Tag Archive | creating characters

Creative Writing Prompt: Writing Your Character’s History

In this writing prompt we are going to use this gentleman I found over at Morguefile.

As you create your characters, take time to write their personal histories.  The more you  create about your characters, the easier it will be for you to write how they will respond to the situations you write for them.

Baby Boomer in Denial

Baby Boomer in Denial  

So, going back to our old man let’s answer some questions about him.

1.  What is the name his mother gave him?

2.  What name does he go by these days?  What does it have to do with his personality or his history?

3.  Why is this man living on the streets?  Does he have an addiction?  Is he mentally ill?  Is he just down and out?

4.  Take 20 seconds and look into his eyes.  Write the first thing that comes to your mind.

5.  Look at his hands.  Describe his fingers, fingernails, knuckles, etc.  What occupation do you think he might have had?

6.  Look at his cuffs.  They don’t match.  Even though you can’t see everything he has on use your imagination and fill in the missing pieces.  Tell  some of the history of the outfit.  How long has it been since it was clean?  Does he have socks and properly fitting shoes on his feet?

7.  If his life could be different what would he wish it to be?

Once you finish writing about this man, take it a step further and write an interaction with another character.

Choose from this list.

1.  A social worker

2.  One of his children

3.  A business person

4.  Another street person

5.  Something supernatural


Photo found at Morguefile

Doggone Dead is Now Available in Papeback

My latest mystery, Doggone Dead is now out in paperback.   If you don’t have an ereader, check out this version of the third Pecan Bayou mystery.DoggoneDeadCreateSpaceCover

Click here to purchase the paperback.

Also, I’m working away on my fourth novel.  Actually, I’ve been writing and then tearing it up and then rewriting.  I have a new character who is giving me trouble just like she does to Betsy.  What am I trying to create?  A villain with a good heart.  I suppose it is a classic lesson in character creation, and I have all bad parts down, but bringing out her vulnerability is going to take some thinking.

Who are some well-known villains in fiction with a good side?

25 Ways to Create Classic Characters Free on Kindle Today

25charactersHere’s a great book just released by my friend Diane Krause from The Writing Range. IT IS FREE ON KINDLE TODAY so pick it up! Here is a description of the book:

Who are some of your favorite fictional characters? Which characters stand out in your memory long after you’ve read the book, seen the movie, or the TV series has ended?

Many elements of fiction writing are essential to creating a good story, but it’s the characters who truly make a story come alive.

Plenty of books have been published on the mechanical or technical aspects of creating fictional characters, so this book is not about the science of creating characters. Instead, 25 Ways to Create Classic Characters Readers Will Love is designed to inspire.

In this book, you’ll find 25 ideas for creating believable characters that are as unique and complex as the cast of characters in real life. In addition to the 25 helpful tips, you’ll find the author’s list of favorite fictional characters, and an extensive character interview section to help you get intimately acquainted with your characters.

Use 25 Ways to Create Classic Characters Readers Will Love to give you a jump start on creating the characters that will fuel your stories and win the hearts of your readers.

Get this ebook free today!–25 Ways to Create Classic Characters Readers Will Love

Creating Characters: The Good and The Bad

Every story needs to have two strong characters-the protagonist (the good guy) and the antagonist (the bad guy).  Without them there is no conflict and no motivation for the characters to do what they do.  If everybody gets along, your story is nothing more than those sappy Christmas letters we all get every year. 

Take a look at these two gentlemen.  Choose one to be your protagonist and one to be your antagonist.

Answer these questions about your protagonist:

1.  What is his name?

2.  What is he doing in this scene?

3. Fill in five details about him.  Married or single?  Rich or poor?  Mannerisms, goals and desires, perceptions, and views.

4.  Does he realize that the other guy is out to get him?

5.  What must he do to overcome the bad guy?

Answer these questions about your antagonist:

1.  What is his name?

2.  What is he doing in this scene?

3. Fill in five details about him.  Married or single?  Rich or poor?  Mannerisms, goals and desires, perceptions, and views. Is there a back story that will tell us why he is the way he is?

4.  What is his evil plan?  Write a short monologue in which the character outlines how he will defeat the protagonist.

5.  What is his motivation?   Why must he hurt or trick another person?

Do this exercise again and switch the characters.

Photo found on MorgueFile

Portraying Mood With Your Setting

Can you portray a mood in your setting?  You bet!  Take a look at this picture.  It is intriguing to me because it is built in a rough, old fashioned way.  The structure is very small and the little walkway and handmade bench are made with such care.  What is this little house used for?  Is it someone’s home or is it a workshop of some sort?  Is it the world’s worst mother-in-law suite?  This will be a short visit.

To set up a scene with this picture follow these steps:

1.  Decide what this house is used for-be creative.  Storing lawn equipment is not creative.

2.  Define a mood that surrounds this structure.  Is it a happy place?  Is it an ominous place?  Does it raise curiosity in your story?

3.  Use the elements around the house to create your story.  Who sits on that bench?  Why is the little house right next to the woods?  What’s up with the dirt yard?  Who put in the walkway?

4.  Finally create the character that uses this little house and let your mood established in #2 reflect in this person.

5.  Do this exercise one more time and switch your mood and character to something opposite of what you wrote about the first time.

Photo used with permission from MorgueFile

Creative Writing Prompt-Characters Are Everywhere

One of my favorite things to do in writing is to create characters.  I do this in a variety of ways but most of the time it starts with a picture.  I might find a random picture, see a picture in a newspaper, or use IMDB and “cast” the part.   Many times I imagine what the character is like and then find a picture that matches my creation.  Take a look at the man in this picture.  Answer the following questions about him.

1.  Name?

2.  Occupation?

3.  Physical Characteristics?  (List as many as you can.  You can go back later and use these words as you describe him in the scenes he’s a part of in your story.  This is your personal character thesaurus.)

4.  Mental Characteristics?  Is he smart, ambitious, ruthless, kind?

5.  Mannerisms?  Does he stutter?  Cut people off before they can finish a sentence?  Grin a little too much?

6. Write down a short back story for this character.  How did he get on this bench today?

7.  Does this character have an inner conflict?

8.  Does this character have an outer conflict?  Where does he figure in your story?

Once you have written your character sketch, save it all including the picture.  This will help you to keep your character consistent throughout the story.

Write a short paragraph about your ideas for this character and share it with us in the comments.


This photo was submitted by Darnok at Morgue File