Four writing prompts: Perfection

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise from seeking – or escaping – a flawless state. Here are four writing prompts for stories that center on perfection.

Man vs. nature
What if our main character lives in a Garden of Eden-like setting – perhaps a perfectly-balanced living dome on another planet – but feels that it is like living in a cage? At what point does the perfectly balanced environment, even if utterly beautiful, becomes sterile? What price does perfection carry? Can this perfect environment symbolize utopian societies in general or some place on Earth?

Man vs. man
What if a married couple, who our two main characters, realize they no longer love each other? Though feeling duped by society’s promise that marriage meant happiness, they are unwilling to let go because to do so means admitting their own failure and that the dream they staked their lives on was a mistake. How do they comes to terms with this and along the way, how do they seek happiness since they no longer can find it in one another?

Man vs. society
Our protagonist has the perfect physical appearance, but finds that with this beauty come certain expectations from society that he doesn’t feel is the right fit for him. How does he balance others’ perceptions and expectations of him against who he is really is and wants to be?

Man vs. himself
What if our main character finds himself bored by the perfection of his life, the kind of life that so many others would desire? After all, while there is no pain or suffering, there also is little joy or appreciation for anything. How does our main character break from this perfect world so that he can experience a meaningful life again?