Recently I did a list of writing prompts to help writers embarrass their characters in their fiction. People seemed to like it a lot, so I thought I’d do a similar one to annoy (or even seriously anger) your characters!
Most of these are more along the lines of pet peeves, and some could be used for the sake of humor, but a few of them could provide a major conflict in the plot of a short story or novel. And if any of them spur a memory, they could be fodder for a personal narrative essay, blog post, or memoir, too.
If you know you want a character to dislike another character (such as in a “enemies to lovers” romance), but you can’t think of a reason why, these might help. They also might come in handy if you’re trying to figure out how to make a character more well-rounded.
- His coworker or neighbor keeps listening to awful music.
- At the casino, she played the slot machine for an hour before giving up. The next person sat down and got a huge jackpot on the first try.
- Someone who was caught breaking a rule, or the law, wasn’t properly punished.
- Someone stole or copied his creative work, research, or invention.
- Someone’s taking up two seats on public transit, so she has to stand.
- There are no parking spaces, and someone double-parked.
- Someone criticizes her cat, dog, or child.
- His pet, child, partner, or roommate wakes him up at night for the third time in a row.
- Her snack just got stuck in the vending machine.
- Someone he knows keeps talking about himself or herself, dominating the conversation.
- She’s wrongly accused of a misdeed, or even punished for it.
- The zipper of his coat gets stuck.
- She sees someone mistreating or threatening a vulnerable individual.
- He gets home from the store with several bags of groceries, but not the one item he went there to get.
- Someone cheats on her.
- Someone steals his wallet, computer, or car.
- There’s water on the bathroom floor and his socks get soaked.
- She’s asked her partner or child a hundred times to stop doing a particular thing. They’ve promised to stop. They’re still doing it.
- Someone eats food off his plate without asking.
- Someone makes a cruel joke or insensitive remark.
- Someone cuts ahead of her in line.
- Someone defaces his property or damages his vehicle.
- Someone interrupts her repeatedly.
- Someone asks him too many personal questions.
- A sick person coughs or sneezes on her.
Did this make you think of other things that might frustrate a character — or things that frustrate you? Let us know in the comments! And if you don’t want to miss future posts with writing prompts, follow the blog — you can sign up below. Thanks for stopping by, and happy writing!