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Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fall Ill

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character get sick.

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, Release the Monster, here.

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Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fall Ill

For today's prompt, have one (or more) of your characters get sick. Let's face it: We're not all healthy all the time. Sometimes we come down with a mild cold or something much more dramatic. I think of the sickness and death in Wuthering Heights, but here's a list of other debilitating illnesses in literature.

Of course, your story will change dramatically if a major character falls ill and dies. But maybe they survive a major complication and have to overcome a chronic condition. Or perhaps, a character has to care for a person who has fallen ill or survived an illness. These would all lead to major twists in the plot.

(How to write about grief.)

However, your plot twists could be more subtle. A character tries to hide from a pursuer but has this pesky cough that threatens to reveal him or her. Or a character looks forward to a date that is suddenly canceled, because his or her date is sick (or are they?). Sometimes just getting the chills from a mild fever can up the stakes in a particular scene.

So let your characters get sick and figure out what that means for your story moving forward.

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short short story

We’re looking for short fiction stories! Think you can write a winning story in 1,500 words or less? Enter the 21st Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition for your chance to win $3,000 in cash, get published in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a paid trip to our ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference!

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