Four Writing Prompts: Finding Identity

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations center around finding his identity. Here are four writing prompts for stories that involve the motivation of finding one’s identity.

Man vs. nature
Your main character is stuck in a perilous environment in which he comes to question all he believes in, as he barely is able to survive his journey to safety. What new virtues does he come to cherish, and how does he come to define himself, as he slowly, achingly, closes on a successful conclusion of his journey?

Man vs. man
A person with amnesia arrives at the main character’s doorstep. How does our main character help the amnesia victim find his way in the world? How does the main character search to determine the amnesia victim’s identity? What if this amnesia victim doesn’t want to learn who is?

Man vs. society
Our main character finds himself stuck in a place where he is unable to communicate with others. How does he find his way? What if this society looks down upon because of his inability to communicate?

Man vs. himself
The main character finds he is unable to settle on his own identity, which is exemplified in his constantly changing outward expression of self (haircut, facial expressions, clothing, favorite verbal expressions, etc.). How through self-examination does he determine what is meaningful to him? How in the end does he imagine his future so he can determine who he is today?


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.