Four writing prompts: Doubt

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise from feelings of uncertainty or a lack of conviction. Here are four writing prompts for stories that center on doubt.

Man vs. man
Our protagonist is tapped to help a powerful, secret organization solve a major problem. A man from the organization – who he is assigned to work with – has serious doubts about the protagonist’s abilities and chances of success? How does the protagonist overcome this adversity so he can solve the problem? What special skill or knowledge does the protagonist posses that makes him indispensable? Why would the man from the organization doubt our protagonist?

Man vs. society
The main character decides the organization he works for is stepping over the line despite its noble goals. How does he come to this decision? How does the organization deal with his objection?

Man vs. God(s)
What if a man who doubts God’s existence still lives in fear of actually having been made in God’s image? That is, he may not be God-fearing, but he is God-haunted. Why does he harbor doubts about God? How does balancing his doubt with his fear affect him, and how does he rectify the two?

Man vs. himself
Our main character possesses serious self-doubt about his artistic abilities (as a painter, a musician, a sculptor, etc.) yet is unable to give up on passion (for doing so means giving up on himself). How does he deal with his self-doubt so that he can actually create? Is his self-doubt, ironically, what propels him to create truly great pieces that show he actually has superior artistic abilities?


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.