Four writing prompts: Ambition

Good stories center on the goals and motivations of characters clashing. Here are four writing prompts for stories that involve the motivation of ambition.

Man vs. nature
A man faces the challenge of crossing a desert on foot. Why does he need to cross it? What obstacles will he face on the way?

Man vs. man
Two men possess the same ambition. Why do they each have that goal? What is at stake for each man if they do not achieve their goal? What tussles have they had in the past with one another that causes them to dislike the other (and hence turns up the desire for each to achieve their goal)?

Man vs. society
What happens when a man’s ambitions run against his society’s values? In what ways are society’s values questionable (so that the reader will root for the main character)?

Man vs. himself
A man must decide if his ambition is worth pursuing. What external and internal forces tug at him to continue the pursuit as well as to quit? What is the price of pursuing and of giving up on his ambition?


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.