Four writing prompts: Acceptance

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise from the seeking of acceptance. Here are four writing prompts for stories that center on conflicts over acceptance.

Man vs. nature
To gain acceptance in his society, a young man must prove himself by surviving in the wilderness via some sort of rite of passage. What does the main character learn about himself – and about his society’s values – as he overcomes the dangerous challenges that nature throws at him during this rite?

Man vs. man
A son seeks the acceptance of his father or a daughter of her mother. Why does the parent not accept the child for who s/he is? Why does our protagonist now feel s/he needs to – and is able to – gain acceptance (Perhaps the parent is terminally ill, so there is a ticking clock.)? How does the child go about seeking this acceptance, and why is the parent still resistant to giving it?

Man vs. society
Our protagonist – an outsider – must find a way to fit into his school/workplace/church/town. When he learns a secret that could make him the hero, however, no one believes him. How does he prove his secret to them? Given their attitude toward him, why does he simply not keep the secret to himself and let them suffer the consequences of not knowing the truth until it’s too late?

Man vs. himself
Unable to get along socially in an environment from which he cannot leave, our main character must decide if he should change himself – that is not be true to himself – to fit in or if he should accept alienation as his lot and make due. Or is there a third option for our main character?