Four writing prompts: Separation

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise when he’s apart from something of great importance to him. Here are four writing prompts for stories that center on separation.

Man vs. nature
Two men on an expedition become separated thanks to a freak accident. To survive, however, each needs the other – the share of the gear they carry, their expertise, their companionship. How do our two characters overcome the challenges nature throws at them as they attempt to reunite? What can each man learn about themselves and perhaps each other as they overcome these difficulties?

Man vs. man
Our protagonist finds he has difficult connecting with others, which leads him to the edge of serious mental and physical health issues. Why is he unable to connect? What steps does he take try to connect? Are come people, by their very nature, unable to connect with others?

Man vs. society
The main character is separated from a loved one. How did they become separated? Why is this separation so unbearable? How do the two characters attempt to reunite? What obstacles do various elements of society throw at them to prevent them from seeing one another?

Man vs. himself
Our main character loses something of great importance to him – a position of prestige, a loved one, maybe both. How does he regain his sense of identity and self-worth in the aftermath of such a loss? How did he lose what he so much needed and loved?


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.