Writing Prompt: Personal Apocalypse

Written by Emily Harstone | September 19, 2013

Everyone seems to be thinking about the end times these days.  Apocalyptic and post apocalyptic novels are frequently featured on best sellers lists. Many authors have found new and inventive ways of destroying the world and bringing about a new era.

However one of the challenges many authors face in creating these new worlds, is the description of how the old era ended and the new one began. Sometimes they just get too caught up in describing how earth is ending that you don’t feel any emotions about the destruction.

This prompt is a very simple one. Imagine that the earth or humanity as we know it is being destroyed. This destruction can be caused by a tried and true method like global warming or zombies, or it can be in an inventive and creative way, for example, city sized sink holes.

The way the earth is changed or destroyed is not that important. You don’t even need to decide on any one method, you can even just have a general idea of how the earth is different, not knowing what made it different.

In this exercise we are not focused on the way the earth is destroyed, but rather on how it effects the main character of your story. You are to write a first person narrative from the point of view of someone who is enduring the apocalyptic, or surviving in a post apocalyptic world.

Give yourself around 30 minutes to write about a particular day or event in this character’s life. Focus on how they are reacting to the events around them. Are they astonished by the destruction of earth, or have they just grown accustomed to it? How do they eat? Where do they sleep?

This exercise is a lot of fun because it stretches creative muscles. It also helps you create a character on the spot. A character that has survived an apocalypse is probably a little different than one that can pick up take-out at the mall.