Character Development

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?


Discuss this exercise

Feel inspired? Share your story below.

Similar Exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar creative writing exercises.

Character Development

Any Questions?

There’s one powerful motivator that led your reader to your book — curiosity. Our brain doesn’t stop asking questions because it knows that’s how it learns and evolves. Questions raise uncertainty. Unknowns. And if there’s …

Character Development

3-2-1 Gone

Your protagonist opens a purse or a desk drawer and finds three objects. By the end of your piece there’s only one item left. What happens to the other two?

Character Development

#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 …

Character Development

Gossip Around Town

How people perceive your character may be markedly different from who your character really is. Think about what the average stranger might think — or hear — of your character. What’s the gossip around town …

Character Development

Jekyll and Hyde

Describe the same character twice. Once as the hero of a story and once as the antagonist.

Character Development

Brainstorming Session

Put a timer on for 20 minutes. Spend the whole time jotting down ideas for a short story or novel. Don't worry if they're coherent – or even if they're spelled right. From character names …