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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

#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.

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!

Put Yourself In Someone Else's Shoes

Choose a character and think of ways they'd react to things that happened during your (the writer's) day. Use your experiences, think how you reacted, and then how your character would have reacted. Possible events: cut off in traffic, caught in the rain, missed an important meeting, lost a valuable item.

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.

The Gatsby Method

Establishing how your character is perceived by others is a great way to give them greater context. It can provide the author with expectations to subvert for the reader and add an interesting mystique to the character. To give the Gatsby Method a go, write a scene in which your character is only present through the candid descriptions of him/her by others.