Horror Writers Association Blog

Writing Prompt: Wicked Watermelon

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Young Horror brings you writing prompts to energize your week with spooky idea inspiration. Are you writing picture books, chapter books, middle grade, or YA? Your next great idea could be sparked right here. Check back every Monday for new writing prompts. Share your ideas and discuss in the comments below.


In this final installment of summer treats, let’s twist a familiar tale for our wicked purposes: watermelon seeds growing plants in your belly.

It’s funny to picture at first, then absolutely horrifying. Reminds me of a rather hideous Garbage Pail Kid: Walter Melon.

Parents often tell this watermelon tale (and other nasty little lies) to their children. What haunted you as a child? Did you siblings or cousins dish out a spooky tale that had you riding your bike half a mile out of the way to avoid a cemetery, or perhaps daring yourself to drink soda and eat Pop Rocks at the same time?

One of the challenges of writing horror for very young children is to create the fright while maintaining the fun. Making a five-year-old wail is not the best way to get young kids to love and to utilize horror. Scary moments must be infused with humor, and a happy ending is usually a publishing requirement. Read Creepy Carrots (Aaron Reynolds; illustrated by Peter Brown) for an excellent example.

Writing Prompt

Write a short picture book (400 words maximum) where a character is dared to debunk a popular myth by their friends–and it ends happily/hilariously.

hare your ideas in the comments below, or on Twitter with @horrorwriters #writingprompt or #YoungHorror


Author Head ShotShanna Heath is an author and monster slayer who writes horror for all ages. Childhood can be terrifying. Shanna makes monsters, then shows kids and teens how to defeat them. A lifelong horror fan, Shanna was inspired to write horror for young people after re-reading Baum’s Ozma of Oz as an adult. You can find her scary kids book and movie recommendations on her website, or connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Shanna’s favorite young horror read is Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

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