Character Development

#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.


Discuss this exercise

Feel inspired? Share your story below.

Similar Exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar creative writing exercises.

Character Development

Brainstorming Session

Put a timer on for 20 minutes. Spend the whole time jotting down ideas for a short story or novel. Don't worry if they're coherent – or even if they're spelled right. From character names …

Character Development

In The Eye of the Beholder

Our individual perspectives define what we first notice about a person's physical appearance. How do your characters see those around them? Describe one character's physical appearance from the perspectives of three other characters. What does …

Character Development

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!

Character Development

The Story Swamp

Sometimes writers think up a character and jump straight into writing, without fully fleshing out the concept at a foundational level. This then means they falter and end up writing a very confused draft. I …

Character Development

A New Chapter

Pick up one of your favorite novels. Open it to a random page. Whatever chapter you land on, rewrite it your own way. Take it in a totally different direction than how it actually plays …

Character Development

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 …