A Refusal – a writing prompt

Continuing our week of prompts aimed at creating rich backstory for novelists and short story writers alike, today we create an alternate story for your protagonist.

The Prompt

There is a moment in every story where a protagonist has to make a choice: to take up the challenge of the story or to turn away. Everything else flows from that.

Today, write a story in which your protagonist makes the other choice. 


  • This will, of course, result in a shorter story than otherwise.
  • It will still have fallout. (Think: It’s A Wonderful Life, Sliding Doors etc.)
  • Examine that fallout in a story.

Don’t forget to leave a comment, or do your Victory Dance in the community.

4 thoughts on “A Refusal – a writing prompt”

  1. I did it! I went to my novel-in-progress and instead of having my protagonist accept the call, she says no. It was strange to write something I know I’m not going to use in the final draft, but it was great because it help me clarify her insecurities. So thanks! Looking forward to tomorrow now!

    1. I had a similar experience. I KNOW this character isn’t going to win against her demons, and that bothers me. This was a bit of balm that also showed me emotional vulnerabilities that have added texture to the stories that follow, and the novel that is getting ready to be born.

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