16 Story Ideas to Change The World

by Kellie McGann | 20 comments

I first decided to become a writer because I believe that stories have the power to change the world. So today, I want to give you sixteen story ideas for world changing writers.

short story ideas


Recently I've been working on a book that incorporates short stories in every chapter. The stories illustrate concepts that would otherwise be hard to understand. Some of them taught me to be brave, while others showed me how valuable risk is. Many of these stories have completely changed my life.

In our busy world, stories can have, for a small moment, our undivided attention—a rarity these days. How can we leverage those moments to change the world?

Stories Have Changed the World For Years

There are many names for short stories that illustrate lasting lessons including fables, parables, and anecdotes. These stories all have one intent: to teach a lesson that changes the reader, and in turn, the world.

The boy who cried wolf taught us not to lie, while the fox and the hare taught us to never give up. The story of King Midas taught us to be careful what we wished for, and the three little pigs showed us that hard work pays off.

We at The Write Practice are all about helping you become a better writer, so instead of telling you how great these world-changing stories are, we are going to challenge you to write some yourself. 

Short Story Ideas to Change the World

Ready to let your writing change the world? Here are sixteen short story ideas for world changers.

  1. Tell a story that makes your reader believe they are capable of more than they ever imagined.
  2.  A story that gives the reader renewed purpose after the death of a loved one.
  3. Create a story that illustrates the power of confidence.
  4. A story that teaches the difference between good and evil.
  5. Share a story that illustrates the consequences of lying.
  6.  A story that reminds your reader the value of joy and laughter.
  7. Tell a story that helps your reader make a hard decision.
  8. A story that makes your reader want to travel the world to find themselves.
  9. Build a story that drives your reader to help someone else.
  10. A story that gives someone the courage to express their true feelings towards another person.
  11. Create a story that drives your reader to forgive someone else or themselves.
  12. Share a story that illustrates the power of working together.
  13. A story that makes the reader take a risk they normally wouldn't.
  14. Tell a story that reminds your reader why pushing through a challenge is worth it.
  15. A story that makes your reader question the meaning of life.
  16. Create a story that teaches your reader the value of trust.

These stories can have people, animals, objects, or aliens in them. The message can be subtle or powerful. 

I believe you have the power to change lives around the world with your words. Do you?

Have you ever written a short story with the intent to change the world? Let us know in the comments. And if you haven't, why not start now?


Choose one of the prompts above. Take fifteen minutes and begin to develop your story. Post your practice or ideas in the Pro Practice Workshop here!

I can't wait to see how you convey these messages.

Happy world-changing!

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Kellie McGann is the founder of Write a Better Book. She partners with leaders to help tell their stories in book form.

On the weekends, she writes poetry and prose.

She contributes to The Write Practice every other Wednesday.


  1. Gary G Little

    No, not a story. But during the time I was a Southern Bpatist preacher, I did preach a sermon or two that I thought would save the world. Why? Because my logic was, of course so clear, and my elocution so compelling, that no one could dispute their need, their absolute desire to come to Jesus. Then I learned I was full of crap. But I also learned so was my denomination, and I decided to program computers for 40 years. And that was a great decision.

    Can I ever write a story that would change lives, or affect the world? Who knows? Would that have been my intent? Probably not. I suspect I would be writing about something that tickled me, or pissed me off, or intrigued me, and I managed to write about it close enough to the event that the thoughts were fresh, and full of the zest that comes with inspiration.

    • LaCresha Lawson

      Sounds like a good story.

  2. Annie

    At last, they had returned. I had been sitting in expectations, anticipations and the time of my doom had arrived. They had arrived. To smite me where I sat, in this worn down leather chair softened by years of holding my fear-ridden body. I had hoped to never face them again, but my hopes and dreams had always been fleeting. My breath came out in short, rugged spurts, my lungs struggling within my chest. No way to fight them, at least that’s what I thought.

    With their glowing eyes and bared teeth, the shadows of doubt crept into my room. They surrounded me and taunted me with their razor sharp words. No escape from the creeping creatures. No way out of the battle with my consciousness. Devoid of light, they inched closer, closer, closer. I stiffened in my chair, frozen in peril. The demons of my mind had arrived to strike me down. My mind put up walls, attempting to keep them out, but they came back, unrelenting. Self doubt clouded my judgement, fear blurried my vision. In a moment of enlightenment, I stood. I stood to face the beasts of my nightmares. I stood to face the creatures who wanted me dead. I stood up and I fought.

    • Christine

      Good story. I think to do this justice you’ll need to open up that moment of enlightenment. I take it as an “If I perish, I perish —but I’m going down fighting” sentiment. Just spell it out a bit more if you publish this someday.

    • Kellie McGann

      Love this!! Great job Annie!

  3. LaCresha Lawson

    I definitely have a story to tell. And, I hope that it will change someone’s life for the better and make them think differently.

    • Kellie McGann

      Love that thinking LaCresha! I can’t wait to hear your story.

  4. Sana Damani

    “A story that teaches the difference between good and evil.”

    I have been fascinated by this for a while, trying to come up with a plausible story where a person brought up to think that the “dark side” is correct, turns to the light.

    Assuming that the world is divided into the dark side and the light side with no shades of grey, and that each side thinks they’re the “good guys”, what would make someone switch sides?

