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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

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.

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?

Newsworthy

Your protagonist has just made it into a New York Times headline. What does the headline say? Write down the reaction of your protagonist to hearing the news that day.

Less Talk, More Action

Try your hand at conveying your character through action by first writing a list of physical traits that apply to your character. Next, with that list at hand, write a scene where something is happening - whether it's a conversation, laundry-folding, cooking, etc. Weave references to your character's physicality into the action.

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.