Four writing prompts: Innocence lost

Good stories center on the clashing of characters’ goals and motivations. Sometimes a character’s goals and motivations arise from gaining a new awareness of pain, suffering and evil in our world. Here are four writing prompts for stories that center on innocence lost.

Man vs. nature
While in the wilderness on a camping or backpacking trip, something occurs that causes our young main character to almost die and in the process to gain a broader awareness of evil in the world. Feeling the pain of this new awareness, how does he survive not only his only mental anguish but also the wilderness as he makes his way back to civilization?

Man vs. man
How do two people who feel guilt about the loss of their loved ones come to feel love for one another? Why do they feel this guilt? How do they overcome it? How do they come to understand that they are right for one another when they each think they’ve lost the love of their lives or the only for them?

Man vs. society
What if our protagonist, to get out of a jam (maybe to pay off a gambling debt or to avoid bankruptcy) decides to strike a deal with the devil (perhaps a crime syndicate or a hard-nosed but wealthy employer) to cover him. How does this deal make his situation worse for him? How does he extricate himself from it?

Man vs. himself
Our main character possesses special abilities that make him vital to solving a great crisis. Yet those abilities means he will be responsible for incredible – but seemingly inevitable – atrocities. How does he come to grips with the clear consequences of his growing abilities as they are honed for solving the great crisis?


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.