Writing Dares: The 2015 Collection

Spice up your scenes with a dash of daring and find your muse challenged like never before. How? With the latest volume of the Writing Dare Collection.

We’ve all been there: the scene is guttering like a candle in the wind and now the entire story threatens to fade away before your eyes. Your writing has lost the spark that kept it alive, kept it absorbing and dynamic and fresh. You need to return that spark to it if you want the story and your interest in it to survive. But how?

Allow me to introduce the writing dare. It courts conflict. It’s unexpected. It’s different. And it’s what’s going to rekindle your sputtering scene.

What is a writing dare? It might be a line, a secret, a character, an animal, an event... The list goes on. Your challenge is to include as many or as few of them in your story as you want.

Interested? If so, then...


Take your character on a poorly timed trip to the seaside. A hurricane is approaching.

Give your protagonist an unexpected and unwanted haircut.

Have your characters visit a graveyard. While there, they see a headstone that stops them in their tracks.

Take a line from the last song you listened to and explore all the different meanings it could have.

Have a character receive an anonymous letter asking them to be at a bench an hour before sunset. What happens next?

Have a naive character eavesdrop on a conversation they don’t understand.

Work a groundskeeper and a ghost into your next scene.

Shuffle a playlist and take the names of the first 10 songs on the list. Begin each paragraph with one of the song names.

Embrace your character’s darker side. Have them make a decision that is morally dubious.

Have your protagonist wake up one morning with a strange tattoo they don't remember getting.

Have your character answer the phone. The person on the other end is someone they never expected.

Afflict a character with a bout of envy. What will it drive them to?

Pit your protagonist and antagonist against a common enemy. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, as they say...

Have your protagonist’s love interest take a bullet for them in the next scene.

Send your cast on a sea voyage—one that ends in tragedy.

Uproot your story and change the setting to somewhere on the other side of the world.

Have your character take a dip in the river, and not because they wanted a swim.

Take your most embarrassing moment and turn it into your protagonist’s defining moment.

Have your characters fall into a trap they themselves set.

Swap your protagonist’s and antagonist’s genders—but no other character’s. Does the story change at all?

Some of this year’s writing dares are taken straight from the Writember Workbook, my habit-building e-book for writers. Want to learn more? Pop on over to the Writember Workshop and learn how to put those words on the page today, tomorrow and all the days after.

The Writing Dare Archives
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