Looking to develop your creative writing but don’t know where to start? Possibly looking for inspiration to start writing a novel? Writing is something which improves the more time you spend doing it, so why not start right away!
Pick up a pen and a pad! Do it NOW!
Where’s your favourite place to write?
Step 1: Creating your character
Find a picture of somebody you find interesting or intriguing in some way. All you need is a photo of someone that makes you feel creative. Need more inspiration? Try here, or here. The humans of New York website is particularly interesting, as it provides many photos of interesting people, but only little information on each one, not allowing you to give in to the temptation to copy their character too much. Just save off the picture for now.
Step 2: Plot their profile
Jot down ten bullet points about your character. This will get more interesting -don’t worry. Just write 5-10 loose bullet points about your character and what makes them who they are, and include one unique characteristic about their personality. Any points about physical appearance, try to relate them to their character. Cliched characteristics are fine, however try not to make the character too predictable – add a few more layers of depth if you think they aren’t interesting enough. This is also a good point at which to do some basic research – for example is your character’s name in fitting with their background / nationality? If not why? Could you find a more suitable name? This will serve as a profile to refer back to for inspiration when need be, and from noting down points about them you will quite quickly be able to work out what will and won’t work. Don’t worry too much if you don’t get it perfect now, you can always come back and revise these points later on.
Step 3: Pick a Characteristic
Pick one of the characteristics chosen above, and explain the back story of the characteristic, what led the character to develop this characteristic? Start the first sentence “Shortly after ‘name’ started high school….”
Step 4: Describe a Relationship
Pick a relative of your character; friend, mother, father, girlfriend, cousin, who the character has a significant relationship with. Describe their relationship, ie: who has the upper hand in their relationship and why? What is their communication like, is it jokey, serious, stern, business like, fake, genuine?
Step 5: Describe a Scene
Describe a situation where the character has has run into a difficult situation or disagreement from their perspective. What was the situation, was it the character’s order getting mixed up at a restaurant? Was it a mix up with a bill payment on the phone? How did the character react to the situation, were they submissive, confrontational, patient, assertive, irritable? Did they display their characteristic described above?
Step 6: Write in first Person
Try to write in first person from your characters perspective in a conversational tone about something controversial that they feel strongly about, ie, something current events related, historical, or political. If you are stuck for ideas, try using a news paper, or history book, to find an event you can visualize evoking strong feelings in them. Writing in a conversational tone is writing in a way that draws the reader in, and makes them feel as if they are having a conversation with you. Try to write how you would speak, and read your passage aloud after having read it. This is an example of an article which has been written in a conversational tone, and there are two great articles about writing conversationally here and here.
Step 7: Read and Revise
Read back through the passages you wrote in steps 3, 4, 5 and 6. Keep the following bullet points in your head:
- Have you used more words when less will do? Cut out unnecessary words.
Have you used cliched descriptions and phrases? Cut them out too.
What do you like about your work? Can you pick out any parts of your character you would like to develop further, or potential plot lines?
Remember to proof read your writing at least twice before showing it to someone else or publishing it on the internet – you want to show others the best version of your writing after all 🙂
How did you find these exercises, and what character did you create? Please feel free to post any of your text in the description, if you would like feedback, or specific tips. Thanks for reading.
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