Four writing prompts: Returning

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise from needing to go back to someone, to someplace, to some belief. Here are four writing prompts for stories that center on returning. 

Man vs. nature
The protagonist’s ship crashes on a planet so that he has no way to return home. How does he survive until a rescue can be mounted?

Man vs. man
Our main character’s spouse is away for an extended period on an important assignment. During that time, the main character – though helping to support his spouse – falls in love with another person who is doing the same for her spouse. What happens when the spouses return? Can the main character and his new beloved leave one another?

Man vs. society
The main character returns home after several years of being away but is not particularly welcomed by his family. Why did he leave in the first place? What compelled him to return home? How does he find acceptance from his estranged family?

Man vs. himself
A man loses his hearing or goes blind. Doctors say it may be temporary. “May” is the operative word. How does the man cope with the possibility that his loss might be permanent? What is the balance between hope and being realistic?


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.