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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

Go The Other Way

Choose a random occupation, a random personality trait, and the trait's opposite. Now, outline a train of events that explains how a person of your chosen occupation changes from having the random trait to having its opposite. Let's take, for example: "martial arts teacher," "shy," and "confident." What would make a shy martial arts teacher change into a confident one?Care for a double challenge? Try plotting the opposite path, too: a confident martial arts teacher turns into a shy person. What would cause that? Experiment with unusual occupations and traits to challenge yourself. Find a collection of traits for download at the end of this article.

#TBT

Create a timeline of the significant moments of your character's life. Like many authors, you can use post-it notes or a big whiteboard to visualize your character's life. You can easily move or add events until you feel your character has a well-developed history. After you've finished the timeline, distill it into the top 5-10 moments that have shaped your character. For instance, if loss is a thematically important part of your book, perhaps a significant part of your character's past is when they lost a grandparent as a child.

Do The Unexpected

Humans are highly resistant to change - for a character to believably undergo a personal journey that substantially alters them, something HUGE and specific must happen to them. This event doesn't have to happen in your story, but once you can identify your character's limits, you can determine what is required to create a potential change in their fundamental nature.For this exercise, determine what this catalyst for change might be by considering situations or attributes that feel counterintuitive. For instance, if your character is a Good Samaritan, it is unlikely they would commit a crime. What would have to be at stake for this unlikely situation to happen - and for a core part of your character to change?

The Truth Shall Set Your Characters Free

In order to dive deeper into your character's emotional depths, ask a round of questions - both probing and seemingly innocuous alike. (Hey, you never know when your character's favorite choice of ice cream topping might come in handy!) While we encourage you to build and refine your own set of questions, these questionnaires will provide solid inspiration for now: Arthur Aron's 36 Questions That Lead to Love, and The Proust Questionnaire.

Letter to My Younger Self

Your protagonist sits down at a desk and begins penning a letter to his or her younger self. What would they tell their past selves? What regrets do they voice? What lessons have they learned? How have they changed? Write this imagined note yourself, in your protagonist's voice.