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20 Free Character Writing Prompts

Free, Fun, and Fabulous Character Writing Prompts For Fiction Writers— Yes! Here we offer you a list of absolutely free character writing prompts along with some awesome, complimentary character writing exercises. Take a look now and enjoy. I know you’ll be glad you did.

Character Writing Prompts

Character Writing Prompts and Character Writing Exercises, for You!

After students learn the basics of plot development in elementary school, they often begin building on their writing skills and they start focusing on character development.

However…

Coming up with ideas for a protagonist and an antagonist can be a challenge for aspiring writers who are just starting to understand the concept of a well-rounded character.

This is why…

It’s useful to have character writing prompts and character writing exercises available to help the process along.

Character Writing Development Brief Overview

Character development is a critical part of the writing process, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be hard work. Many students find that coming up with a backstory and personality for their main character is one of the most enjoyable things about creative writing.

In order to craft a character that has a distinct point of view as well as relatable flaws, students will need to be guided.

Creative writing prompts can help spark an idea that can lead to their next magnificent character. Then, creative writing exercises can help writers go deeper.

So…

Whether you are using character writing prompts as part of your journal entries in your classroom, or you are providing students with character writing exercises to help with the brainstorming process, you will find that these tools are a wonderful way to help your students start learning about the character development process.

Once they have their characters in place, they can then rely on creative writing prompts in order to complete the story that they want to tell.

With the right practice, your students will quickly find themselves developing complex characters that have narrative arcs that move the story along. Use these character writing prompts and character writing exercises in your classroom in order to show your students just how fun it can be to create their own characters.  

20 Free, Fun, and Fabulous Character Writing Prompts for Every Genre

Character writing prompts will help your students uncover their character’s arc or will allow them to identify the motivations of their character. These prompts will help them develop the kind of person that they want their character to be, and they may even help them uncover their character’s biggest flaw.

These 20 character writing prompts will help your middle school and high school students get started:

  1. Think of real people who inspire you. Base your main character on your role model.
  2. Consider writing a memoir, but make one of the main characters fictional. Use your experiences to shape the personality of the character. 
  3. Imagine that your character lives in a small town. How would this experience shape their world view? How would it shape their motivations? 
  4. Fellow writers often discuss their characters with each other as if they are real people. As you create your character, consider every aspect of their life — your character should have a personality, it should have flaws, it should have life experience and a motivation for solving the conflict within the story. Make a list of all of the attributes you would like to see in a main character.
  5. Create a character that has a medical condition that influences the outcome of the story. Be sure to do research on that condition so that you can incorporate factual information and real world experiences into your story.
  6. Consider writing a story in which the character’s voice is very different from your own. Write down three things that influence a character’s voice.
  7. Head to Twitter to search for inspiration for your next character. As you scroll your feed, find an account that mimics the voice of the character you want to create. Use those tweets to influence the thoughts, dialogue, and mindset of your character.
  8. Different genres can influence your character development. Imagine a main character for your first book, then write a journal entry about how that main character would be different if you were writing a science fiction story versus a horror story.
  9. Plan to write a story in which your character’s lies influence the outcome. Make a chart that identifies the truth that exists within your story and plan out the lies that your character will tell. Use your story to create a social commentary on the impact of falsehoods in everyday life.
  10. Create your character’s world before you create your character. Design a world that includes three specific elements including a school building, a local neighborhood, and a historic downtown area.
    Character Development Writing Ideas
  11. Design a character that is based on one of your grandparents. Remember, you don’t have to create your character based on the grandparents that you know today — your character could be inspired by any stage of their life.
  12. Not every character is a main character. Consider adding a hidden character to your story. Write down three places in your story where a hidden character could appear. Would this character influence the outcome of the piece?
  13. Your character should appear to be a well-rounded, fully-functional human. Write about why a character’s favorite food may play an important role in any story. 
  14. Use a single image as inspiration for your character. Write down the traits your character will have based on that image alone.
  15. Imagine that your main character is a fortune teller. What personality traits would your character have? What would motivate them? What would be your character’s biggest flaw? 
  16. Nearly all of the bestsellers have compelling characters. Write a detailed description of your favorite character from your favorite book. Why is this character your favorite? Consider how the author developed this character into someone you connected with.
  17. Narrators tell the story. How would you choose the narrator for your story? 
  18. Focus on a micro-moment in order to add depth to your character. Write a journal entry with a detailed description of a moment that your character experiences that helps explain their personality.
  19. Your character has a scar. Where is it? How did they earn their scar? Does this scar symbolize anything within your story? 
  20. Character fear has to come from somewhere. Write about three situations that could incite fear within your character.

I hope you enjoyed this free list of character writing prompts. 

Now…

It’s time to explore some character writing exercises!

6 Character Writing Exercises to Spark Your Students’ Imaginations

In addition to character prompts, character development exercises can help students with their storytelling. Here are a few character writing exercises to consider:

  • Character Writing Exercise #1 — Write a detailed paragraph describing the physical features of your main character and their personality traits. Now, sketch a picture of that character on paper.
  • Character Writing Exercise #2 — After you have created a main character for your story, you will need to develop secondary characters, such as siblings or a best friend. In this exercise, you should create a character tree for your character that includes all of the secondary characters that will support them on their journey. This family tree doesn’t have to be limited to relatives; it can include friends, teachers, employers, and even passersby who interact with the character in the story.
  • Character Writing Exercise#3 — Imagine that your character has their own social media account. Create three posts from your character’s perspective. What types of photos would they share? What would they say in their post? How would they respond to their followers? Would they use a filter on their pictures?
  • Character Writing Exercise#4 — Spend five minutes thinking about your own routines and habits. How do they influence your daily life? Now, consider a habit that your character may have based on their own arc.
  • Character Writing Exercises #5 — Not all characters are good characters. Think about the last movie that you watched. Who was the villain? Describe their personality and appearance, and write about how you have to approach the development of a villain differently than the development of a protagonist.
  • Character Writing Exercises #6 — No matter what type of character you create, they should have weaknesses, hobbies, and quirks. In this writing exercise, write a paragraph written from the perspective of a hidden character who is gossiping about your main character. This will help reveal the quirks and weaknesses of your main character and will allow you to better understand how other characters may interpret those personality traits.

When your students discover how to create a character’s world, they will quickly see how they can use their imaginations while relying on their own experiences in order to create dialogue that suits their character’s voice.

They will find out that through their own writing, they can design an alternate universe where their characters live an entire life. Through character development, they will uncover an entirely different part of the writing process, and they are sure to love it. You can use this motivation to encourage them to always keep writing!

More Character Writing Resources

Until next time, write on…

If you enjoyed these Character Writing Prompts and Character Writing Exercises,
please share them on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest.
I appreciate it!

Sincerely,
Jill
journalbuddies.com
creator and curator

Fiction Character Writing Prompts

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