Writing Exercise: Character Variation

If you’ve come this far then you probably have a few characters that you’ve created along the way. Now let’s play with them.

  • #15a. Pick an aspect of your character’s personality and exaggerate it. Take it to extremes. Pick a different aspect and do it again. How does this change the overall character?
  • #15b. Pick an aspect of your character’s personality and mellow it. Make it less extreme. How does that change the character?
  • #15c. Write out all of your character’s major personality traits and quirks along the side of a sheet of paper. Start with the strongest or most important traits at the top and work your way down to the weakest or least important.
    • Explain how the character developed each trait.
    • Make notes about how each character trait manifests itself in the character’s appearance or behavior.
    • Rearrange the importance or intensity of the traits and see if it does anything interesting to the character.
    • Explain why each trait is important to the character and/or story.
  • #15d. What would happen if you changed the character’s gender?
  • #15e. What would happen if you changed the character’s nationality or ethnicity?
  • #15f. What would happen if you changed smaller physical traits–skin color, hair color, scars, clothing?
  • #15g. What are your character’s hobbies? If you haven’t already, try to give your character an interesting hobby that suits his personality, says something fascinating about him, and could be worked into a plot.
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