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Great stories present a problem in which readers eagerly follow the character’s emotional journey to find out what happens. The problem and solution are the “bookends” for the pages in between, which show how the character is changed by the experience.

With one of the following prompts, can you think of a problem worth writing about?

  • My best friend became an enemy when…
  • I used to love playing ________ until…
  • When people called me __________, I laughed but wanted to…
  • Every time I see a freeway accident, I remember the time when…
  • I was doing well at school, but then…
  • If I could escape from ___________, I would be…
  • My pasted-on smile wasn’t enough to fool my…
  • I could not have been more surprised when…
  • After I lost my _________, I decided to…
  • On my birthday, I was given…
  • I’ve tried many things, but I never thought I’d…
  • If I could do it over again, I would…
  • I thought I had been dreaming, but then…
  • When I was a kid, I most liked to…
  • From the moment Dad told me I had to _________, I wanted to…
  • If I took just one more step, I felt sure I would…
  • After I overslept, I was faced with…
  • When I had to dress up like ________, I…
  • The day was so hot, I just had to…
  • I got into the work I’m now doing, because…
  • The one thing I thought I could never do without was…
  • When the cop pulled me over, I was…
  • The first dollar I earned came from…
  • My trip to __________ was uneventful until…
  • I wanted to go so badly, I decided to…
  • The history books should remember me because I…
  • I’ve always been afraid of…
  • I laughed because I wanted…
  • The competition was tough, so I…
  • At the restaurant, I made the mistake of…
  • Whenever I see my neighbor, I think about…
  • Flowers were appropriate in this situation, but instead…
  • Tears came to my eyes when…
  • At the wedding, I never expected…
  • If I could live anywhere, it wouldn’t be…
  • This holiday was special because…
  • Back where I used to live, I would…
  • It had always been a family tradition, until…
  • I thought I knew what would happen, but then…
  • If I won the lottery, I would…
  • Supposing I could live during any age of history, I would choose…
  • I set what I thought was the most important goal in my life, and…
  • People say it was a miracle when…
  • The proudest moment of my life came after…
  • Of all the mistakes I’ve ever made, this one…
  • When I need to relax, I like to…
  • Our vacation plans looked perfect until…
  • When I went to the doctor, I was shocked when he said…
  • At school, I got into trouble for…