Horror Writers Association Blog

Writing Prompt: Knock on Wood

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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.


“Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive and irrational–but how much does it cost you to knock on wood?” -Judith Viorst

Your superstitions are much older than you. If you take that moment to knock on wood, you’re joining in on an activity to ward off anger and envy that dates back to ancient Europe. Avoid walking under ladders? You’re in stride with the Ancient Egyptians. 

Generations of humans have tried to ward off evil and bad luck with a sprinkle of salt or horseshoe over the door. Think back to your childhood. What odd traditions did you parents, caretakers, or grandparents adhere to?

WRITE: A short scene where a character knocks on wood…and something answers.

Share your ideas in the comment below. Check back next Monday for another writing prompt, and every other Thursday for new Young Horror content.


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.

One comment on “Writing Prompt: Knock on Wood

  1. I love the quote by Judith Viorst. I think it is so fun to trace different superstitions back through time.

    And thanks for the writing prompt. It was fun to brainstorm. As a kid, I was terrified of the movie , “The People Under the Stairs.” I came up with the idea of a kid knocking on a wall only to get a response knock back from someone hidden in the passageways between the walls.

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