Here is a 30 day original story development challenge. It can be filled by prose or illustration or comic or even just script, whatever works for you and how you’ll be displaying the setting. Feel free to reveal as much or as little as you want.
Day 1 - A main protagonist, their bio.
Day 2 - A Main protagonist’s love interest(s), their bio(s).
Day 3 - A main protagonist’s best friend(s), their bio(s).
Day 4 - A main antagonist, their bio.
Day 5 - The place a character sleeps.
Day 6 - The place a character works/goes to school/hangs out whatever.
Day 7 - A major story location.
Day 8 - A character’s parent(s) or guardian
Day 9 - A minor antagonist.
Day 10 - Your character when they were young(er)
Day 11 - What kind of people show up in the background in your world?
Day 12 - How does a character comfort themself?
Day 13 - What kind of foods are popular in the setting?
Day 14 - What is a character’s biggest regret?
Day 15 - What are a character’s bad habits?
Day 16 - What was a character’s first romantic and/or sexual encounter like?
Day 17 - What are popular sports and hobbies in your setting?
Day 18 - What would your protagonist do if they saw your antagonist on the street?
Day 19 - What would your antagonist do if they saw your protagonist on the street?
Day 20 - Demonstrate a character and their best friend and/or love interest interacting as they most commonly do.
Day 21 - What is a character’s deepest desire?
Day 22 - What animals appear in your setting?
Day 23 - A unique place in your setting.
Day 24 - Where did you draw inspiration for the setting/story from?
Day 25 - A character’s proudest moment.
Day 26 - What special talents or abilities does a character have?
Day 27 - Describe/Illustrate is an average day to a character.
Day 28 - A character’s most embrassing moment.
Day 29 - Describe/illustrate an important thematic element.
Day 30 - Describe/Illustrate a major event in the setting’s history.
The Society of Muses is a community for writers who focus on the fantasy genre. There will be:
- Fantasy and writing discussion
- Beta reading
- Friendly staff and members
I want to talk a little bit about strengths, weaknesses, and neutral character traits. When many people make character profiles, I find that they don’t really understand which traits are actually negative, and they often include neutral or potentially positive traits under the category of “weaknesses”. So in the following article, I’m going to go over the difference between good/bad/neutral aspects, and also point out a few commonly misused traits and why they aren’t actually negative.
While showing, rather than telling, is an excellent technique when it comes to moments of action, drama and emotion, there are times when telling is a far more useful and efficient approach to take.
One of those times is when dealing with motivation. Why a character does what he does is going to be a key part of any scene.
Characters are the heart and soul of every story.
Almost every great story is about people. Plot, setting, themes, and every other element of fiction is secondary to realistic characters that an audience can connect with on an intellectual or emotional level.
There are exceptions, of course. Some readers enjoy plot-driven stories, but they never seem to achieve the massive popularity that stories with rich, layered characters achieve. Why do fans adore Harry Potter, Holden Caulfield, and Scarlett O’Hara? Because they are people.
We connect with characters in fiction for any number of reasons. Maybe the character reminds us a little of ourselves. We might love her because she represents who we want to be, or we might hate her because she reminds us of the parts of ourselves we are ashamed of. Some characters feel like friends; others remind us of our enemies. We might admire a character’s heroism and relate to his philosophy or we might admonish his acts of destruction and hate.
Some writers argue that it’s not necessary for readers to connect or identify with characters in a story. That might be true to some extent, but the most beloved stories throughout the history of literature are populated with characters we love or characters we love to hate. There’s something to be said for making readers care.
Character Writing Tips
Readers won’t care about characters unless they are believable. So how do we make our characters realistic? Why do the most celebrated characters seem so real? How have some writers managed to render animals, aliens, and even inanimate objects into characters that we embrace emotionally?
The answer is simple: the best characters are realistic. They come with all the flaws, quirks, and baggage that real people possess. They are not just names on a page. They have pasts, personalities, and they are unique.
Here are 12 character writing tips to help you develop characters that feel like real people:
i originally thought up these questions for writers, but then i realized that they can really apply to anything - artists, composers, whatever. idk about you guys but i love to talk about my process so yeah
- red: is it hard for you to think up new ideas? list three of your biggest influences.
- orange: what do you do when you’re inspired? do you scream eureka, write the idea down in a notebook, what?
- yellow: what do you do when you’re stuck in a block? list three sources of inspiration when new ideas are scarce.
