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.

Dialogue

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

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.

Setting

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.

Writer's Block

Stream of Consciousness

Sometimes in order to get over writer’s block, you simply need to put word down after word. Keeping this in mind, set the timer to 15 minutes. Start writing whatever comes to your mind until time’s up. Then do it again — but, this time, write stream-of-consciousness from the perspective of your protagonist.

Writer's Block

Mad Libs

Close your eyes and write down four adjectives at random. Now write down three nouns. Now write down two verbs. Now write down one adverb. Now open your eyes. Your challenge is to write a 500-word short story based off of these ten words.

Writer's Block

The Food Critic

Write a review of a restaurant at which you recently ate. Describe the food as much as you can. Feel free to be eviscerating as well.

Character Development

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.

Dialogue

The Impersonator II

This is Part II of an exercise that practices voice. Pick up a book written by an author that you admire. Now try writing a page of their story, but in your own voice.

Dialogue

The Impersonator

This is Part I of an exercise that practices voice. Pick up a book written by an author that you admire. Absorb the voice in which they write. Now try writing a page of your own story, but in their voice.