A Character Development Writing Exercise
Through Another Person's Eyes
Select a scene that involves 2-3 characters. Write a paragraph from the point of one character. Now write the same interaction from another character's point of view. For example: your paragraph could involve the point of view of a convenience store clerk contrasted with a customer's point of view of the same incident.
Respond to this exercise
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Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.
It's All About Your Point of View
Write a pivotal scene in your novel from a different character's POV. For instance: at a funeral, you may have written the grieving widow's thoughts and feelings. Write about that funeral from the deceased husband's POV, the eldest son's, or the step-sister's.
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:
- What does (or doesn't) s/he notice?
- 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.
- How do your character's impressions of, and responses to, the place differ from yours?
Gossip Around Town
How people perceive your character may be markedly different from who your character really is. Think about what the average stranger might think - or hear - of your character. What's the gossip around town concerning your character? Write down a scene in which your protagonist is forced to confront this gossip, and the consequences of that confrontation.
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.
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.