You shouldn't leave these character writing prompts alone, since things between these rivals can get a little bit testy. Some of the best stories are formed from rivalries in many different levels of the world. There could be a rivalry in school, in a club, at the workplace and even in the home itself. Rivalries typically pit a protagonist against an equal that tends to be working for opposite side of either good or evil. Some rivalries have played on this quite literally with characters like Evil Superman, Evil Hercules, etc. Some rivals are a bit stranger, such as Max Fischer's rival Herman Blume in the movie Rushmore. Rivalries often perpetuate the action in a story, so it's best to make sure the rival you include is well-developed.
Free Character Writing Prompts #72: Rivals
1. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how suave you looked, he would always be the one to get the girl. You'd been "best friends" for nearly your entire life, much to your chagrin. You were too timid to break off a friendship, especially with someone so well-regarded. But every time you had a crush on someone, he would quickly say that he did as well, before snatching up the girl as his very own. You couldn't wait until college when you would go far away and leave his shadow. The only problem, he just told you that he was going to the same school as you. Will this rival of yours follow you around the rest of your life and why does he do what he does?
2. When you first went to college, you were more than excited to find out that your dorm had a ping pong table. After all, you'd been the champion out of a group of friends who were all quite good at the sport. That was until you met the foreigner who had been the captain of his high school's ping pong team. You couldn't believe how strong and fast he was at this sport that had never passed the point of a hobby for you. No matter how hard you tried, he always countered your slams and his chances of making an error were extremely low. Outside of the games he seemed kind and a pretty cool guy. Inside the games, however, there was nobody you hated more. How will you describe this rival to your friends when relating the story after college?
3. She was beautiful, relatively intelligent and overwhelmingly popular. You felt that even though there was little to no chance for you, you wanted to go up against her for the position of student body president. She felt like she was a shoe in and assumed she would be running unopposed. She came up to you and told you that a war was brewing, a war that you would lose. You were simply interested in student government and you wanted to be a greater part of it. She was interested in winning at all costs and began launching an all-out smear campaign against you. You had no idea what her issue was, after all, she was probably going to win anyway. Making your life a living hell just made you want to get even. What are some of the ways in which this queen bee creates a campaign to smear your good name?
4. She had been your best friend through thick and thin. But when the two of you both had the hots for the same guy, there was a major conflict that the two of you couldn't get over. You went from speed-dial to enemies within about a week and began attempting to sabotage each others chances. Your friend even got to the point of slashing your tires when you secured a date with the dreamboat. You couldn't believe that you once hung out with the same girl who was pulling such dastardly tricks on you. When the guy eventually fell for someone else, you wondered if you'd ever be able to think of her the same way again. Will your friendship with this former rival be salvageable?
5. Despite the fact that you were a hard worker and devoted most of your life to your job, he always seemed to be one step ahead of you. Even though you were hired at the same time, he got a promotion before you. He was under-qualified for his added responsibilities and he seemed to show up to every meeting unprepared. While you were picking up his slack, he used his charm to weasel his way out of situations that other people would be embarrassed in. You had no idea what else you could do to get a leg up on him. You already came off as smart and harder working but he was always in first. What are some of this rival's qualities that make him so revered at the office?
6. You were one of the morning warriors, getting to the gym each day before the sun came up. You were happy to be the strongest person pound-for-pound in the place and the other warriors marveled at your small stature and large capacity. That is, until he came along. He was like some kind of superhero or something. He weighed 20 pounds less than you and looked like a strong gust of wind would blow him over. Despite his size, he was able to lift more weight than you in almost every exercise. Your title of strongest small guy went out the window and you desperately wanted it back. How will you face the challenge of this small, but powerful rival?
7. One of the things you didn't get about her is that she was completely off the map popularity-wise when you all left school for the summer. When you all came back, she went all "Sabrina" on you and had completely transformed into a popularity force to be reckoned with. All of a sudden, you were no longer the queen bee, you were no longer the girl people looked to for the next trend. It was her. She went from nerdy nobody who had once been the subject of embarrassing nicknames to someone everybody wanted to be around. And she was totally nice about it, which really made you fume. It was like she didn't know why you were mad at her. How did this girl go from zero to hero over the summer?
8. You loved your students more than anything and their respect and admiration were important to you. This is one of the reasons why you hated the new math teacher. She was barely competent enough to lead study hall, let alone 10th grade geometry. She had a brash method of instruction that used real world examples that only vaguely connected to the subject material. She also gave out insulting nicknames and candy to the kids. Now your students couldn't stop talking about her. It's not like they had talked about you in high terms before, but you had always wished they would. What are some of the other qualities of the new teacher in town?
9. You were content being a house husband because you were the most amazing dad on the block. You participated as a coach or a chairperson for almost every activity. Your kids loved you and you seemed to have it all. When your neighbor left his job, however, he threw himself as wholeheartedly into every activity as you did. Before you knew it, the two of you were competing to be the baseball coach, the head of the PTA and the carpool driver. You were even beginning to expect that he was playing dirty, saying disparaging remarks about you behind your back. You had no ill will toward him, until it seemed that his kid punched your kid because of a misunderstood insult. This meant war. What has caused this fellow house dad to challenge your status as coolest dad?
10. When your husband got remarried, you mostly hoped that his new wife would be good to your children so that the transition after the divorce would be as smooth as possible. Deep down though, you really wanted her to be a complete shrew so that your kids would want to come running home to their biological mommy. Fortunately and unfortunately, she was a real class act and as a result, your kids were frequently talking about how great she was. You did your best to up the ante with gifts, better cooking and an attempt to find a new high-paying job. She outdid you in every possible facet and lavished them with both toys and attention. What will you have to do to win their affection back from this new mother?
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.