Building Character(s): A Writing Exercise

This is a great exercise! It is actually one of the main and recurring themes that keeps coming up when I do ghostwriting resp. get hired to overhaul someone’s story: Most of the time I do not consider the characters convincing… they seem too one-dimensional and I don’t “get” their motivation. I will keep these suggestions in mind and certainly do recommend to give them a try! 🙂

Romance Language

Submitted for your consideration, this is an exercise I created for a creative writing workshop I taught a few years ago. Characters are, of course, central to successful, engaging fiction. But these questions might also help for any kind of profile, biography, autobiography, or even for an imaginary profile of a target audience in a marketing/advertising.

You can even think of much science writing as character driven, although in the case of science, the character usually isn’t a person. It’s an organism, a chemical composition, a physical force, a procedure, a device, or some other phenomenon. As with a character, the subject of the scientist’s writing poses some problem—or seems to; it helps us see or understand something, but not necessarily as we expected (otherwise, what would make it worth writing about?).

When I develop of character, I think of three areas: The character’s background, the character’s present external manifestation…

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The “Storysaurus”

I found this a while ago on FB and can not seem to find the original FB-poster, or otherwise I’d at least tip my hat to them. Anyway, this is about a very easy idea/way to structure your story:

Enter… the Storysaurus!

According to blogger Jamie Harrington it is “a dinosaur with spikes on his back. Each spike represented a chapter, and his whole body represented the story’s main plot” and originates from her second grade teacher Ms. George (so, kudos where they’re due!). Jamie recreated it for online-posterity. Thanks for that! It is easy to understand, you don’t even have to know your Aristotle for that one (not that it hurts)!