Respond to this exercise

Feel inspired? Share your story below.

Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

Stranger Comes Knocking

There's a saying: "Everyone is the hero of his or her own story." For a 10-minute writing exercise, enter your book from another character's eyes. Think about how differently that character would experience your plot and capture that in a short story.

But Why?

Keep asking your characters why. Here's an example:

  • Why are you grumpy? I have a hangover.
  • Why do you have a hangover? My friend was in a bad accident and I thought he might die?
  • Why did you think he might die? His girlfriend lied to me about how serious the accident was.
  • Why did she lie about that? She's jealous of our relationship.
  • Why? I think she's insecure and has trust issues.
Do you see how much that question will dig into a character?

The Sorting

Your protagonist's name is called. They approach the stool, where an old and tattered hat lies. They put on the hat. They will next hear one of four words called out: Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Slytherin, or Hufflepuff. Which one is it? Write down the reasons detailing why.

Shopping Trip

Looking for a writing exercise that gets you out of your chair? Decide what kind of store your main character likes to shop at. Go to that store and wander the aisles, looking for items your character would most be tempted to buy. Create a list of at least ten items, explaining why each caught your eye, and why you think your character would want the item. Bonus points for identifying your character's guilty pleasures and how she would justify buying those items.

Don't Look in the Mirror

It's impossible not to put some of yourself and your own life into your writing. But when you're writing about characters who you don't share much in common with, it can be tricky to authentically capture their "voice" and point of view. To develop this skill, fill out this character profile and base it on yourself. Then fill out a second one and make it as different from your own as possible.