WRITING PROMPTS Part 1: Character


Does the idea of using a writing prompt fill you with horror? 'As if I don’t have enough to do,' we hear you say. The intention of this little series of writing prompts by Caroline Deacon is to help you with your existing writing projects. Please feel free to cherry pick, use what is helpful and discard the rest.


There are several ways you could use these prompts. Some people might find them useful as warm ups; others might use them as tools to unstick themselves. I’m not going to be prescriptive - use them how you will, and if you post your writing on the SCBWI Facebook page and tag me, I’ll try to comment.



Character - three exercises for different aspects



To have a great story, you want memorable characters

Think about the great PG Wodehouse and the names he gave his characters: Bertie Wooster, Clarence Threepwood, Admiral George J.’Fruity’ Bingham, Marmaduke, 5th Baron ‘Chuffy’ Chuffnel. We were ready to laugh before we read a sentence. Or what about the names Dickens gave his characters? He created 989 characters and many of them live on today.



How memorable are your characters’ names? Try changing one to something outrageous and weird, and write a new bio for that person.



You should know your characters intimately

List five objects your character always has with them, or maybe ones they would rescue first if there was a fire (apart from a phone).



Character should drive plot, not be a cipher for the plot

For this exercise, you’ve got a choice. Use whichever speaks to you. Have a look at the picture below.


Image credit: Caroline Deacon


Your character owns this object and finds it after having put it away for some years.


Your character has just been given this object.


Your character covets, or has actually stolen this object.


Write about what this object means to your character and why.

 Header image: Claire Watts

Caroline Deacon worked for many years as a creative writing tutor. She is agented by Lindsay Fraser of Fraser Ross Associates, Edinburgh. Find her on Twitter @writingdilemmas and at www.carolinedeacon.com. Her monthly newsletter offers free writing prompts and feedback to subscribers.

1 comment:

  1. This was my first attempt at doing the Writing Prompt. I really enjoyed the experience because it enabled me to bring in characters from a series of books I'm doing for young children 3 - 6yr olds. The series is about Wally the Caterpillar. Wally is caught in this 'dark and stormy night' and as he's being tossed around on his leaf, like a boat in the raging sea, he is remembering each of his friends and what they mean to him in his life. A positive experience. Thank you


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