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

Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” So began Seth Grahame-Smith’s book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which (you guessed it) re-imagined …

Character Development

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 …

Character Development

A Whole Week

Describe each day of the week as if it were a person. Give each one personality traits, a job, and a goal. Write a short story about them.

Character Development

Clue Hunt

The best way to learn is by reading, so pick up a book that had a plot twist that surprised you and yet felt right. Look for subtle foreshadowing in it. Start at the beginning …

Character Development

The Food Critic

Write a review of a restaurant at which you recently ate. Describe the food as much as you can. Feel free to be eviscerating as well.

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!