Writing Prompt: Secret Room

Written by Emily Harstone | January 2, 2014

Imagine a house. It can be based on one you know well, or one you like from another book. But you should feel pretty comfortable with this house, even if parts of it are fictional. You should know how well maintained the house is, how big it is, and the architectural style it leans towards. Take as much time as you want to imagine the house.

Once you have imagined this house, place a character in this house. It can be a favorite character from your own book, or from another writer’s book. It can be a brand new character or one based loosely on yourself or a friend. Whoever this character is, they should be living at or staying in the house. It is some place they are not monitored in.

In this house your character will find a secret room. The location and the contents of the room are up to you. You get to decide if these contents are notable, or perhaps the location is the problem (particularly if it seems like someone might have been staying there!). There are a lot of angles to explore in this prompt, so try to let your imagination go wild.

The main point of this prompt is to focus on exploring how a character reacts to an unexpected situation. It also allows you to have a compact plot built into the prompt, one that is very flexible. I really enjoy exploring ideas like this with different characters, it really helps me learn more about the character.