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Put Your Characters Through The Wringer

Develop your characters by placing them in a situation where they are faced with a challenge. For conflict inspiration, look no further than these classic moral dilemmas (and, of course, analyze them from the perspective of your character). For an example of a moral dilemma, search "The Trolly Problem."

The Dinner Party

Who are the three most unlikely people your protagonist would have dinner with? Why? Write the scene.

An Outsider

The next time you're about to write a long passage of dialogue, show it from the perspective of a stranger watching your characters from afar. The stranger cannot hear what is being said; he can only observe their behaviors, appearances, and actions. You'd be surprised how much you can deduce about two people from just their body language.

Pick-Up Line

Cheesy pick-up lines are the worst...but sometimes (when they work), they're the best conversation starters out there. Pick one of the pick-up lines from below and write down a conversation that you can imagine following afterward.

  • "Your smile is like Expelliarmus. Simple but disarming."
  • "Did it hurt? When you fell from heaven?"
  • "Are you a parking ticket? You've got fine written all over you."
  • "Are you from Tennessee? Because your the only ten I see."
  • "If I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put U and I together."

"Blue"

You are talking to a blind man who asks you to describe the color of the sky. Write down what you would tell this man without once using the word "blue" in your explanation.

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.

3-2-1 Gone

Your protagonist opens a purse or a desk drawer and finds three objects. By the end of your piece there's only one item left. What happens to the other two?