Character Development


Your character’s story has been Disney-fied. At what point in the arc does your protagonist break out into song — and what is that song about?

Character Development


Second-person point of view is an intimate way of looking at a character’s thoughts. As an exercise, take a scene from the book you’re writing. Choose a character, and then re-write the scene entirely from a second-person POV, noticing what details shift because of this perspective change.

Character Development


Your protagonist has just made it into a New York Times headline. What does the headline say? Write down the reaction of your protagonist to hearing the news that day.

Character Development

Stranger Comes Knocking

There’s a saying: “Everyone is the hero of his or her own story.” For a 10-minute writing exercise, enter your book from another character’s eyes. Think about how differently that character would experience your plot and capture that in a short story.

Character Development

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.

Plot Development

Choose Your Adventure

In a "Choose Your Adventure" book, you are forced to make a decision at each and every plot point. The decisions you make will take you down diverging paths and dictate your eventual fate. Try this if you’re stuck on a plot development detail in your story. Sketch out the two different paths that a character can experience from one plot point, depending on what action he or she chooses to take.

Character Development

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

A talk show is scripted to promote the guest and discuss topics with which the guest is comfortable. Imagine your protagonist on the Ellen Degeneres Show (or The Late Show With Stephen Colbert — whichever show you’re familiar with). What questions would be asked of your protagonist? What funny anecdotes would your protagonist share? Write down the reactions of both your protagonist and the host.


Famous Lines

Dialogue isn’t exclusive: characters may say the same things, but mean something entirely different in the context of the scene. Pick one of the below famous lines from literature and film. Then start a scene by having a character say it. Develop the scene that follows in 500-600 words and see where it takes your characters.

  • “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
  • “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
  • “Made it, Ma! Top of the world!”
  • “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
  • “Oh, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars.”

Dialogue Only, Please!

Flex the writing muscles in your brain by writing a short story that ONLY uses dialogue. For an extra challenge, introduce and juggle more than 3 characters throughout the course of this story.


Guess Where?

Good worldbuilding is when the author can bring a place to life for the reader. Using your powers of description, describe (in 2-3 paragraphs) a place or setting with which you’re familiar. Then show your work to somebody who knows the spot and see if they are able to guess it through your words.