Character idiosyncrasies . . . Prompt #554

How do writers develop characters? How do writers get to know their characters beyond their looks, their desires, and where they went to school?

For this prompt, you can write about your main character, a supporting character, or you can write about someone you know.

If you are writing about something that really happened, you can use that incident and those involved as your characters. When you write about real people, they become “characters” in your story.

Here’s how it works:

Interview your fictional character as a journalist would, but not at the age they are in your story. If they are older, interview a younger version of your character.

If your character is young, imagine what he or she might be like as an older person.

For your real-life person, have an actual interview, if you can.  If not, imagine what they were like as a child, a pre-teen, a teenager.


Here’s a trick to really get to know your fictional characters: Write about how they spend their time. Did they undergo training or schooling for their job? Do they go out with friends? How did they meet these friends? What does their family do when they get together?

Write about how your characters spend their time. Do they collect odd items? Did they join clubs in school? What does your character do when she or he is alone?

Give your character an unusual job or hobby. Either something you know about, or something you can research. An internet search reveals thousands of job and hobby possibilities for your characters.

Ideas for jobs and hobbies at Happy DIY Home.

An example of an unusual activity: Parkour.

“Parkour can be defined as an activity involving movement through an area, typically urban in nature, in an efficient and creative way. Those who practice it are known as traceurs (French for ‘trace’) and will jump, climb and vault over obstacles in their path in order to get from A to B as quickly as possible.” — Parkour: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners, Sport Fitness Advisor

Describing an activity is a way to add the sensory detail of kinesthetics to your writing—motion in writing.

Prompt: Interview your fictional characters to discover their idiosyncrasies.

For more about character development and adding sensory detail to writing:

Flesh out your characters. Prompt #131

Character development – discovering characters. Prompt #132

Sensory Details – Kinesthetic, motion in writing.

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