Four writing prompts: Deceit

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise when lies are told and identities disguised. Here are four writing prompts for stories that center on deceit.

Man vs. nature
While in the wilderness, a man finds himself engaged in a chess-like match with a long-time rival who wants him dead. Why are they rivals? Forced to utilize the materials in their surroundings, which one can employ the right amount if misdirection to overcome the other?

Man vs. man
What if our main character realizes he’s a pawn in someone’s game, being manipulated to serve another person’s ends? What is the manipulator’s goal and why would he choose our protagonist for this role? How does the main character turn the tables on the manipulator?

Man vs. society
An organization frames our main character. How does he escape the capture of authorities as finding proof of his innocence? Why did this organization set up our main character (Was he just an expendable fall guy or something more?)?

Man vs. himself
Given the opportunity of a lifetime, a man is asked to ghostwrite for a famous author. But when the man sees his words only bring more fame and respect to the author, he begins to wonder if he can carry on this deceit. Do the riches the author lavishes upon our main character outweigh the demands of pride that he be recognized for his talents?