Four writing prompts involving secrecy

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise upon the need to keep or to unveil a secret. Here are four writing prompts for stories that involve secrecy.

Man vs. nature
The main character is sent on a quest to find some object. Where the object is held, though, is a secret. To locate it, he must cross a number of dangerous environments that he is unfamiliar with. How does he survive these natural hazards and find the object?

Man vs. man
Our main character discovers a shocking secret about a loved one. What is the secret? How does he verify it? What is ambiguous about some of the facts that would seem to verify it? How does knowing this secret change his perspective about his loved one and his own life?

Man vs. society
Our protagonist has a special ability that she must keep secret from society. What is this ability and why must she keep it hidden? How does she go about keeping it secret? What if one day, through an accidental slip, she reveals her secret and others (maybe the government) come after her so they can use her secret skills for their purposes?

Man vs. himself
The main character is uncomfortable with his family’s legacy and so attempts to run away from it. What is this legacy? How does he attempt to hide it? Can a man ever truly run away from something that is an internal problem he must come to terms with?


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.