- green: how do you flesh out an idea? does it take a long time, do you mull over it for hours, or does it come easily? describe the process!
- blue: depending on your form of art, what are some of your favorite ways to characterize, add detail, design, establish a settling, or otherwise elaborate on the piece? are you fond of world-building, or does that pose a problem for you? (customize this question if you’re an artist or otherwise)
- indigo: picture of your workspace!
- violet: describe your work habits. do you eat? do you need music? are you messy or organized? do you keep a notebook? how long can you work at a time? etc.
- silver: what’s the hardest part of a piece for you? (plot, background, etc)
- gold: the easiest?
- black: what is your least favorite part of the creative process?
- white: your favorite?
- rainbow: do you believe in true originality?
- brown: what does it take for you to honestly be proud of something?
- pink: what is the most rewarding part of being a writer, artist, etc?
- magenta: what drives you the most insANE?
For writers: I’m dropping off a link to a site about body language.
I’ve found it very useful for my writing over the years. The site itself isn’t all that lovely to look at, but the information is great. It’s always good to know how to convey a particular emotion through the body instead of just flat out telling readers that a character looked sad or seemed upset.
Many books are plot driven. Others are character driven. So why not do both?
It’s all too easy to create cardboard characters. We see it all the time in fiction. The characters in a novel really make or break the story. Often the difference between a page turner and a book for the bin is the strength of the protagonist.
Here’s eight aspects of character development to consider:
1. Give your character a serious problem. Better still, give them several serious problems. Have you ever heard the old expression that difficult times are character building? Well, this is it in a literal sense. Torturing your character may not be good for him, but it’s great for the reader.
2. Make your character imperfect. I know we love our hero. I know we want him to be perfect in every way. We never [want] him to fail. Of course, that makes the character so boring they should be shot and left out in the desert somewhere. They need some flaws! They need failings! Here’s a list of the seven deadly sins. Give your character a couple - lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.
3. What is your character’s Achilles heel? What does your hero fear? Remember how Indiana Jones is afraid of snakes? Makes him sort of interesting, doesn’t it? And Superman? Not keen on Kryptonite, is he? Work out his weakness and you’ll learn more about them.
1. Dialogue should be brief.
2. It should add to the reader’s present knowledge.
3. It should eliminate the routine exchanges of ordinary conversation.
4. It should convey a sense of spontaneity but eliminate the repetitiveness of real talk.
5. It should keep the story moving forward.
6. It should be revelatory of the speaker’s character, both directly and indirectly.
7. It should show the relationships among people.” —Elizabeth Bowen (via AdviceToWriters)
By Tony Spencer-Smith
Some errors just keep popping up over and over again. Here are five of the most common:
Our ability to get things wrong is considerable. When I was editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest magazine, we had researchers who checked everything. They came up with numerous elementary errors made by top journalists - from misspelt names to incorrect figures. So double-check your own work for accuracy, and query the facts of other writers if you have even the slightest suspicion they might be wrong.
Spell check programs can reduce spelling errors, and you should use them on every document. But they won’t pick up words that are inappropriately spelt. So one of the big danger areas is confusion about words that are similarly spelt but have different meanings or grammatical functions. For instance, in “the CEO of the company was formally the finance director”, formally should be changed to formerly.
This is an area of grammar where many people go wrong. The rule is that a verb takes a different form depending on whether its subject is singular or plural. Most of the time, it is easy to get this right. Few people say “he run” or “they runs.” When it becomes tricky is in more complex sentences where the verb gets separated from its subject, as in: “The challenge of our troubled times, with global warming and massive population growth, are to stabilise our planet.” It should be: “The challenge … is to stabilise our planet.”
Many good writers find the apostrophe difficult. One of the most common mistakes is to put one in a word that is simply a plural: “Don’t eat all the plum’s.”
It is very easy to use more words than necessary. An editor needs to be on the lookout for these superfluous words and chop them out. That means thinking about the meaning of each word carefully. If you do that, the redundancies in advance warning and two-way dialogue will become obvious.
Ever have trouble thinking of a name for a character? Here is a few websites with an incredible assortment of names:
there’s this thing called writing
and it’s thirty percent staring blankly at a computer screen
twenty percent keyboard smashing, select all, deleting
ten percent writing the entire plot out but not being able to put it into actual words
five percent screaming
fifteen percent refreshing your dashboard
five percent finding the perfect song/background music
ten percent talking about writing
and five percent making stupid text posts about why writing is hard