Spy Writing Prompts and Story Ideas (Updated in 2023)

spy writing prompts

Looking for enticing spy story ideas and writing prompts? You’ve come to the right place! Read on for prompts like a spy who’s brainwashed into living a normal person’s life by her husband, or a fashion designer who sews recording devices onto her clients’ bespoke garments!

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Spy Fiction

Spy fiction, a fiction genre involving espionage as a key setting or plot device, first emerged in the early twentieth century, inspired by rivalries and conspiracies among major powers in the world and the creation of various intelligence organizations.

Fascism and communism in the lead-up to World War II gave the genre a momentum that continued to develop during the Cold War. The emergence of various threats to Western societies such as rogue states, international criminal organizations, global terrorist networks, maritime piracy and technological sabotage and espionage continued supplying the genre with inspirations.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Carré, The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews, Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, are a few famous works in the genre.

Spy Writing Prompts

Are you amped up already to write some intriguing spy novel? Dive in for some original spy writing prompts and story ideas!

I hope the ideas below are original. However, undoubtedly with the popularity of this trope, something similar could have existed out there already. But sometimes the smallest details matter, and make all the difference!

Please note that the genders in these starters are just placeholders and are not meant to enforce any hurtful stereotypes nor offend anyone.

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Intriguing Spy Fiction Prompts

Here are some compelling spy writing prompts and story ideas that will bend and tickle the mind.

1. Following a horse-riding accident, a tired housewife begins having flashbacks of memories from her past life. Convinced that she’s actually an undercover spy, brainwashed into living a normal person’s life by the man who is none other than her husband, she must unveil the mystery before the clock runs out.

2. A woman is recruited by her deceased twin sister’s handler to finish what her sister started. However, she’s just a housewife with no prior espionage training.

3. A diligent man/woman becomes a spy to retaliate for their father’s death. But when they arrive at the top of the chain, who else do they find there other than their father?

4. A stewardess enters a world of chaotic espionage when the pilot she’s having an affair with (who is a covert spy) gets assassinated during their time together. As a key witness, she agrees to pick up where her lover left off and solves the mystery of his murder as well as finish his mission.

5. A spy who integrates so well into the organization he or she’s spying on, that they become the godfather or godmother of the organization’s leader’s newborn.

6. A prompt idea based on the picture below. During the height of Cold War, an intel leaks out that the key to winning the war is something known only as its code name, White Horse. What could it be?

(Please click on the image for more information about it.)

7. A prompt idea based on the picture below. An agent’s mission is to guard a genius kid, the brain behind the creation of a stealthy transportation device that could just be the key for the country’s victory in a war. Meanwhile, what if someone closest to the kid turns out to be a spy working for the other side of the war?

(Please click on the image for more information about it.)

Spy Romance Prompts

Infusing some romance into any genre is going to bring you a wider readership. Hence, why not do that with a spy fiction? Here are some spy romance writing prompts and story ideas!

1. The wife of a former spy attempts to clear out her deceased husband’s name following a defamation that resulted in his disgraceful dismissal from his job. And helping her following the crumbs of truth left by her husband is her husband’s former partner.

2. A famous fashion designer with many high-profile clients is a spy who sews recording devices onto the bespoke garments of her clients. When a client discovers this, he pretends to play along until he finds an opportune moment to retaliate against her.

3. A prompt idea based on the picture below. An allegedly serendipitous meeting between a dancer and the CEO of a prestigious company one rainy night turns into a dangerous game of cat and mouse as the latter turns out to be an undercover spy who’s hell-bent on taking down the former, who is a spy gone rogue.

(Please click on the image for more information about it.)

4. A prompt idea based on the picture below. When a woman disappears, her family vows to do anything to bring her back. But what they do not expect is that she’s the brain behind her own disappearance. She sheds her old identity in order to infiltrate the mafia organization that has her family bankrupted.


Wacky Spy Prompts

These wacky spy writing prompts are perfect for students or the kids at home to get their creative juices flowing. Alternatively, you can also use them to spice up an otherwise serious narrative for some comedic relief! Here are some funny and out of the box spy writing prompts and story ideas.

1. Write about a spy with no remarkable skills because they’re not a techie, not a disguise expert, not a language expert, not a skilled combat fighter or marksman. Their only skill is their good sense of fashion.

2. A teenage spy is grounded by their mother for a serious offense, and now the mother has no choice but finish her child’s assignment or the country might just burn down to ash.

3. A British spy attempts to blackmail an American spy to get the latter to supply the former with precious intel. Unbeknownst to the British spy, the American spy also has a dirty secret of the former, putting them at an impasse.

4. An ennui-ridden man thinks his life is boring, until one day, when he’s sitting at a park bench alone, a voice from the nearest surveillance camera says, “We don’t normally recruit people this way, but we have a mission for you.”

5. A prompt idea based on the picture below. An undercover spy learns golfing for a covert mission but becomes so good at it and gains worldwide fame, which threatens the longevity of their real career.

(Please click on the image for more information about it.)

6. A prompt idea based on the picture below. Due to a mixed-up apartment contract, an undercover spy must share an apartment with three nosey roommates, which might just be the thing that spoils her cover-up. And she couldn’t just get another apartment because this one is right beneath the target’s apartment!

(Please click on the image for more information about it.)



I hope the spy writing prompts above spark some imagination in you. If you need more story ideas and prompts, please browse our Story Ideas & Writing Prompts category!

Have any question or feedback? Feel free to contact me here. Until next time!

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