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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

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?

Do The Unexpected

Humans are highly resistant to change - for a character to believably undergo a personal journey that substantially alters them, something HUGE and specific must happen to them. This event doesn't have to happen in your story, but once you can identify your character's limits, you can determine what is required to create a potential change in their fundamental nature.For this exercise, determine what this catalyst for change might be by considering situations or attributes that feel counterintuitive. For instance, if your character is a Good Samaritan, it is unlikely they would commit a crime. What would have to be at stake for this unlikely situation to happen - and for a core part of your character to change?

The Best Day Ever

Take your main character and describe the best day he/she has ever had. This is a prompt that will generate questions like, "Why did the character think that was their best day?"

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.

The Dinner Party

Who are the three most unlikely people your protagonist would have dinner with? Why? Write the scene.