Sunday, November 24, 2019

How to Write a Riddle? Six Basic Tips

How To Write a Riddle? Six Basic Tips
A Review of 6 Tips on How You Can Write Your Own Riddles

Have you ever written a riddle? It's a crazy knack I happen to have. Today, I'll share some of the riddles I've created with a few tips on how you can write your own.

Why Riddles?

Along with sayings for greeting cards, I've been writing riddles for most of my life. The ability to toss out one-liners is a genetic anomaly in my family. My dad could make people laugh on a dime; he was hilarious! That chip landed on my brother, who can toss out funny lines anywhere, any time.

The verbal skills possessed by my dad and brother transferred to me in writing form.

So why riddles? Here's why: This world is too serious right now, so to break up the constant barrage of negativity coming at us, I decided to create books about riddles, quotes, and sayings. But in this article, I'll be sharing some tips on how to write a riddle.

An Example of One of My Personally Written Riddles:

I am a word that has three letters,
but I'm actually six letters long,
I'm used when thinking or trying to figure
what may have gone wrong,
here is a clue that may help you,
four of my letters are the same,
and the first three letters spell a body part, 
or an animal's name,
What word am I?

(Take a guess in the comment section - try not to peek at other comments in case they've guessed the answer correctly!)

How to Write a Riddle

1. Choose the Answer First

Start with the answer. Pick the word you want to write the riddle about, then go from there.

2. Choose a Word that Has Multiple Meanings or can be Expressed in Multiple Ways

Writing a riddle about a word with multiple meanings (spelled the same or spelled differently) is easier. For example, Aunt/Ant, Fly, Park, Plant. These types of words allow you to create the riddle from various angles.

Here's an example of one of my riddles with an answer that has multiple meanings:

It's said we all have one
those who believe never doubt,
that everyone is included,
no one is left out,
we also tell it to mean
"there's only one,"
and when it's spelled differently
we use it to run,
wait, don't be confused because
I'll give you some pity,
when spoken out loud
it's the name of a city,
What word am I?

3. It Doesn't Have to Rhyme

Some people can rhyme anything, and others, not so much. Your riddle will work either way. If you need to improve rhyming, write the riddle with a rhythm.

Here's an example of another of my riddles using rhythm:

You write them
you get them
you give them
you hate them
you love them
you dread them
you need them
but you probably
never ever want them
What am I?

4. It's Easier to Write Riddles About Things You Can't Physically See

Try writing a riddle using words representing the unseen, such as thoughts, ideas, gravity, love, grace, nasty, etc. Think 'invisible' - You get the picture.

5. Think About What People Can Relate to with the Word/Answer

When writing your riddle, think about how people relate to the word. For example, the riddle in point three above is obscure and can technically have more than one answer (although there is a specific answer to it).

In riddle two, the meanings are different, the answer is spelled multiple ways, and the clues are more specific. For example, the particular clues are: everyone has one, it means just one, you use it to run, it's the name of a city.

6. Test Your Riddles Out on Your Friends and Family

See how difficult it is for your people to answer; they're too complicated if they never solve them. Mix it up to create both easier riddles and more challenging riddles. For Thanksgiving, my family used my riddles for a fun after-dinner game. The game was to see who could solve them the fastest. It was comical to hear them yelling over each other.

If the above riddles are frustrating you, there's more where that came from here, and you'll also be guided to the riddle answers from that page.

Your Assignment:

Write a riddle with the answer, "Park" - have fun!

By the way, in my book (A Party Game #STUMPED), you'll find my riddle for the word "Park" on page 70 (it's riddle 56).

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. You are indeed uniquely talented! I couldn't write a riddle if my life depended on it. Even though we do have several family members that seem to be able to solve riddles quickly, that is Not me! I think on them for hours and when the answer finally either hits me, or I look it up, I usually say something like, duh! It would be a fun game to play over Thanksgiving, but I already know I would stare blankly across the table to my son and he would mouth the answer to me.

    1. btw, I have no idea what the answers are for the riddles above. No doubt, there is a big "duh" in my future :)

    2. Sylvestermouse, lol! your comment cracked me up!

  2. I have the same 'duh' as you, Mouse. Riddles are beyond me to either write or figure out. But I do admire those who can. It's a unique talent indeed that you have there Barbara. Good luck with your riddle books so newly published.

    1. Both of you had me laughing out loud on the 'duh' part of solving riddles - I'm better at writing them than solving them that's for sure

  3. Ok I'm with Mouse and Elf. I admire people who can write and solve just isn't me. I'd love to see the answers...I don't have a clue. Gest of luck with your book.

    1. Thanks Mary Beth! It appears you're not alone on the riddle front, lol!

  4. What a cool article, I love riddles - the first one (I believe) is assess. I can't think of the others right now, but no doubt they'll come to me a 3 or 4 in the morning LOL!

    1. Lou16, if they're in your head at 3 or 4am I do apologize, lol. And yep, you're right on that first one :)

    2. Number 2 is still bugging me, I keep getting ideas but I need someone to bounce them off :) I thought number 3 might be something to do with letters or notes but then I thought hang on exams! I hope that's right.

  5. That is a great talent you have. I am not one for writing them or sovling them The best of luck with your book.

    1. Brenda, thank you. Just a silly thing I do that really has no rhyme or reason lol :)

  6. This is one thing that I am totally and always stumped by. I am not a riddle person, Barbara got all my share of the talent in that field. I guess I just need to get my thinking cap on straight and then maybe just maybe I would be able to do this......glad you are so talented in that department.

  7. Great tips and I have never written a riddle! Will put your tips to use and give one a try :)

  8. I started out as an elementary teacher, so there have been many riddles in my life. Children just adore riddles and jokes. My dad, too, had the gift of being funny and making people laugh. I love things that challenge my mind. You have so many talents!

  9. I've always found riddles both fascinating and intimidating. My husband can solve them in record time, whereas I have absolutely ZERO talent in this area. What a wonderful gift you and your family share! I'm sure the riddles - and ensuing laughter - are something all of you look forward to at family get-togethers.


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