Simple Character Writing Exercises (suitable for kids and adults)

4 Tips for Developing Fictional Characters

By Alexandra Smith

Some writers 'people watch' from Cafe windows to get character ideas while others claim that the character just entered their head. Here is one method for creating a new character.

1) Think about someone you know then write a description of them and their lives.

2) Re-write the piece adding in elements of other people you know, removing irrelevant details and emphasising interesting things.

3) Rename your character - call them something which sounds fitting or intriguing.

4) Get to know your character better by trying to write about them from different perspectives. You could:

- Write a letter by them or an entry in their diary (put yourself in their shoes),

- Write about them from the perspective of someone who likes them or dislikes them.
- Draw and label a plan of the place your character lives - either just their home or extend to their local area (this might inspire you to write a story about them).
- Try describing the character in ways which put a negative or a positive slant on their life.

This is a simple example of the last exercise suggested above:

Glum Gary

Gary was a little blond boy who lived in an inner-city suburb. He belonged in the country where there were big trees to climb and fields to explore but he was stuck in a place where the police were on hand to caution him if he climbed a tree or trespassed beyond a public park. Gary's Mum was not married to his Dad or any of her other children's fathers and she was far too busy to give him the attention he needed. He tried to win his mother's approval by helping to look after his brothers and sisters or running errands to the corner shop but she resented him taking time to himself to go to school or see his so-called mates. She made him unpopular with the local kids by frequently shouting instructions down at him from her two-bed apartment on the seventh floor of the council block which overlooked his playground.

Glad Gary

Gary was a little blond boy who loved to laugh. He had known a few fathers and he had several brothers and sisters but only one Mum (who thought the world of him). Gary lived in an urban area and knew nothing of anywhere else other than what he saw on TV. He loved the dramas of his home and saw an adventure and a value in everything around him. He was very streetwise and, in many respects, older than his years. Gary was emotional and creative which sometimes got him in to trouble but it was these qualities which would stop him falling in with 'the wrong crowd.'

Keep Reading: Reasons to Write and How to Get Started

© This article and its photo(s) are the property of Alexandra Smith. Only use or reproduce with permission.

Disclaimer: These tips are created from lessons I have learnt during my own experience.  With regard to the content and advice on this blog, Alexandra Smith makes no representations or warranties about its accuracy, reliability or suitability for anyone. Any reliance you place on the blog or its content is at your own discretion and in no event will Alexandra be liable for any loss, damage or injury in connection with your use.

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