A Writing Prompt from Amy Gustine, author of you should pity us instead

Each Friday we post one new writing prompt created by a Sarabande author. Prompts like this one are included in our online Reader's Guides along with discussion questions and suggested reading to accompany each title. So if you can't wait a week for the next prompt, visit our Reader's Guide page to find them all in one place!

This week's prompt comes from Amy Gustine, author of You Should Pity Us Instead.


Identify a job that suggests to you a problem and write a story about a character experiencing (and trying to solve) that problem. Choose a job in which the problem is not practical and easily solved, but rather ethical, psychological or cultural, and intractable. (e.g. a criminal defense attorney who is defending a guilty person). One way to identify jobs is to think about the “hidden” jobs behind news stories. When you read about the BP oil spill, imagine the person who might have been involved in designing or controlling the parts that failed and led to the spill. This exercise often involves research on jobs, which will give rise to all kinds of interesting plot and character possibilities.

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