Developing a new character can be tricky. Apart from asking questions to learn more about who a character is, I can’t say that I have a standard way in which I create one.
Sometimes, characters come to me with a look, personality, and name. All I have to do is insert them into a story. Other times, I’ll be writing a story and realize that I have a “role” that needs to be filled in order for the story to succeed. When this happens, I usually have the personality and maybe even the backstory of the character in mind. I just have to choose a name and look for the character.
Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to create a character based off of a random name.
- Go to an online name generator. (If you want, you may specify gender, but let the computer decide everything else.)
- Create a character for the name you are given: backstory, personality, home life, family relationships, profession, the culture in which he/she lives, his/her role in society, his/her beliefs (religious, political, etc.), and anything else you can think of.
When you’re done, ask yourself whether or not your new character could fit into a story you’re already writing or if he/she is the inspiration you needed for a new story.
*Special thanks to my friend, Taylor Bresslin, for having me do this character creating exercise at one of our writers’ group’s meetings.
Reading was a huge part of my childhood. Some of my best memories are of my parents reading to me. When I was six and got lost at Disney Land, I knew what to do because of a Sesame Street picture book that my mom had read to me.
Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to create a new story based off of your favorite picture book from childhood. Do one of the following:
- Re-write the picture book as a story for adults.
- Take the moral or theme of the picture book, and write a different children’s story with the same moral or theme.
- Why was that picture book your favorite? Identify element that made the book special for you. Then, write a story that contains that element, but otherwise is unrelated to that picture book.
I love words! Word choice is crucial to my enjoyment of a song, movie, or book. The perfect words and references make the experience rapturous while poorly chosen ones make it painful.
Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to build a story using one or more words as your foundation.
- Go to merriamwebster.com and write a story using the word of the day. The word of the day can be used in your story or be the theme of your story.
- For something even more challenging, go to merriamwebster.com 5-7 days in a row and use all 5-7 words in your story. Make sure there’s a plot!
*Remember, this is a writing exercise. If you like the story and the words don’t work, cut them during the revision phase. (Considering I’ve never edited something just once, I should probably say “phases.”)
What is comedy besides a light-hearted portrayal of errors, deception, and miscommunications?
Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to take something bad that happened to you and use it as the basis for your comedic story.
Remember, a story needs a plot. What was your protagonist trying to accomplish when this misfortune befell him/her? How did your protagonist adapt his/her plans? Feel free to add on multiple mishaps and disasters.
Also, remember that comedies usually end well, or at least ironically; otherwise, it’s just tragic to have someone be that unlucky.
Hello everyone and happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to create a comedic or tragic holiday mix-up.
What would happen if Santa Claus slept through Christmas and tried to deliver the gifts on New Year’s Eve instead? Do the Tooth Fairy and leprechauns have it in for one another? Your imagination is your only limitation.
Whatever you do, you must include at least two holidays and/or holiday characters in your story.
Have you ever heard the expression, “You can tell a lot about a woman by the contents of her purse?” If you look at what someone carries with them or how they decorate their home, you get an idea about their likes, interests, habits, etc.
Try to describe yourself through things. Go through your house and choose eight objects that represent you as a person. You only get to use eight items to portray yourself, so make each one count. See if you can hint at more than one thing about yourself through your selections. (This skill comes in handy with word choice as well.)
Now that you’ve created your own object character bio, ask someone to choose eight items at random. Your challenge for the next two weeks is to create a character based off of the eight things you were given. If this does not resonate with you or if you finish early, you can also try to write a short story that contains all eight objects in a logical way.
What were you able to infer about me from the eight objects I shared? I’d love to find out! Feel free to post your inferences in the comments section below.
Anyone who knows me is aware that I love theaters, both cinematic and stage. Sometimes, while watching a movie or a performance, a line or concept will stand out to me. If I tap into my writer side, I will notice that two storytelling possibilities are presenting themselves:
- Take the idea behind the line and use it as the theme for a story.
- Use the line as the springboard for a character. Write the line into that character’s dialogue and let the tone of that line guide a scene or the character’s personality through the story. (If you choose this option, be sure to go back later and change the line so there is not a copyright infringement.) Remember, with this option, you are using the words of the line, but you can change the tone, situation, and body language. For example, “Why so serious?” from The Dark Knight (2008) could be asked innocently or flirtatiously.
Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to select one of the well-known, and in some cases abused, movie lines below. Then, write a short story using the line in one of the methods described above.
- “There’s no place like home.” – The Wizard of Oz (1939)
- “Just a flesh wound.” – Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
- “No. I am your father.” – Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?” – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
- “Go ahead, make my day.” – Sudden Impact (1983)
- “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” – Dirty Dancing (1987)
- “You can’t handle the truth!” – A Few Good Men (1992)
- “Houston, we have a problem.” – Apollo 13 (1995)
- “Show me the money.” – Jerry Maguire (1996)
- “You make me want to be a better man.” – As Good As It Gets (1997)