If you’re looking for extra angst in your story, you’re in the right place.
Below we’ve included a list of 40 angst writing prompts for you to use.
Feel free to use as many of the prompts as you like.
These are all dialogue-based prompts, so combine several if they work for you.
Remember that these are just prompts and ideas. Your story will be unique to you, so feel free to edit or alter any of the prompts.
The word angst is now used in English but originates from the German word “angst,” which translates to ‘fear.’
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines angst as ‘a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity.’
Google’s Oxford Languages defines angst in more detail as ‘a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general.’
Typically, angst is an unfocused feeling, which means it’s not usually about something specific and immediate when one feels angst.
Instead, it’s a state of underlying anxiety that persists despite any prominent theme or cause.
It’s a feeling often experienced during early to late adolescence but can be experienced by all ages.
Feelings of angst and anxiety help writers flesh out characters.
A character’s level of angst and the words they use to express their feelings say a lot about them. As such, angst is a tool writers use in dialogue to show a character’s deeper state.
Check out the 40 angst-based prompts to help you flesh out your characters or even write a new story from scratch!
40 angst writing prompts
Here are examples that can reveal your story’s character to your readers:
I don’t believe you when you say you love me. It’s all a lie.
I wish we never met. I regret the day I’ve ever met you.
I hope you’re happy now with someone else.
What exactly do you want from me? Because I’ve been trying to figure it out, I just can’t.
I changed a lot for you, but now I see you’re not interested in making the same effort. So, bye.
How am I ever going to be the same after this?
Say something. Anything. Please don’t let me sit in this silence.
I stayed because I love you. Now I realize I should have left for the same reason.
I don’t know what to say anymore. I can’t talk about the pain of losing him.
You’ve hurt me one too many times.
How dare you tell me my feelings are wrong!
I hate that I love you.
I don’t want to hear your excuses. Why should I even bother?
I just can’t do this anymore.
I thought you were the only person for me. Now I see how foolish I was.
I wish life weren’t so complicated.
All I wanted was a kiss, but I ended up with a broken heart.
I miss you. No matter what I do, I just can’t forget about you.
Did I deserve all of this? I don’t think so, but nothing else makes sense!
This is the last time I’ll ever cry over you. I will now let go of us.
Honestly, I feel lost without you.
Every time I think about us, I feel worse.
I never knew love can be replaced with this excruciating pain the moment you left me.
I pictured the white picket fence. I pictured the kids in the yard, the winters with a cozy fire. I pictured a happy ending. Oh, how naïve I was.
I feel hurt and angry I really don’t know what to do about it.
I know that I’m pretty much dead to you, but I just want to say one more time that I’m truly sorry and I’ve missed you.
I can’t do this anymore. The lies and secrets are killing me.
Have you told my best friend yet?
I’ll wait for you. I will never let go.
Please tell me what you’re thinking. I can’t keep guessing.
I’ve never loved anyone this much, and it’s confusing me.
Please just tell me what you want.
Maybe you don’t want to hear this, but I must tell you. I love you, and I’ve loved you for a very long time.
Ever since I met you, I knew you would break my heart someday.
There’s a storm inside me, and it’s not passing. What am I supposed to do?
I can’t sit around and watch you destroy yourself. I’m leaving.
After the funeral, I didn’t feel anything. I was so numb that I thought I didn’t care.
People always told me that loss is just another part of life. I didn’t sign up for this, and I wasn’t ready, no matter how many people warned me.
All I want is to feel safe and happy. Is that too much to ask for?
I’m not afraid of you; I’m afraid of how hard I’m going to fall for you.
How to write angst
There are two main types of angst one can explore through writing.
The first is romantic angst, whereby a character experiences fear, uncertainty, and anxiety about their relationship with or feelings about another person.
The second type is emotional angst, whereby a character is not anxious about a relationship in particular but in general or about a life event or sense of existential dread.
When it comes to fleshing out a character and making it relatable to the reader, angst can be used as a theme in dialogue and monologue.
Angst-themed monologues allow characters to explore layers of their uncertainty and anxiety in a way that makes the reader understand them on a deeper level.
In dialogue cases, one character’s angst drives them to say things to other characters that help the latter understand what they’re going through. Perhaps a former lover can’t get over her ex, or a young girl faces unrequited feelings.
When writing angst, it’s important to avoid indulgence.
Typically, feelings of angst are confusing and unclear. As such, attempts to explain them can be complicated, not just for you, the writer but for your characters.
Remember your story as you write about a character’s angst through dialogue or monologue.
Too much detail about a character’s complicated feelings means the reader must take in a lot of information.
One may not recall the other parts of the story when tasked with taking it all in.
Hopefully, the angst-themed dialogue prompts included above have inspired you to start writing.
As mentioned earlier, angst is a great way to flesh out a character’s state but don’t rely on it too heavily.
Use it as a tool but don’t neglect other tools, other emotions, and other themes.
Readers appreciate some variety in themes, so balance angst with feelings like hope and confidence to enrich your story and offer the reader a rounded experience.