[Writing Prompt] Locked Room Mystery

Today’s scenario starts with character and very little in the way of setting.

The Prompt

Alex is cold. She is climbing a snow-laden mountain. The wind strips the heat from her as soon as it radiates out to her skin. She clutches her arms. Where is her coat? She wants to sit down, lie down, but knows that is the most dangerous thing she can do. Suddenly, she’s doing it anyway. But the snow feels wrong under her body. It is smooth and hard and dry and not at all like snow. In an instant her hip and cheek are aching as if she’s been lying here for hours. She can’t hear the wind anymore. She is still cold but now she knows she is inside. In a room? She opens her eyes. She has been dreaming. Instead of the unending expanse of the world around her, she can see only a few feet to the dirty white wall. She is still in the room. On the floor. Her chest contracts, but she lacks even the strength to curl up in a ball and cry. She is still here. Maybe this afternoon she will try the door handle again. Or maybe not.


  • Alex needn’t be a woman. Or human. Or called Alex. But start your story with someone in a (presumably) locked room. Make us care about your character, or at least wonder what he/she has done.
  • If you’re not a fan of mystery, you can let Alex out of the room quickly.
  • If you don’t like the tone I set with this opening, write your own.
  • Your character’s prison need not be physical. Maybe the door is unlocked and your character is in a comfortable bed, but is locked into a psychological hell instead.
  • Or maybe this is the opening to a comic tale where Alex has done something incredibly silly and ended up here. She needs to extricate herself from the situation, piece together what exactly led her to be here, and set about putting things right, in a ridiculous, hilarious way.


How did your story turn out? How are you doing, 27 days into the challenge? Are you looking forward to the end or will you miss this? Comment or join the conversation in the community.


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