[Writing Prompt] Mess With Their Heads

Last week we concentrated on character desires. Giving your character a ‘need’ gives them something to fight for and your reader something to root for.

This week we’re going to explore ways to continue those stories and finish them off.

The Prompt

Create A Really Big Problem For Your Character

Take a character or situation you have written about before and write the story again. This time, bearing in mind your character’s need, do everything you can to derail that character’s progress. Make it big. Make it bad. Do things to your characters that make your reader gasp “How in the world is she ever going to get out of that?!”


  • Try not to worry too much about how you’re going to get your character out of trouble.
  • Do have an end in mind (i.e. know whether or not she’s going to get the guy and whether or not that is good news, given her character need).
  • Just for this story, don’t fret if you can’t transition neatly from ‘oh hell, it just all fell apart from her’ to ‘aha, and here’s how she reacts at the end’. Allow yourself to be sketchy. Don’t try to write deathless prose. Just hash out the events, concentrate on the emotions and worry about clean up later.