[Guest Prompt] Angela Ackerman – Shame

The Prompt

Shame is a powerful emotion, and one of the most wounding experiences a character can face.

Write a story where your character does something that they feel shame for (maybe a failure, making a mistake [through one’s own carelessness or by accident] that hurts someone else, or letting someone down, poor treatment of someone, refusing to help, etc.) and how they redeem themselves in the aftermath.


Angela Ackerman is a writing coach and co-author of the #1 bestselling resource, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression as well as the bestselling pair, The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes and The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws. When she isn’t teaching or building innovate tools for writers, she writes Middle Grade and Young Adult mysteries represented by the Jill Corcoran Literary Agency. You can find her at Writers Helping Writers, a hub for all things description.

5 thoughts on “[Guest Prompt] Angela Ackerman – Shame”

    1. Happy this prompt will be helpful, Sarah! Shame is a confusing emotion…as you say, sometimes we don’t even understand why we feel it, or feel it over things we shouldn’t. It’s a great way to explore old wounds lurking in the character’s past, and gain insight into how they think and feel.

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