cups while the elder declares he has an announcement to make. His physician has confirmed a terminal illness and he has months or possibly weeks to live. The room goes quiet and all eyes are upon him. Within minutes, all members of the family are quickly walking to their vehicles to leave, none of them speaking a word. The old man sits at the table with a smile on his face.

35. Caught Red Handed

A man hired a detective to follow his wife and report on her activities. He followed her for a week and recorded her every move. He produced a report, which the man used with photos, to confront his wife about her deception. She surrenders her credit card and makes arrangements to return the thousands of dollars in merchandise she had purchased the previous week. Her husband opens the garage door and demands the bins of hoard she acquired be gone within a month, or he will file for divorce.

36. Something in the Air

A woman noticed a familiar scent every time she visited the grave of her fiancee. She returned from her weekly visit one afternoon feeling sad and lonely. She forgot to lock the door before she took a nap. She awoke to the sound of heavy footsteps and glass breaking in her bathroom. She sprang to her feet and ran to check out the noise. When she arrived at the scene, she was horrified as she saw a masked man with a knife on his belt, lying bleeding from a gaping wound on his head. A gun had fallen a few feet from him, just out of reach. A broken bottle of her fiancee’s favorite cologne lie in pieces near the intruder’s head and the room reeked of the familiar smell.

37. Need to Know

A woman sneaked into a clinic and broke into the file room. She searched through the files until she found the medical records for her husband’s secretary. When she got home with the file and read the contents, she broke into uncontrollable sobs.

38. I Didn’t Do It

A pie cooled in the window of a farmhouse. The pie disappears and the woman who baked it marched to the barn, accused her husband of stealing the whole pie, and he said he didn’t do it. She didn’t believe him as the two of them were the sole occupants. A young neighbor sat behind the barn and belched, wiping the crumbs from his face, before running back to his house a mile away.

39. Cat Burglar

A woman runs into the street screaming in the middle of the night. Neighbors run out of their homes to see what’s wrong. They can see a shadow moving around through the curtains. Two men get their guns and slip into the house to catch the intruder. Shots ring out and one man comes out covered in blood. Animal Control and the Department of Wildlife arrive on the scene an hour later and confirm that a cougar slipped into the home, attacked one of the men injuring him, but was shot and wounded. Officials removed the wildcat, treated it for injuries, and later released it into the wild.

40. The Confirmation

A boy walks to his mailbox every day at 4: 20. He checks for mail and opens a letter addressed to him. His hands shake as he reads the words. He has no expression as his eyes glaze and he weighs the probabilities of his future. His parents arrive home after work. He makes his announcement after dinner and his mother’s eyes well with tears.

41. Dog Eat Dog

A man calls his friend to ask for a favor. He asks to borrow $100 for a week until payday. The friend comes over with a contract and agrees to loan him the money for a $30 interest charge on the balance. The friend leaves the house whistling and the man who borrowed the money sits quietly with his head down, staring at the contract.

42. It’s the Thought That Counts

A wealthy man opened the last birthday gift at his party. It was a cheap imitation of his favorite cologne. His guests openly sneered at the product and walked away as though it offended them. He took the gift and went to an empty room to be alone with tears in his eyes. The card read, thank you for caring about me, Flora.

She was an old neighbor from the projects where he grew up. She barely had enough pension to eat decently and keep a roof over her head. He had helped her financially when her husband died. She used the little money she had left to remember him on his birthday and it was the best gift he had received that year.

43. Walk, Don’t Run

A high school principal turned the corner on the way back to his office. An athlete was running to make it to class on time and didn’t see him in time, colliding head-on, knocking them both to the ground. The athlete jumped to his feet and extends a hand to help his principal to his feet. He explained that one more tardy could impact his record and ability to compete. The principal was shaken and angry, as he walked the boy to class. He returned to the office and picked up the phone. He laughed as he told his wife, remembering when he had done the same thing as a teen in school.

44. Citations

A woman bought a used car and drove it toward her home. She pulled over as the blue lights of a police officer flashed. She waited, wondering what she had done. The officer took her information and informed her the car had been in an accident the year before and restored. When asked why he pulled her over, the man sighed and smiled, shaking his head.

