Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let your character try out a bad idea.

Plot twist story prompts aren’t meant for the beginning or the end of stories. Rather, they’re for forcing big and small turns in the anticipated trajectory of a story. This is to make it more interesting for the readers and writers alike.

Each week, I’ll provide a new prompt to help twist your story. Find last week’s prompt, Back to the Grind, here.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Bad Idea

For today’s prompt, let one of your characters try out a bad idea. Of course, there are bad ideas (like investigating that strange noise in the barn when you know there’s a killer on the loose) and there are bad ideas (like deciding to jump off a cliff to get away from flesh-eating zombies). For the purposes of this prompt, I’m thinking of bad ideas in the latter category. 

(5 Moral Dilemmas That Make Characters and Stories Better.)

That is, I’m thinking of characters who are put into “impossible situations” with only bad options, and they are forced to come up with a bad idea to try and overcome. For instance, a friend is abducted by scientists who are going to do experiments on them unless (bad idea) the character(s) breaks into the facility and frees them.

Often, the bad idea forces the character to face their own fears or push through their own weaknesses. To get the most bang for your buck on this, it’s smart to set up the situation earlier in the story. A character is afraid of public speaking and always fumbles over words and thoughts when placed in that kind of situation, but the only way to achieve their goal later in the story is through (bad idea) public speaking.

Also, don’t be afraid to let the character’s bad idea lead to a bad result that they then have to overcome as well. Often, characters aren’t judged by their successes alone, but by their ability to keep picking themselves up from their failures.

So put a character in an impossible situation and guide them toward a bad idea.


Have you hit a wall on your work-in-progress? Maybe you know where you want your characters to end up, but don’t know how to get them there. Or, the story feels a little stale but you still believe in it. Adding a plot twist might be just the solution.

Click to continue.

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