Plot Twist Story Prompts: Jurisdiction Battle

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Plot twist story prompts aren’t meant for the beginning or the end of stories. Rather, they’re for forcing big and small turns in the anticipated trajectory of a story. This is to make it more interesting for the readers and writers alike.

Each week, I’ll provide a new prompt to help twist your story. Find last week’s prompt, Weakness Becomes Strength, here.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Jurisdiction Battle

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Jurisdiction Battle

For today’s prompt, have your characters get caught in a battle over jurisdiction. As an example, you could have state law enforcement get in a turf battle with city law enforcement over pursuing a criminal. Or it could be military officials trying to overrule elected officials. Of course, don’t forget other types of jurisdiction, including teacher vs. principal, parent vs. grandparent, or coach vs. teacher (vs. parent).

(5 Ways to Increase Conflict in a Story.)

Now it’s possible that your protagonists and antagonists are the people directly involved in these sort of turf battles. In such stories, the battles may be over land, wealth, and/or power. Or even the pursuit of love, though it should be noted that treating love like a jurisdiction battle is usually a damaged sort of love.

However, your main characters may not be the ones directly fighting these jurisdiction battles. Here’s a scenario: Your protagonist is caught somewhere they shouldn’t be by a teacher who always seems to have it out for them. It appears they’re about to be severely punished when in walks the sympathetic principal who lets the protagonist off the hook with a warning or much lighter punishment. Of course, this could also be flipped the other way (sympathetic teacher overruled by harsh principal).

In these plot twists, you can build the drama and suspense for your protagonist while also developing the world and other characters, including their motivations and intentions. It’s easy to see why jurisdiction battles are a favorite plot device for many authors in a variety of stories.

So have characters get caught in a battle over jurisdiction and see what happens next.


40 Plot Twist Prompts for Writers: Writing Ideas for Bending Your Stories in New Directions, by Robert Lee Brewer

Have you hit a wall on your work-in-progress? Maybe you know where you want your characters to end up, but don’t know how to get them there. Or, the story feels a little stale but you still believe in it. Adding a plot twist might be just the solution.

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