Four writing prompts: Distrust

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise when there is suspicion of others. Here are four writing prompts for stories that center on distrust.

Man vs. nature
The power goes out, and a group of people in a somewhat isolated location find themselves at the mercy of nature and unable to communicate with the outside world. Thanks to misinterpretation and doubt, they soon find themselves unable to trust one another. Can they overcome the wild possibilities offered up by a few frightening facts to work together so they can overcome the dangers nature tosses at them?

Man vs. man
What if two brothers who deeply hate one another must come together to stop a threat that endangers something they mutually love? How did the brothers come to dislike one another? What skill does each possess that makes their cooperation necessary to defeat this threat? How are they ever able to work together?

Man vs. society
Our main character finds himself in a place where friends are indistinguishable from enemies. What would be such a location in our society (A war zone? A workplace full of interoffice politics?)? How does he weave his way through and out of such a place?

Man vs. himself
The protagonist is a victim of a crime in a community he’s moved to and because of it loses his sense of security there. How does he keep this fear from becoming a neurosis and how does he regain trust of others in his new hometown?