Character Prompts

  • The “What’s for dinner?” character writing prompt
    Write a scene of your character deciding what she wants to eat for dinner on a Friday night.
    Some ideas to explore: What’s your character’s favorite food? Would they eat at McDonald’s? Will they eat anything or are they super picky?
  • Perfection is boring.
    What’s your character’s biggest flaw? And how does that flaw drive the action of the story?
  • Actions speak louder than words.
    Write a scene in which one or more characters don’t speak and instead convey their thoughts and desires through their body language and action.
  • What’s your superhero power?
    Each of us has a superhero power. What’s your characters superhero power? How does it impact their life?
  • What’s the truth?
    You open up the paper to see your photo on the front page. Not big but on the front page nonetheless. The headline of that article? “Lies, lies, it’s all lies.” How did this happen? You can mix this one up by writing it from the point of view of one of your characters, too.
  • Uncovering the Hidden Character writing prompt
    It’s easy to forget our narrators are characters in our books as much as any other. Do you know your narrator? Is s/he/they reliable? What does s/he/they want?
  • Write the most frightening experience of your narrator’s life.
    This might be part of your book or story; it might not. The goal of this prompt is to get to know your narrator and how their voice impacts the telling of your story.
  • Is it a memoir or is it fiction?
    Whether you’re writing based on your journal or writing a memoir, you’ll bump against the line between truth and fiction. Will you tell the whole truth? Will you cut parts to obscure reality?
  • Create a character based on a secret about someone you know and write a scene. What parts of the character reflect reality? Is the person identifiable? What real life will you keep? What will you cut in order to tell your story?
  • Paint a picture with a thousand words
    Choose two characters. There’s a conflict between them. Write a scene using only dialogue to show the details of the conflict, what the characters look like and who they are.

Along the way, you may find yourself thinking,

“What will people think about this when it’s published?”

Ignore it. Keep writing.