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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.

Talent Show

Your protagonist has been asked to showcase a little-known, unusual talent at a community fair's talent contest. Begin on stage and show not only the performer but also the crowd's reaction to this talent unveiling.

Put Your Characters Through The Wringer

Develop your characters by placing them in a situation where they are faced with a challenge. For conflict inspiration, look no further than these classic moral dilemmas (and, of course, analyze them from the perspective of your character). For an example of a moral dilemma, search "The Trolly Problem."

What A Character

Memorable characters are ones that mirror real people: their feelings, experiences, needs, and goals. Challenge yourself to get real with your character by first getting real with yourself. Grab a notebook and answer the following questions as they pertain to you:

  • What emotion do you struggle with because you feel it so deeply?
  • What type of situation makes you feel vulnerable or inadequate?
  • What past mistake causes you the most regret?
  • What core moral belief is so ingrained that you live it every day?
These questions require a deep look within and put us in touch with our authentic selves. This is what readers come to the page for, so answer these again, this time as your protagonist. When you finish, think about how you can incorporate some of these vulnerable moments into your story to show readers the deeper side of your character.

A Tall, Dark Stranger

Write a scene where your character is speaking to a complete stranger. Immediately after, write a scene where your character is speaking to a loved one. Notice how their behavior changes.