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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

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.

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.

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?

Personality Quiz

There are those who believe that there is a science to personality. Out of this belief developed some popular personality tests that are designed to help people learn more about their strengths and weaknesses. The biggest ones include: Myers Briggs, The Big Five, and the Enneagram Test.Try taking each of the above tests, but here's the twist: take them as if you were your character. Does it match up to what you had in mind? Do the results reveal anything new or surprising about your character's traits?

Somewhere Familiar

Are you finding it difficult to get to know your fictional characters and/or differentiate them from yourself? Try this: Choose a character from your project and let her/him take a walk into a place you know well. Then describe this place from this character's perspective and ask yourself:

  1. What does (or doesn't) s/he notice?
  2. How does s/he feel about what she notices?What thoughts do the things s/he notices trigger in her/him? This can be memories, social critique, enjoyment or disgust etc.
  3. How do your character's impressions of, and responses to, the place differ from yours?