30-Day Writing Challenge: Building Characters

By: Tia Love

Hello there! Since I last sat at my computer and talked to you about creating complex characters, I hoped that you had a chance to try it out. I wanted to take things a step further and try a writing challenge that helps to build characters! My hope is that at the end of the next 30 days, we all have characters that are realitistic, complex, and yet simple enough for anyone to be able to relate to throughout the pages of your novel.

This is not a challenge I created, its one I found while searching Tumblr for other aspiring writers like myself. I probably won’t post my finished challenge for each day, but I will try to get at least half of them out there for you guys to see. If you’re going to join me in the challenge and want to “show your work”, comment at the bottom with a link to your work so I can check you out!

Let’s create!

Each day there is a prompt to help build on your character

I found this on Tumblr, but you can tailor it to suit yout needs.

1.) Describe your character’s relationship with their mother or their father, or both. Was it good? Bad? Were they spoiled rotten, ignored? Do they still get along now, or not?

2.) What are your characters most prominent physical features?

3.) Name one scar your character has, and tell us where it came from. If they don’t have any, is there a reason?

4.) How vain is your character? Do they find themselves attractive?

5.) What’s your character’s ranking on the Kinsey Scale?

6.) Describe your character’s happiest memory.

7.) Is there one event or happening your character would like to erase from their past? Why?

8.) Day of Favorites! What’s your character’s favorite ice cream flavor? Color? Song? Flower?

9.)  Who does your character trust?

10.) Can you define a turning point in your character’s life? Multiple answers are acceptable here.

11.) Is there an animal you equate with your character?

12.) How is your character with technology? Super savvy, or way behind the times? Letters or email?

13.) What does your character’s bed look like when he/she wakes up? Are the covers off on one side of the bed, are they all curled around a pillow, sprawled everywhere? In what position might they sleep?

14.)  How does your character react to temperature changes such as extreme heat and cold?

15.) Is your character an early morning bird or a night owl?

16.) Are there any blood relatives that your character is particularly close with, besides the immediate ones? Cousins, Uncles, Grandfathers, Aunts, et cetera. Are there any others that your character practically considers a blood relative?

17.) What’s your character’s desk/workspace look like? Are they neat or messy?

18.) Is your character a good cook? What’s their favorite recipe, whether they’re good or not? (Microwave mac-and-cheese applies.)

13.) What does your character’s bed look like when he/she wakes up? Are the covers off on one side of the bed, are they all curled around a pillow, sprawled everywhere? In what position might they sleep?

14.)  How does your character react to temperature changes such as extreme heat and cold?

15.) Is your character an early morning bird or a night owl?

16.) Are there any blood relatives that your character is particularly close with, besides the immediate ones? Cousins, Uncles, Grandfathers, Aunts, et cetera. Are there any others that your character practically considers a blood relative?

17.) What’s your character’s desk/workspace look like? Are they neat or messy?

18.) Is your character a good cook? What’s their favorite recipe, whether they’re good or not? (Microwave mac-and-cheese applies.)

19.) What’s your character’s preferred means of travel?

20.) Does your character have any irrational fears?

21.) What would your character’s cutie mark be?

22.) If your character could time travel, where would they go?

23.) Is your character superstitious?

24.) What might your character’s ideal romantic partner be?

25.) Describe your character’s hands. Are they small, long, calloused, smooth, stubby?

26.) Second day of favorites! Favorite comfort food, favorite vice, favorite outfit, favorite hot drink,
favorite time of year, and favorite holiday.

27.) Pick two songs that describe your character at two different points of their life, and explain why you chose them.

28.) If your character’s life was a genre, what would it be?

29.) How does your character smell? Do they wear perfume or cologne?

30.) And finally: Write a letter to your character, from yourself.

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