Friday, August 1, 2014

Pick Up A Pen Already

I was bored and stalling and trying to do something else creative and writing related without actually doing any writing.

I completed a brief, yet interminable, interview with a character I created years ago. By the end, the character was dangerously close to doing physical harm to the annoying interviewer.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with the character profile questions themselves, my character just wasn't exactly the type that would submit to an interview. I knew that going in. And I did it to him specifically because it was out of character for him.

As things ended uncomfortably close to ensuing stabbiness, I blundered into further character questionnaires, but thought it best to let my interviewer leave with his scalp still intact.

After perusing them I tumbled down the rabbit hole of more and more links and writing prompts.
Creative Writing Now really does provide a lot of good starters!
Character Development
Dialogue Focus
Narrative POV
Plot Structure and Climax
Or let's say you're not looking for anything specific, you just want to start filling pages
44 Short Story Ideas

I'll even throw in a couple of my own...

Your character is stuck in a dead end job, so they take the leap and start going to night school/community college/trade school. What was it that finally pushed them to do it? How are they paying for it? What classes do they take? Why? What is the instructor like? How many other students are there in the class? What new social relationships begin to form? Does something strange/scary/exciting happen? Does it build towards that event, or is it sudden? How does your character respond?

Your character is new to a place (town, job, neighborhood) and wants to "be someone new" without actually changing very much. They start dressing a certain way, making up stories, hanging pictures of places they've never been. People are buying it. This new persona is swallowing the character more and more.
Then someone from the past comes in. Is there any recognition? How well did they know each other? Will this new person shatter what has been built, or can your character keep it going?
Maybe this person finds the lies, but doesn't expose them because they want something from your character? What? Do they become part of the bogus stories and events? What is their role in them and why has your character never mentioned them before?

Your character is a coward. They wish they weren't, but they aren't brave enough to be brave.
Why are they so spineless? Have they always been this way, or did something happen that made them like this?
An event forces the character to nut up or shut up. Do they dive deeper into their turtle shell, or do they react strongly and surprise even themselves? How do they cope with either decision?

This last one is rather trope-y, but have some fun with it anyway.
Your character is a complete nobody. They have a boring life in every possible aspect. Are they single? How much money do they have/normally carry (cash or plastic)? How are they dressed?
One hum-drum morning on the way to work (driving or mass transit) a man in a dark suit and sunglasses catches their attention. Does this stranger mean to? He either approaches the character on purpose and commands that they do a task, or your character notices that the stranger leaves something behind (a folder/briefcase/package). Your character accepts, either on the spot or quails but then wonders all day and night and gives in when approached the following day. Or the left behind thing throws your character for a loop and they are swept along regardless of their intentions. What is this thing they must do? Is it illegal, dangerous, harmful to them or someone else? Who is this shady, forceful stranger? What happens to your character as they go through with it?

Grab a notebook, open up a Word document...Aaaaand, GO!!


  1. So... how's your progress, Realmwright-from-August? :-)

    1. I will have you know that several...nay, a dozen or more....characters have been crafted. Some have even received in depth profiles.
      Furthermore I scrawled the pages of a pivotal moment in the WIP that I'd been neglecting for 8 months.
      So there, sir phhhbbbbbbbbttt :P