[Writing Prompt] Setting The Scene

Write A Story Set In A Hospital
(or any other high-tension setting, if you’re not familiar with hospitals)

This week we are concentrating on the different parts of the short story. Of course ALL the elements need to be there, but each of these prompts focuses on a particular element more than the others.

How did your character writing go yesterday? Did you learn any interesting lessons about creating a character with a strong desire, that you can carry forward into your future stories? Did you leave a comment or post in the community?

Today we’re focusing on setting.

The Prompt

Write A Story Set In A Hospital
(or any other high-tension setting, if you’re not familiar with hospitals)


  • You still need to include fully-realized characters, each with specific (and possibly opposing) desires. (For example, your patient might just want to go home. Their doctor probably wants them to stay put for now. Their next-of-kin might have a whole other set of issues and the nurses probably just want to go somewhere quiet and put their feet up for a few minutes…)
  • Make the setting integral to the story. Have events that could only happen in this high-tension setting.
  • Use all your senses to set the scene — everyone talks about the smell and the colors of hospitals, but what about the noises? I heard a news story on the radio recently about the incessant beeping of alarms in hospitals. That was something I wouldn’t otherwise have thought of. And again, someone once told me how it hurt them that their child’s hospital blanket felt so rough. All they could think of was getting a fuzzy blanket for the child. These are the kinds of details that bring a story alive.
  • If this setting doesn’t work for you, check out these other prompts I’ve provided with different (possibly more cheerful) settings.



8 thoughts on “[Writing Prompt] Setting The Scene”

  1. well, back on track after yesterday’s distractions did not allow for the prompt. short story today, but it has the possibility of growing into something bigger

  2. I didn’t want to write this prompt. All my ideas were dreadfully sad. It’s not my favorite, but it’s written. It’s not even too incredibly sad!!!

  3. yesterday (Day 8) was very interesting. My character and his desires evolved from real incidents that happened to real people but all of them rolled into one. I feel like the story may have needed more to complete it but I liked the development of it. Writing out 15 ways the character could achieve the desire was an interesting exercise and very useful for generating potential story lines. I tried a few de bono’s hats in the exercise to loosen up my own -what I would actually do vs what my character could do. Great prompts thank you.

    1. Oh, that’s a good idea: what I would do vs what my character would.
      I read an article once that recommended thinking about people who scare you and what THEY would do. That was useful, because until then I hadn’t found a way into thinking through the actions of someone whose ethics and actions didn’t match my own.

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