Four Writing Prompts – Inflexibility

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise from their inflexibility. Here are four writing prompts for stories that involve the trait of inflexibility.

Man vs. nature
An explorer of a great wilderness area refuses to give up the trappings of civilization/his military organization despite that it’s hampering the journey. Why won’t he give up his notions of civilization/hierarchy? Will his inflexibility ultimately doom him, given the wilderness’ unyielding stressors?

Man vs. man
Our main character cannot understand why his spouse wants him to be something he isn’t (or even wants to be). How does he handle his spouse’s criticism, and what can he do to get his spouse to acknowledge his wants and needs?

Man vs. society
The main character – a younger man – wants to do something/go into a career that his parents and those around him in society – neighbors, former teachers, parents’ coworkers, even his friends – object to. Will he cave to their pressure or become what he wants to be, even if it means being on his own?

Man vs. himself
Our main character discovers something that a loved one – perhaps his child – that he cannot forgive/accept. Why is he so inflexible? Can he find a way to be accepting of his loved one, or will he live a life in which both suffer from the isolation of one another?


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.