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Desperate Times Call for
Desperate Measures

As some of you following me might know, this has been a difficult week for me financially. The loss of a steady freelance gig has caused a bit of a scramble for work and has made me consider a lot of options. Things appear to be settling down with some new work opportunities, but I thought I'd take the last bit of anxiety from my experience and turn it into some writing prompts! Enjoy. 

Creative Writing Prompts: Desperation

1. Without warning and with all of your bills coming due, your boss has fired you with no possibility of a severance package. What will you do to ensure that you can meet all your upcoming obligations? Who will you reach out to for help and why?

2. It was supposed to be a one-hour pleasure cruise and the highlight of your honeymoon. Instead, a storm has blown you out to sea and shorted out your motor. How will you and your partner get back to shore? What steps might you take to ensure the panic doesn't seriously damage your shiny, new marriage?

3. When the news report came on about the escaped maniac, you changed the channel before you could get all the details. Moments later, a ring at the doorbell has you wishing you'd paid more attention. Do you check to see who's at the door? Why or why not? If it is the maniac, what will be your next steps and why?

4. After the breakup, you vowed to go to prom anyway, but with just a week left, the pickings for a date sure are slim. Describe the half-dozen sorry candidates on your list and how you narrow down your decision to Mr. or Ms. Right. 

5. With all your friends and family in the stands, you have the unenviable task of getting your football team six points with only three seconds left on the clock. As you drop back to pass to heave the ball into the end zone for a Hail Mary throw, what are some of the things that go through your mind? How might your life change if you're successful at this desperation heave?

6. You convinced yourself that it was just a little white lie. Three months later, you've obtained your dream job, but people are starting to get suspicious about your true credentials. Now the boss has called you in for a private meeting. What do the two of you say to one another and why? Will you continue to lie to save your skin? Why or why not?

7. When your doctor told you about the cancer, you said you'd be willing to try anything. The clinical trial started working immediately but with a strange side effect. You no longer cared about the people closest to you. Will you stop taking the drug and risk death or continue to take it and hope you to find a way to overcome this strange effect? Why would you choose this decision?

8. You tried to read the mystery man's face as he pointed a gun toward your chest. He screamed and cursed and said he'd kill you if you don't give him the money he needs. What do you do next? How might your feelings for the man change several days after the incident?

9. The smoke filled your nostrils as you broke the window to the outside. The heat from the fire is creeping closer and closer, and your only hope may be to jump three stories down and pray. Describe the next few minutes and the decisions you make. What's the end result and why?

10. You told yourself there weren't any other options; the other players were getting stronger and faster than you could ever hope to be. A new drug, an undetectable steroid, made you the top player in the league overnight. Three years later, you're an icon for the sport, but your conscience is starting to get to you. Will you continue to live the lie? Why or why not?


Thanks everybody for reading. I'd love it if you wrote a short piece from one of these prompts in the comments. If you don't have the time for that, feel free to let me know if you think these are up to snuff. 

Happy writing! 

Done with Desperate Times? Go back to Creative Writing Prompts. 



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Written by Bryan Cohen

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 and Facebook.

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