Story Starter: Make Your Main Character Want Something

“Make your characters want something right away even if it’s only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.”

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Photo by Julia Zolotova on Unsplash

Today is Thursday, which means it is Focused Free-Write day in my high school creative writing course. Yesterday I posted about how I created a schedule this year to keep our class organized and on-track. With all the challenges we are facing this year due to Covid-19, it feels good to have a little structure – but still have the creative spontaneity that I crave. You can read my post here.

I read Kurt Vonnegut’s quote a few days ago and I thought it would make a wonderful prompt to get a story started. So today my students will use it as a springboard to generate a story – or an episode from a story. After all, not everything we write becomes a masterpiece. Much of what we write is practice. When we write each day we naturally become better writers.

I cannot wait to see where this prompt takes my students. I wonder what their characters will want, or yearn for? Will it be something grand or will it be something as simple as a glass of water?

Maybe your character wants spring to come?
Maybe your character hails from a dystopian society and craves freedom from an oppressive government?
Maybe your character is overwhelmed and overstimulated and wants peace and solitude. A mountain cabin? A long hike in nature? Fresh air and birdsong?
Maybe your character wants a bowl of soup (or another comfort food) from their favorite restaurant, from their grandmother’s kitchen, or even from their own culinary skills? Maybe they want to become a famous food blogger or open their own cafe?

Write for 20-30 minutes (or longer) and see what happens.

Make sure you follow my Facebook Page and follow me here for more writing prompts.

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