Creating Characters

man-at-writing-tableCreative writing exercises are a great way to save you from tackling the infamous ‘blank page.’ The exercises are also a great way to develop your writing and build a great writing habit. They are also great for challenging us out of a rut and making us shift our focus from problems to creativity.

There are many forms of writing exercises and creating characters from scratch is just one.


The following exercises will help get you started easily. The characters you create are up to you and your imagination. They can be human, animal, extraterrestrials, or you can even create a whole new species if you like. Don’t worry about where it’s going right now – just let it fly and have fun.

If you have some writing experience it can be interesting to think about the way you write.

Some people prefer to start their stories by thinking up an event, or an incident, which they then develop as a story – adding their characters later. Others begin by creating a new character and building the story from there.

There is much argument about whether you should start a story with character, or plot, but to me the argument is pointless. At the end of the day what really matters is the story – not how it started. If you don’t believe me ask any reader. They are the ones you are writing for.

When you have gained more experience in writing you will begin to find your own best method for creating new characters but until then go right ahead and try this exercise. I am confident you will be more than pleasantly surprised.

When you start stimulating your ideas by using exercises like the creating characters exercises on this page, or by using any of the other exercises on this site, you will be amazed to learn just how many ideas you come up with.

There are more great ways to help you have ideas here. Don’t forget to keep your new ideas in a note-book that you have specially designated as your ideas book.

It is important to keep your ideas safe. It is really easy to forget them, especially the ones you get late at night. And you never know when your ideas will come in useful.



Start by describing people you already know, or people you have admired, disliked, or even hated from afar – powerful feelings can be very inspiring!

Think about what it is they want most from their life. Examples might be things like love, revenge on an enemy, power, security, money, a happy family, a nice home, travel, make a difference, to catch a killer, succeed in business etc.

Once you have written this down, start by changing every single thing you have written down about them, their appearance, their personality, their attitudes – to something completely different or the opposite.

So, for example, if your character wants a happy family you could make them so focused on success that they don’t care about their family. A character who wants to be happy might just want money or power  – no matter what.

When you have created five characters using this method, think about a story that suggests itself for each of them.

Taking something away that a character wants is a great way to do it. For example, take a character that just wants power above all and make them lose their power.

This could create a story that takes a character on a life-changing journey – from the top to the bottom and maybe back to the top again, or maybe not?

Once you begin to generate story ideas you can swap them around trying different ideas on different characters. Writing is all about experimenting, so don’t be afraid to do something really different with your characters – after all it’s your story!

Best of luck with creating characters and your writing and don’t forget to download your free creative writing tracker – I personally use mine to track every single writing session I achieve.

Seeing all your writing sessions adding up is a great motivator and I am sure you will also find the tracker a useful tool in building your routine.




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