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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

The Truth Shall Set Your Characters Free

In order to dive deeper into your character's emotional depths, ask a round of questions - both probing and seemingly innocuous alike. (Hey, you never know when your character's favorite choice of ice cream topping might come in handy!) While we encourage you to build and refine your own set of questions, these questionnaires will provide solid inspiration for now: Arthur Aron's 36 Questions That Lead to Love, and The Proust Questionnaire.

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 go through your notebook, choose a name, and write a short character sketch based off that name. It's amazing how the names make the characters come to life and start moving the story in fun directions you never expected.

Reputations

Have each primary character free-write what they think about the other characters in the story. This will also deepen the secondary characters.

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?

Shopping Trip

Looking for a writing exercise that gets you out of your chair? Decide what kind of store your main character likes to shop at. Go to that store and wander the aisles, looking for items your character would most be tempted to buy. Create a list of at least ten items, explaining why each caught your eye, and why you think your character would want the item. Bonus points for identifying your character's guilty pleasures and how she would justify buying those items.