How To Write A Riddle

Learning how to write a riddle can be somewhat of a riddle in itself, but what exactly is a riddle and what makes a good one?

A riddle – which can include a scavenger hunt, a rhyming riddle, and even a treasure hunt –  is a verbal puzzle that will have you thinking on a deeper level. Riddles typically revolve around the names of specific objects as their solutions. They provide subtle hints for their answers – think of scavenger hunt clues or treasure hunt clues – while leading you into two different directions at the same time.

One direction that the riddle leads you will be a little more accurate, while the other direction leads you off course. Riddles can vary in complexity, and they require you to think a little bit differently.

A lot of riddles involve metaphors and paradoxes that sometimes lead people down a rabbit hole of thought. Being able to accurately figure out a riddle involves being able to figure out contradictions.

When riddles involve objects, they tend to use descriptive words in different ways. Riddles have been around for centuries, and many people enjoy telling riddles more than solving them. Learning how to make your own riddles is an enjoyable way to spend your time with friends and family.


If you’re interested in learning how to write a riddle, the best way to introduce yourself to it is by reading a lot of them. To start with, you’ll want to read many simple riddles so that you get a better understanding of how they operate. You can easily find riddles scattered all over the internet, and has many interesting riddles that will get your mind going.

There are also cultures that use riddles in their traditions. Viking riddles are very common among English speakers, and they have been using riddles since over 1,000 years ago. Sometimes riddles have an easy solution but are written in a creative way that will try and trick you. You’ll also commonly see riddles being written in different books. The Hobbit has an entire chapter of riddles included in it.

Writing A Riddle

When you’ve done a lot of reading up on riddles and have decided to consider writing a riddle of your own, one of the first things you’ll need to think about is the subject matter of your riddle. Riddles can be written about nearly anything and take any form, such as a riddle poem. The only thing limiting a riddle is the writer’s creativity. Get flexible and let down your boundaries when you’re writing riddles.

Riddles involving objects that many people know about make for a useful subject to write about. You can also write riddles regarding:

  • Storms
  • Weather
  • Animals
  • Actions

General topics make for excellent riddle ideas because more and more people will be able to try and solve them. If you’re writing a riddle on a subject from the ice age, then the difficulty will be increased to the point where people might not be able to solve it.

Length Of the Riddle

When you’re writing a riddle, an important consideration is length. A lot of riddles are short and brief, consisting of around two phrases, while others turn into a bit of a story. If you’re brand-new to writing your own riddles, consider starting off with a short one and then moving on to longer ones as you get more and more familiar with them.

Answer To the Riddle

A good approach to writing your own riddles is to start with the answer. After you’ve figured out the answer, you can begin backtracking and building the framework of the riddle. Start by thinking of an easy object or person that many people are familiar with. You can create a riddle from an object as simple as a piece of paper.

Once you’ve figured out the answer to your riddle, begin writing down a couple of ideas to craft the riddle together. Write down some verbs, adjectives, and synonyms. So, if you’re making a riddle about a piece of paper, start writing down things like:

  • White
  • Tree
  • Essay
  • Scribbling
  • Pencil

All of these things will cause the reader to relate to a piece of paper, and the majority of people have written on a piece of paper at some point in their life, making it a perfect subject for a riddle. You might also consider writing about certain things that a piece of paper can do, like assist people in starting campfires.

Once you’re done writing out a list of what your piece of paper can do, begin thinking about writing out a metaphorical description for your riddle while giving subtle clues to the answer. During this step, you can really show off your creativity. Using basic but complex words is a good way to lead people’s minds in a certain direction without giving away the answer completely.

Some riddles are written in a poetic way that rhymes as you recite them. Keep your riddle as basic as you can. Stay away from super complicated words that will just confuse the reader away from the answer to the riddle.

The Solution

Some riddles are written in a way that the solution to the riddle is talking about itself. These riddles are typically written in the first person and are sometimes a little easier to understand.

When you’re learning how to write a riddle, you’ll want to consider how your riddle sounds orally. Try reciting it back a couple of times as you’re writing it to hear how the language will sound out loud. Doing this will make you a better riddle writer in the long run. Plus, the better you get at it, the more you’ll find your riddles making better sense.

After you’re done writing your riddle, send it over to a couple of friends and see if they can come up with the solution. Getting feedback is always a useful way of knowing if the riddle made any sense or if it was a mess. After getting some feedback, you can revise your riddle in a way that will have it make more sense.

If your friends or family members were able to come to the solution to your riddle too fast, consider switching it up a bit. Making the riddle more metaphorical is a good way to have your riddle becoming trickier to answer. Sometimes people make the initial mistake of making riddles too complicated. This can be due to a number of things:

  • The wording of the riddle
  • The subject matter
  • The length

Writing a good riddle can be just as or even more difficult than reading through and solving one. Riddles are supposed to be entertaining, attention-catching, and complicated, but not to the point where they will be taking hours to solve. A riddle being too complicated can take the fun factor out of it, and that will defeat the entire purpose of writing a riddle in the first place.

Again, work from the solution to the riddle first, and begin moving backward.

Riddles are a fun way to pass time with friends and family. They will have your brain functioning on a deeper level and cause your creativity to soar to depths you never thought it could reach.