Character Writing Prompts

If you’re writing a work of fiction, one of the fun ways to “get to know your characters” is to take them through a series of writing prompts.

These prompts are meant to be answered in 2-10 sentences, and should highlight how, exactly, your characters would react in any given situation. Sometimes prompts expand your understanding of a character, because you’ve never thought about their day-to-day interactions. Or sometimes they’re just fun – I know I like to think of bizarre ways my characters would do things if put in a wildly different situation than their novel.

Here are some fun/engaging writing prompts to help flesh out any fictional character.

#3—Imagine your character is in a bar. A fight breaks out between two drunken patrons, and it looks like each of them has a crew ready to jump in. What does your character do?

Son of a–

What I like about this prompt is that the character isn’t involved. Does your character intervene? Do they watch? Do they get out of dodge?

There are tons of reactions, and when writing your answer it’s important to note how the character feels. A protagonist would likely have wildly different feelings about the bar brawl than an antagonist, for example. Harry Potter might try to calm everyone down, but Voldermort may delight in the wanton violence.

#2—Your character finds a ring that will grant a single wish, but it requires a life to fuel its dark magic. What does your character do with the ring?

There’s always a catch.

I enjoy this prompt because it’s interesting to see non-fantasy characters get this option. Everyone in the world has thought, “what would I do with a wish?” so I imagine even sci-fi characters or modern day characters have thought the same thing.

Does your character pay the price of the ring with someone else’s life? Or do they sacrifice themselves?

And if they do make a wish, what is it for? So many possibilities! And the answer will likely be different for every character—no one person is the same.

#1—Your character awakes in a room with one of the greatest fears. The door out is locked by a complicated puzzle, and if it isn’t solved in 10 minutes, the room will fill with a deadly gas. What’s in the room with your character, and what are the odds they’re making it out alive?

I think this writing prompt turned into a movie…

What I love about this prompt is that it involves to major aspects of your character.

(1) What do they fear? (2) How do they conduct themselves under pressure?

Most people never have to go through their lives experiencing a deadly puzzle room, but it sure would be interesting! Plus, it’s fun to imagine whether a character would be clever enough to escape. Some characters aren’t suited to puzzles or tricks, but perhaps their “greatest fear” is a rival or enemy, and maybe the character could convince them to open the door.

Just a thought. :3

Like I said, writing prompts are always good fun. Let me know if any of you try them out!