Winning has been all over the media the last couple of weeks. With the NCAA Championship Game last night on TV, and the biggest Mega Millions jackpot in history last Friday, all of the hype and focus is on “winning the big one.”

loser © by Joelk75

This brings up a lot of topics to consider as a writer. Competition is a basic form of conflict in fiction and in life. Everything we do is based on a test score. We take our very first tests at one and five minutes after our birth: the APGAR test, and it never stops from there. We are constantly tested, evaluated and scored throughout our lives. And the anxiety and turmoil that this causes is never ending fodder for the Muse.

So here are a few writing topics to consider based on the theme of competition:

  • Write about the times when you’ve felt like a winner.
  • Are you a good sport or a sore loser when you compete? Why?
  • Cheating — Why do people do it? Why does it matter?
  • Greed — A woman involved in a work lottery pool claims that she bought a winning ticket separately from the group and she has no plans to share the prize with her co-workers. This seems to happen quite often. Why is it so hard to share good fortune?
  • After the University of Kentucky won the NCAA Championship, there were huge riots in Lexington. Where over 40 fires were set and several people were injured, including a man who was shot. This also happens quite often. Why do you think riots happen after huge sports victories?
  • Pressure – Some people “choke” while others “thrive” under it. Write about a character who is under a lot of pressure. Show it through his/her actions and dialog. Or write about a time you were under a great deal of pressure.
  • Underdogs – Everyone loves a good underdog story. Whether it is Rocky or Rudy or the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey Team, we have a deep love of the one who doesn’t have much of a chance of winning or making the team. Write about an underdog you know.
  • Who or what brings out your competitive side? Why does it do this?
  • What would you do if you were a winner of the Mega-Millions jackpot?
  • How do you feel about the philosophy of “survival of the fittest?”
  • Write about taking tests.
  • Write about a time when you felt like a loser.


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