Scene Prompt #31: Ghosts

Is your character haunted?

I mean metaphorically, but literally works too. They could be haunted by a person, past or present. Or an event past or present. Or a regret, something that didn’t happen that they wish had happened.

This prompt might seem similar to The Secret, but it doesn’t have to be. This character-haunting thing could be someone or something everyone else in the story already knows about–an open secret or a non-secret. It could be considered a community fact. And maybe everyone is aware that the character is haunted by this thing, and he can deny it or not. Or maybe he appears unhaunted and therefore isn’t taunted by his fellow characters. Maybe everyone assumes the character is over it. And perhaps he did get over it a long time ago, for the most part . . . but then something triggers him to remember and, perhaps question, doubt, wonder (I don’t know) . . . and that crack allows for the thing to become a haunting, an obsession.

What haunts your character?

What might happen in the story to either reignite or fan the flame of this haunting? This doesn’t have to be some big thing. It could be just a line of dialogue or an item the character sees or a place, literal or metaphorical, that they find themselves in again.

How might you incorporate this happening into your story’s inciting incident?

Write the scene.

Book that inspired this prompt


That’s it for me!

What about you? What kinds of things do you consider when developing your characters? Tell us in the comments!

If you found this post helpful, please . . .

1. Like it and share it! There are share buttons below . . .

2. Subscribe to the Blog to receive the Tools in your inbox as soon as they post:

3. Subscribe to the Newsletter. It’s a monthly-to-quarterly-ish (that’s still vastly overstating it) newsletter to share news and free worksheets and whatnot. Your welcome email will include the 19-page Character Development Workbook. You can subscribe here.

4. And if you found it particularly helpful . . .

Buy Me a Coffee at

Also, people have been hiring me to review their loglines with the kind of analysis seen here and here, and I’m enjoying it. So, if you think your logline (or something else!) might benefit from a looksie and want to hire me to review it, email me at writeswithtools @ gmail dot com.


So... whadaya think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s