The best character writing prompts
Characters are the heart and soul of every story, no matter how short. They're who your readers will fall in love with — and they're the ones who will move the plot of the book itself forward depending on their goals, desires, flaws, and fears.
When you’re struggling to find out the truth about one of your characters, try out some character writing prompts for size. These creative writing prompts focus on character writing — forcing you to think closely about your character in different situations that will hopefully help you with the character development for your novel. Whether you’re working on perfecting a character’s voice, backstory, or personality, these prompts will swoop in to save the day.
If you're looking to cut to the chase, here’s a list of top ten favorite character writing prompts:
- In the form of diary/ journal entries, write a story that glimpses into a person's life at different ages.
- Write a story about a character who always repeats themselves.
- Write a story about a character who starts out as a pessimist and ends as an optimist. (Or vice versa.)
- Write a story about someone who’s famous for something they never actually did.
- Write a story about two friends who have a knack for understanding each other better than anyone else.
- Write a story from the point of view of three different characters.
- Write about a character doing something they’ve done hundreds of times — only this time, it’s taken on a new meaning.
- Write about a character learning to trust their intuition.
- Write about a character who goes by many different names throughout their life.
- Write about a character with a ‘hot and cold’ personality — or is affected by someone like this.
If you'd like to learn more about how to improve your character development, check out our free resources on the topic:
- Character Development 101 (blog post) — Your characters are the emotional heartbeat of your story, especially if you're writing fiction. They'll make or break your success, which is why getting your character development right is important. Learn everything that you need to know about the process in this blog post, which will show you how to take your protagonist from zero to hero.
- Character Profile Template (free resource) — As an author, you are also the psychologist of your characters. This free character profile template will help you diagnose everything about your cast of characters, from their backstory to their motivations and the goals that drive them.
Ready to start writing? Check out Reedsy’s weekly short story contest for the chance of winning $250! You can also check out our list of writing contests or our directory of literary magazines for more opportunities to submit your story.