Four writing prompts: Out of one’s league

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise from seeking something that is out of his league. Here are four writing prompts for stories that center on that conflict.

Man vs. nature
The main character is on a jungle (or a mountain climbing) expedition that suffers a freak accident, leaving many in the party dead. How does the main character survive in an environment in which he is out of his league and get home? What virtues does he possess that ensures his survival? What lessons does he learn during his effort to survive?

Man vs. man
How does the main character win the heart of someone who is out of his league? What is his motivation for pursuing this person? What traits does he posses that actually makes him the right person for the one who is out of his league?

Man vs. society
How does one win a position – e.g. a job or political office – that is out of his league? Why does he want to obtain this position, though doing so appears hopeless?

Man vs. himself
Our protagonist must suppress his attraction for another person who is out of his league. But that other person keeps showing up in his life, making the rejection of his feelings difficult. How does he gain the confidence to reach out to this other person?


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.