Story Ideas About Difficult Decisions

Whenever you're not sure what to write about, you can present a character with a terrible choice.

Put the character in what seems to be a no-win situation, or make him/her choose between two things s/he badly wants. Back your character into a corner and see what s/he does.

Here are some story prompts about difficult decisions which you can develop into stories.

1) Desperate for work, your character answers a number of job ads. One job s/he applies for has a salary three times higher than the others, and your character is thrilled when it is offered to him/her. All s/he has to do is answer the phone and occasionally deliver packages around the city. But once your character begins work, s/he quickly notices clues that the company is involved in something illegal, and s/he begins to wonder what is really in those packages s/he is delivering. Should s/he investigate? Or should s/he just turn a blind eye and continue to enjoy the best job s/he has ever had?

2) When your character's brother dies, your character is asked to take custody of the brother's small daughters. Your character loves his/her nieces and feels a responsibility to take care of them, but your character's spouse, who has never wanted children, disagrees. It seems that your character will have to choose between the children and his/her marriage...

3) Your character was deeply in love with Bill and was heartbroken when he ended the relationship. After almost a year of misery, she began to date Patrick. Although she doesn't feel the same passion for Patrick as she did for Bill, she enjoys being with him and is finally happy again. But then, late one night, Bill shows up at her house and tells her he wants to get back together. Your character doesn't know what to do...

4) Your character's husband or wife is very ill. There is a medical treatment available that might save his life, but your character can't afford to pay for it. S/he starts thinking about robbing a bank in order to pay for the procedure. S/he knows that stealing is wrong, but s/he is desperate to save his/her spouse...

5) After just a few weeks of dating, your character's new boyfriend or girlfriend proposes that they get married. Your character thinks it is far too soon -- there is so much that they don't know about each other -- but when s/he raises this objection, the new boyfriend/girlfriend says, "That doesn't matter. When you find the right person, you just know." Your character is worried that if s/he refuses the marriage proposal, the new boyfriend/girlfriend might break off the relationship. Should s/he take a risk and follow his/her heart?

Learn how to turn your ideas into stories in our 8-week course, Story Structure.

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