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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

The Name Game

Here is your challenge: for the next week, collect fun names. I've collected them for years in a little notebook - from obituaries, news stories, random lists, and spam. Spam is great for funny names.Then go through your notebook, choose a name, and write a short character sketch based off that name. It's amazing how the names make the characters come to life and start moving the story in fun directions you never expected.

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 Funny Drive Prompt

"Patience is something you admire in the driver behind, but not in one ahead" _ Bill McGlashen. Your protagonist is one or the other. Pick one, and roll with it. Go!

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 concerning your character? Write down a scene in which your protagonist is forced to confront this gossip, and the consequences of that confrontation.

Write a Letter

If you're struggling with one of you characters, try writing a letter as your current character to their older or younger self. Think of what they might want to tell their past or future self, this might help you pinpoint what's important to your character.