He explained that it was his wife’s car. The accident resulted in her death and the death of their unborn child. He sold it because he couldn’t bear the sight of the reminder. She noted the name of the officer. When he returned to the station after his shift, he found a note with three yellow roses. The note read, “time heals our hearts. Two roses for your wife and child, and one rose for my uncle Jack in heaven.” It was from the woman who bought the car. Her uncle was a passenger in the car that struck his wife’s car.

45. A Clean Break

A janitor went about his job, sweeping and mopping the floors of an upscale office building. A man in an expensive suit called him into the HR office to discuss a matter of concern. The owner of the building was a wealthy investor. Upon his passing, he left a list of worthy heirs to his fortune. Since he was unmarried and had no children, he distributed his wealth to various workers in blue-collar positions. The janitor received a sum of $2.5 million with the stipulation that he resigns from his position and makes a clean break from janitorial work.

46. Love is Eternal

A woman working at a flower shop smiles as her favorite customer comes in to buy his wife her weekly gift of a single red carnation. It was her favorite flower in life, and the tradition continued after she passed away. He always had a bright smile and left her a generous tip for her help. After the man passed away, she took a single red carnation to the joint grave once per week for the first month.

She became friends with an elderly woman who came to the shop to buy flowers once a week. She said the white carnation was for her dear husband. She didn’t know the name of the lady. At their last encounter, the woman thanked her for everything she had done for her.

The sales girl made her rounds to the graveyard on her way home. She left the red carnation on the grave of the couple. She was shocked to see the white carnations on the gravesite with the red ones she left weekly. She looked at the headstone with its pictures of the couple and froze.

47. Your Eyes Can Deceive You

A man watched as his wife sneaked out of the house in the middle of the night. She returned before dawn and slipped into bed while he was sleeping. This schedule continued for three weeks. He believed she was having an affair. He hired a private investigator to capture photos as evidence for the upcoming confrontation.

The file he received left him more confused. She wasn’t seeing another man. Instead, she spent four hours each night cleaning offices. He waited to confront her and ask why she took on a secret job. He made plenty of money, and she never asked for a penny. He decided to confront her on the night of their anniversary but after the planned dinner celebration. When she presented him with a Black Hills Gold watch he admired a few months back, he realized she wanted to buy him something special with the money she earned.

48. Rounding the Corner

A woman sped around the corner of a windy mountain road. She saw a man walking on the roadway and put on the brakes. He held his hands out, motioning for her to stop. She asked him if he needed a ride. He sat in the passenger seat, and they continued their journey. A few miles down the road, he told her to slow down and watch for an accident.

She couldn’t see anything in the distance. When she turned to question him further, he was gone. She was so upset that she pulled over on the side of the road. After a few moments, she continued to drive and came to the scene of a horrific accident.

She pulled to the side of the road, got out, and offered her help. If she had not been watching, she would have plowed into the mangled metal and become a part of the deadly scene. One person made it out of the wreck with serious injuries. She returned to the overturned vehicle and saw the man she had picked up several miles back. He couldn’t have been down the road and in the wrecked car and riding with her simultaneously.

49. Look Up at the Sky

A woman at an outdoor patio party saw a bright flash with a light trail in the sky above her. She stopped to stare, and soon, others at the event joined. Soon 9-11 calls jammed the switchboards. The group continued to view the fireworks and wondered what was happening. Some were fearful, and others became intrigued. The sightings began at 9 pm, and by midnight, sirens sounded, and public emergency broadcast systems urged all citizens to take cover indoors and shelter in place.

50. Forever Faithful

He watched his wife flirt shamelessly with other men. He said nothing but went about his business and ignored the situation every time it arose. He didn’t question her comings and goings when she made an excuse for going out after receiving a private phone call. Instead, he patiently waited for her to return home, smiling and nodding as she filled him in on the details she made up about events that delayed her return. The morning papers told the story of a man who died in his bed the night before. They wouldn’t know the cause of death until an autopsy revealed more information.

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