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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.

Charity

Your protagonist has just been bequeathed $5 million dollars. The money came from an anonymous benefactor who wants your protagonist to donate all of it to five charities. How does your protagonist react? In a short story, write down what would happen next.

Letter to My Younger Self

Your protagonist sits down at a desk and begins penning a letter to his or her younger self. What would they tell their past selves? What regrets do they voice? What lessons have they learned? How have they changed? Write this imagined note yourself, in your protagonist's voice.

In Case of Fire

Moments of crises force characters to act without thinking, revealing things that might not have been previously obvious. Now imagine that there has been a blazing fire in your protagonist's house. What are the three things that your protagonist would unthinkingly grab as he or she breaks for the door? In 500-1,000 words, put this scene and its aftermath down on paper.

Two Kinds of People

"There are two types of people: those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. People who walk the walk sometimes talk the talk but most times they don't talk at all, 'cause they walkin'. Now, people who talk the talk, when it comes time for them to walk the walk, you know what they do? They talk people like me into walkin' for them," said Key in the 2005 film Hustle and Flow. Which of these two types are your characters? Write down an exchange between two of your characters that confronts this very difference between them.