    Here are the common reasons we’ve seen in popular stories:

    Switch to the dark side:
    1. fear that the dark side will win (Peter Pettigrew, Saruman)
    2. belief that the light side was unjust (Anakin Skywalker)
    3. love (Anakin Skywalker)
    4. thirst for power (Saruman, Lucius Malfoy)
    5. following orders (people under the imperius curse, the clones from star wars)

    Switch to the light side:
    1. love and regret (Severus Snape)
    2. parental love (Narcissa Malfoy, Darth Vader)
    3. fear that the light side will win (Draco Malfoy, all death eaters after Voldemort dies)
    4. friendship (Sirius Black)
    5. belief that the dark side was actually wrong (Finn from The Force Awakens)

    I’m trying to come up with a story where a person switches to the “light side” for ideological reasons rather than emotional ones like love or fear above.

    Finn’s case is the most interesting because he switches sides because of empathy, and the belief that what they were making him do was wrong. But if he were brought up to be a storm trooper, where would he get this sense of right and wrong from? Sirius Black’s story is similar, but at least he was exposed to different ideas in school.

    The thing is, to suggest that someone switches sides for moral reasons would imply that right and wrong are not relative. And that is the idea I’m struggling with in the story. In fact, how would one even know if they were on the “dark side”? I thought the Star Wars prequels (no matter how bad they were as films) explored that rather well.

    I hope someday I can complete this story and that it “changes the world” 🙂

    • hemantar

      Hi. I am impressed by the way you think. You have enlisted the probable motives and also given examples from existing fictional pieces. Great! I happen to lead a group of writers in Marathi (a regional language in India) and I would like to give this example to them about a writer’s productive thinking process. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kellie McGann

      It’s funny, I was actually watching Star Wars while writing some of these ideas. That’s definitely where I got the evil v. good. I love your thoughts here! Can’t wait to see the whole story!

  5. Christine

    These ideas are awesome! I did get inspired and wrote a tale, a modern rehashing of an old idea, incorporating #9 and #15.

    The main character is a husband and father who at times wishes he’d be free from the daily grind of life and family responsibilities. He’d like to spend all his time pursuing his hobby, which is sport fishing. One day the Heavens decide to grant him that wish, but with this stipulation: if he engages in any other activity than fishing, he’ll be terminated.

    He’s soon so sick of eating fish and he finds out what lonely and bored are all about. Then one day he sees a boat offshore in a rough sea. It capsizes and the passengers are dumped in the sea and calling for help. He’s shocked to see they are his wife and children, coming to find him. Now, will he abandon his fishing and try to rescue them, if it costs him his own life?

    Perhaps it’s a silly tale but it was fun watching it all play out. I just couldn’t keep it short enough to post here. It’ll be a good blog post. 🙂 But thanks for the prompt. I’ll try a different — and shorter— one another time.

    • Sana Damani

      Interesting story. Do share the link!

      Here’s how I see the plot playing out. The man pulls his wife and children out of the water and into the boat, saving their lives but breaking the rules. He is then pulled up to a Heavenly Courtroom, where they hear his case. He argues that he was only, after all, “fishing” his family out and that he didn’t really break the rules. He just happened to not catch fish that time. The judge, pleased with this reasoning, rules in his favor and he lives! Only to continue fishing forever after, because he’s still bound and we’re still trying to teach him to be careful what he wishes for.

      That got longer than I expected. I didn’t mean to hijack your story, just found it an interesting plot. I’d love to see how you actually resolve the conflict 🙂

    • Christine

      Wow! Interesting the direction you took with this. Love the “Just fishing (my family out), your Honor.”

      My ending is much more soppy — pardon the pun. 🙂

      Can’t complain about your hijacking. I borrowed the idea of being sentenced to fishing forever from a story I read years ago — but his tale involved three guys. They fished for hundreds of years, but finally tossed down their poles one by one and were zapped. I gave mine a different spin.

    • Christine

      I’ve posted the link above. 🙂

    • Sana Damani

      I’m afraid I cannot access the post. The link appears to be broken.

    • Christine

      Sorry about that. Without really thinking, I scheduled the post for 8am this morning. So it won’t appear for another ten minutes. When I realized others might be looking for it sooner, I tried to change this but my browser won’t take me there. Grrr…

    • Sana Damani

      Ah, no issues. I finally got to read it though!

      I like how you handled emotions in the story: you can really feel the protagonist’s guilt, fear, boredom and frustration as the plot moved along. Very nicely done.

      The images you created were also vivid, and made me feel like I was there (not that I know the first thing about fishing). I find that part hard to do when I’m writing.

    • Kellie McGann

      Christine, this sounds so fun! Do share!

  6. Raadika V. Bala

    Title: Valour….Courage….audacity…Fearlessness

    You may get confused seeing the title. Why so many words? Courageousness or bravery is essentially important for everyone of us.

    Today, I am going to share something witty.

    Once Bahadur, a college boy was browsing through the newspaper, when he came across an advertisement. The advertisement was given by Indian Parachute Regiment inviting young men to join them.

    When he reached college he came across the same advertisement stuck as posters in quite a few places and also near the gate. In the advertisement it was written ” Indian Parachute Regiment is not so far, all you need to do is to cross this road. Everything else would become easier after that. ”

    He started looking at the poster everyday. He would stand and stare at the poster for sometime, and walk inside the college. His college kept noticing his act for quite sometime. He was pretty confused. He wanted to Know the reason.

    He called “Come here, Bahadur.”

    Bahadur went and stood beside his professor.

    ” I noticed, you are staring at the advertisement often. Why don’t you join the team if you are so very interested?”

    ” Sir, I am quite interested. But the regiment is on the opposite side of this road and I am very scared to cross this road.”

    Today, many among us are like Bahadur. Though his name means brave-hearted and courageous, he doesn’t have a bit of that quality to his name.

    People may come and go in our life, but we need to be our own companion and should be brave enough to face this life.



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