Four writing prompts: Zealotry

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise when he is uncompromising in his religious or political ideas. Here are four writing prompts for stories that center on zealotry.

Man vs. nature
What if to undergo a rite of passage our young protagonist must spend time alone in the wilderness? How does he survive when he is ill prepared to? How does the experience affect his views of the zealots who required this rite and of the views they espouse?

Man vs. man
Our protagonist learns of an assassination plot, but no one takes him seriously, so he takes it upon himself to foil a zealot’s plans. How does he do this? Why do those in charge not take him seriously, and how they actually hinder him from stopping the assassination?

Man vs. society
Our main character commits some seemingly harmless act that makes him the target of zealots. How does he avoid being killed by them? Is there any way he can ever end this situation, given that every zealot he stops becomes a martyr inspiring others to come after him?

Man vs. God(s)
The main character begins a journey that ultimately causes him to be an ambassador of some faith? What if this is a journey that he is reluctant to take? Why would he be reluctant? And what event(s) set this journey in motion and take him along for the ride, though he wishes he could get off the boat?


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.