Oct 19 2012

12 Writing Prompts/Situations

Published by at 5:09 pm under Writing Articles

1. A character is disappointed in a role model (who may or may not be part of the conversation).


2. A character tries to act more knowledgeable about something than he/she actually is.


3. Character A tries to convince Character B to do something that Character A would never do himself.

3.1. A character tries to convince a more powerful character to make a major sacrifice and/or concession, but lacks the ability to force the issue.


4. A character tries to act more enthusiastic than he/she is. Is the other person (or people) in the conversation mainly enthusiastic or unenthusiastic? I’d recommend going with whichever one feels less intuitive.


5. One character sees himself as much closer to the other than vice versa. Bonus points if it’s something besides an unrequited romance.


6. A character makes a hasty decision. Compare and contrast to a separate scene showing the same character making the same decision with more forethought. Bonus points: the decision is hard to plan for (e.g. breaking up with somebody).


7. A character tries to hide his/her actual reasons for something, preferably in a conversation with someone suspicious enough to dig at the truthSuggestion: if the suspicious person explicitly accuses the deceptive character of the actual motive, don’t have the deceptive character instantly admit it. Milk more drama out of it than that.


8. A character tries to trap somebody else into doing or admitting something. 


9. Imply that a character is uncertain about a plan/decision. Preferably the circumstances make it difficult and/or risky for the character to openly voice these concerns.


10. Bitter and/or violent enemies engage in a conversation, preferably in a situation where violence and/or threats are not viable. For example, the villain in Iron Man reveals his murderous betrayal to the protagonist at a charity gala as photographers are taking pictures. The limitations there were more dramatic than if the characters had been free to scream at each other in a more private setting.


11.Protagonist A tries showing off in front of Character B, who happens to be much better at the skill/trait in question. Perhaps the protagonist is trying to impress a third character?

11.1. Character B has to save Character A from making a fool in front of a third character, but has to avoid ruffling A’s feathers. For example, if a boss starts using (broken) French at a cocktail party to make himself sound cultured/learned, telling him he’s playing the fool might be problematic.


12. A character grossly underplays or overplays something (e.g. brushing off a catastrophe or playing up a minor inconvenience for leverage).

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “12 Writing Prompts/Situations”

  1. Chihuahua Zeroon 29 Aug 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I’ve been trying out writing prompts lately. Maybe I’ll choose one of these tomorrow, even though most of these seem to apply to writing with “ongoing” ideas.

  2. Milanon 30 Aug 2012 at 6:14 am

    That’s a lot of Writing Prompts! Apologies in advance for borrowing some characters from this site, genders unknown, I had to give this a go. Any resemblances are purely coincidental. I wasn’t sure if I had to do the prompts in the order they were given.

    “I never expected B. Mac to be so impressed by the fifth Twilight movie,” lamented Ekimmak. (1)

    “Well, what did you expect,” replied Anon. “He’s a big fan of superhero movies.” (2)

    Ekimmak knew it just wasn’t right. Indeed, nothing was right if Anon was actually in context. There was nothing for it but to pull B. Mac back over the fence. He clicked on Superheronation.

    “B.Mac, you need to get to TwilightCon. It will set you straight.” (3) Ekimmak pressed the Submit button, sat back and pressed the Refresh button. Slowly at first, eventually reaching a violent crescendo before B. Mac finally replied.

    “Sure, I’d love that! I wrote to the organizers for an invitation, but I fear they may have visited this site.” (3.1)

    Ekimmak nodded at the screen. B. Mac might have changed, but the internet was forever. Still, nobody wanted its rolemodel in a fugue. It had to do something. Roll with the punches.

    “Why don’t you just turn up? You could go in costume! You could take me as your,” Ekimmak paused. (4) What did sparkly vampires take with them? “Human love child.” Ekimmak tensed. (5) But it forced itself to relax, reminding itself that it was for the greater good. The effort felt positively superheroic! And… Submit. Something about that last step made Ekimmak tense again. It applied its nervous energy to repeatedly pressing Refresh.

    Suddenly Ekimmak’s reply disappeared! (5, bonus points) As the bile rose in Ekimmak’s throat it shook the mouse, the cursor darting about like a stiletto. It closed the browser and crossed its arms. (6, part 1) But it couldn’t shake the sense of abandonment, forgetting its backpack as it stormed off to school.

