Creative Writing Inspiration and Ideas: 10 Beach Writing Prompts

Aaron Mullins. Author, Writer, Books. Tips. Guides.

Creative writing inspiration often comes to us in waves of inspirational writing ideas. Sometimes quite literally, when we head to the sands for some beach story ideas.

Short story inspiration can be found within the relaxing sound of the waves. Poetry inspiration formed along with footprints with the soft crush of sand beneath your feet.

Beach writing prompts are scattered across the sand. Creative writing inspiration discovered among the lost items washed ashore. Beach short story ideas forming from a mysterious object bobbing on the waves. Good story ideas are sometimes hard to come by, but a stroll along the beach may be all the writing inspiration you need.

Beach Creative Writing Ideas

A walk along the beach is just what a writer needs to clear their heads of daily tasks, relax them, and release their imagination and ideas. Many studies have shown that a walk on the beach lowers stress and blood pressure, boosts mood and has many positive effects on mental health. All things that can also boost creativity for writers.

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The beach is also inspiring for us authors. Anything could be buried in the sand, or wash up on the shore. Everything we see is a writing prompt, if we only wonder where it came from, who the previous owner was.

Any kind of horror beach short story idea could be lurking in the darker depths of the sea, or a poetry idea related to the treasure waiting to be discovered on the seabed. Romance authors could even find inspiration for characters who don’t mind a bit of sand in hard to reach places…

“Meredith did drop her dress and her inhibitions, afterwards gently plucking a dainty shell from her bottom.”

I have just remembered why I don’t write beach romance stories.

Writing Stories at the Beach

I have some big news to share with you… after 21 years living in England, I have finally moved back to Scotland! Ayrshire on the west coast is now my home. I can let the full Scots back into my accent, and my daughter can develop her own twang, so she may finally be able to understand what I’m saying in the home videos of my childhood!

I grew up in Wick, which is in Caithness (near John O’ Groats) in the far north of Scotland. A small town filled with decent, good-hearted, funny and hard-working people, my family included. Wick and the Highlands have become the setting in quite a few of my recent beach short story ideas.

Edit: enough to fill a book…

Creative Writing Inspiration Generating Short Story Ideas Prompts

The majority of my family are Scottish. My dad had also spent part of his childhood growing up in Wick and we had attended the same secondary school, Wick High School. My grandparents ran a tearoom in Strathpeffer and over the years the rest of us became spread out across the Highlands. The A9 north from Inverness is basically the trunk of my family tree, with each of us settled on the branches along the way (minus the few who smuggled themselves south of the border).

Beach Short Story Ideas

Wick has grown over the years that I have been away. What I remember as fields is now a retail park. The Caithness Glass factory that fascinated me as a child is closed down long ago. The ‘forest’ next to it that my friends and I used to play in as children is now mostly fenced off. However, all these memories and experiences are perfect for beach short story ideas and creative writing prompts.

I have been back up nearly every single year since I left as a fresh-faced 16 year old in 1999, sometimes two or three times, on 1,500 mile road trips. Sadly, in the name of progress, my primary school has been knocked down (North Primary School) and my high school is currently empty, a modern one built behind it.

Edit: You can read about the ghosts that haunted my school and terrified me as a child (and also provided writing inspiration) in the Amazon bestseller Scottish Urban Legends: 50 Myths and True Stories.

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Beach Themed Writing Ideas

The following is an excerpt from my beach short story Call of the Nuckelavee which was published in my Amazon bestselling book Mysteries and Misadventures: Tales from the Highlands.

The story is about a broken-hearted woman who trudges along the sandy dunes, following the voice of her drowned father. Her mind full of questions, she spies a dog ahead that appears to be beckoning her to follow. She suddenly realises it’s her father’s dog, missing since the day of his death. To rescue the dog, she launches herself into the sea, where she comes face to face with a creature from Scottish legends that has haunted her recent nightmares. With suspicions about her father’s drowning swirling around in her head, she must decide quickly how far she is willing to go to get answers.

She gasped as her foot slipped at the top of the dune. Arms flailing, she tumbled over the high ridge and down the steep sandy embankment. Coarse grass and broken shells scratched at her palms and face as she slid to a halt at the bottom.

Need to be more careful.

Drawing deep gulps of air, she spat a glob of salty grit onto the sand and pushed herself to her knees. The soft pale sand, so beautiful from a distance, betrayed those who wandered too close to its edge. She knew this, but she didn’t have a choice. The sea called to her, the promise of dark revelations on its lips. Confessing its misdeeds.

Scowling from the effort, she stood and brushed the sand from her thick coat and fleece-lined leggings.

Let’s do this.

Beach Creative Writing Prompts

The memories and friendships I have from my childhood are still strong, and now I’m living a bit closer my road trips will not take as long! Importantly, I can still visit the beaches I played on as a child. Reiss Beach in particular is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to and is a great source of writing inspiration for me. And you can still find me having a dip in the North Sea (even the Trinkie) as late as October and November!

Wick and the surrounding area has a strong heritage, from the iron ages, to the Norse pagan period. It’s believed Wick was originally named from the Norse word vik, meaning bay. A Viking town then with an enormous sense of history, adventure, mystery and wonder in its beaches, forests and ruins. Endless beach writing inspiration for short stories and book characters.

To help you form your own creative writing ideas, here is a list of 10 beach story writing prompts:

  • Walking along the beach, your dog returns with a mysterious object in his mouth
  • Your dog stops at a particular patch of sand and starts whining and digging
  • You spot a mysterious object shining among the ashes of a beach campfire
  • You glimpse a hand rising from the sea, beckoning you to enter
  • As you walk along the beach, a familiar voice on the wind whispers your name
  • Drag marks in the sand lead inside a beach cave, but no footprints leave
  • You lift a small crab from a rock pool, and it speaks to you
  • You lose track of time exploring, and the tide has come in quicker than expected
  • After a flash of light on the beach, you return home to find the world has changed
  • As you watch the sun set behind the horizon, something rises from the sea

I hope these beach writing prompts help you generate your own beach story ideas.

Best of luck with your writing!

Aaron Mullins


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Aaron Mullins (@DrAaronMullins) is an award winning, internationally published psychologist and Amazon bestselling author. Aaron has over 15 years experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. He started Birdtree Books Publishing where he worked as Editor-in-Chief, partnered with World Reader Charity and taught Academic Writing at Coventry University. Aaron’s book How to Write Fiction: A Creative Writing Guide for Authors has become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in a publishing career. Find out more.

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