Four writing prompts: Trapped

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise when they feel confined. Here are four writing prompts for stories that center on being trapped.

Man vs. nature
A man alone in the wilds is trapped by a freak accident – e.g. pinned down in an avalanche, cut off by a flashflood or a forest fire, stuck atop a mountain ledge because his climbing rope has broke. How does he survive nature’s elements until help can – if it ever will – arrive?

Man vs. man
Our main character is kidnapped for ransom. How does he survive his captivity? Why was he kidnapped and by whom? Can he ultimately escape by psychologically working over one of his keepers?

Man vs. society
A person trapped by circumstances but who desires more – romance, glamour, fun – finds himself at odds with his family’s values. How can he escape his circumstances, if only temporarily? Must he ultimately sacrifice a relationship with his family to obtain freedom?

Man vs. himself
After a disaster occurs, our protagonist finds himself alone. While he probably can survive for years where he is despite the calamity, he knows there is no way to escape, nil chance of being rescued for at least several months, and that he is entirely by himself. How does he maintain his sanity until rescue arrives?


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.