    During recess Ekimmak dropped into the computer lab. It had cooled off quite a bit, and the missing backpack reminded it of its own limitations. It would rewrite the reply, replacing “Human love child” with “Team Edward”. Everything Ekimmak knew about Twilight it had learned from internet memes, but they had to be right, right? Submit.

    Just as the bell sounded the end of recess the Refresh revealed the message had been deleted again! Ekimmak laughed. (6, part 2). Perhaps the meme meant something else after all. (6, no bonus points) But it gave Ekimmak an idea.

    “B.Mac I know you might delete this reply too, but first I want to apologize. I don’t know much about Twilight. I might have said the wrong thing by accident. Perhaps you can remind me of some of the fantastic dialogue and it’ll jog my memory. (7) Perhaps we can turn all your readers into fans! (7, with drama)” Submit and Refresh. Class could wait. As a computer class began to assemble around it, Ekimmak got up and sat down, as though it had just arrived. (more 7).

    “You’re not in this class,” stated the student wearing the “Raggedboy” hoodie. (7 drama!)

    “Yes I am,” said Ekimmak, rolling its eyes. It was. At least, right at this moment. (7 milk, milk)

    Ekimmak’s reply was eventually deleted once more, but an email arrived even as it was formulating a strategy for another post. The email came from a B. McKenzie. “Dear Ekimmak, thank you for your posts. I apologize, I wanted to keep your posts but I suspected you might be still looking for the right words, so I wanted to give you another go. Since you are a Twilight Convert – a Twivert – yet you admit you don’t know much about the series I thought I’d ask you what you did like and we can start there?” (8)

    Ekimmak found itself on its back chair leg roller. If it said the wrong thing now its plan to reinvigorate B. Mac could go very wrong. (9, part 1) Lose the ruse, shatter B. Mac with a lie, and Ekimmak would be left without a supernovel rolemodel! (9, part 2). But Ekimmak was also a novelist. It would take advantage of the hypothetical.

    “Well, let’s say you were Bella,” it wrote. (10!) “Wouldn’t you want to live forever?” Yes, that had to be right. “You could impress your boyfriend with your longevity.” (11) Okay, so that sounded a bit odd. But sometimes odd was good. “I bet nobody else imagines the books the way I do!” (11, second bit) Ekimmak added a warm, fuzzy subject line, “Purr Like Twiverts,” and sent it off.

    There were no further emails, nothing, for another day (11.1, inferred?). Then just a single post, a knot to end the thread, submitted on Superheronation by a B. Mac. “To everybody who emailed, of course I haven’t changed. It’s just a writing prompt!” (12)

  3. B. McKenzieon 30 Aug 2012 at 9:50 am

    I found your response alarmingly amusing, Milan. What I had in mind was more like authors picking one or two rather than doing all twelve, but I really like your approach.

  4. WritingNinjaon 30 Aug 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I had to laugh at #3. I use to do that to my friends and brothers all the time. I wouldn’t open the cookie bag, ride a bike off an unstable ramp, talk to so-and-so, or whatever, but boy I wanted to know what would the result be. Or I wanted cookies.

  5. Nayanon 06 Oct 2012 at 2:40 am

    Hello B. Mac. How are you? I am new here. One of my friends told me about this site and I have found it very helpful. Sorry, my english is not good. I am writing a superhero novel in my mother tongue but i think rules of writing apply to all languages. I need some help from you. In my story there are some flashback scenes which are for developing the main character. How can i execute the flashback scenes well?

  6. B. McKenzieon 06 Oct 2012 at 3:38 am

    “In my story, there are some flashback scenes for developing the main character. How can I execute the flashback scenes well?” I would recommend incorporating them smoothly into the “now” of the plot. I think it should be immediately clear that the flashback adds something to what’s going on now. For example, I would NOT particularly recommend using a flashback mainly to introduce a new character who will later turn out to be significant unless readers will know right away that he’s significant–I think that this character will come across as a distraction from the story you’ve told already. I think it would be more promising to instead show us something about 2+ characters who have already demonstrated they are significant in the present/”now” of the story. Then the backstory might develop an important relationship, develop critical characters without side-tracking the plot, advance the plot, foreshadow something interesting, etc.

    PS: Based on what little I’ve seen of your writing, you have a really strong grasp of English grammar. For example, “I think rules of writing apply to all languages.” Many of the prospective college students I tutor would have incorrectly phrased that as “I think rules of writing applies to all languages,” but you understood that the noun is plural (“rules of writing”) rather than singular (“writing”).

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