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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

Letter to My Younger Self

Your protagonist sits down at a desk and begins penning a letter to his or her younger self. What would they tell their past selves? What regrets do they voice? What lessons have they learned? How have they changed? Write this imagined note yourself, in your protagonist's voice.

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.

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.

Reputations

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

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?