[Writing Prompt] Character Counts

As I pointed out yesterday, story can be all about character.

Sometimes the idea of plot can trip us up (“How do I make it interesting? What should I make *happen*?”). But the truth is, write an interesting character, give them some need, put an obstacle in their way, and you need never worry about ‘plot’.

The Prompt

Think of a fascinating character from your life (past or present). Think about what they wanted on a particular day. Write that story.

Tips

  • Short stories are about a moment in time, when something changes in a character’s life. What one thing tips the balance for your character today?
  • The change doesn’t need to be life-shattering. Sometimes small changes in perspective have a huge impact on the rest of someone’s life.
  • For examples of what I’m talking about think of episodic TV. Not every episode deals with the overall arc of the season. Sometimes it’s just a fun story about a day in the life of one of the characters. Maybe Data is trying to learn to sneeze and discovers some truths about life as an android. Perhaps someone goes on a really bad date and discovers that what he really needs right now is to stop dating for a while and hang out with friends.

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24 thoughts on “[Writing Prompt] Character Counts”

  1. This prompt is always both challenging and fascinating. I really enjoyed it last year and it produced a pretty great story, and I enjoyed it just as much this year. There’s something sort of scary and almost invasive about writing someone you know. But its fantastic.

    Story finished at around 2500 words. 🙂

    1. Ah, yes, they always tell you to live your life as if each day were your last. Wonder if he would have acted differently had he known there were zombies on the lawn… 🙂

  2. It sounded like such an easy prompt, but then I got stuck on who the character making the decision would be. But finally finished.

    Thank you.

  3. So far have finished the third story. Thanks ever so for the prompt. My word count is creeping up. Either I’m really short or really long. But this is fun!

  4. Thank you for the prompts. I am having a good time with the challenge. Today’s story was actually a story that had a beginning, middle, and end. It came in at almost 1400 words.

  5. Well, this has been a journey in self discovery and it’s only day 3!
    I spent the entire day yesterday thinking up wonderful ideas, getting excited, googling them – only to find out they’ve been done, and done well, many times. I realized this morning that I’m far too focused on the end product. I’m trying to see down the road to sharing my writings (and, dare I say it, maybe publish a picture book from one of them). Sheesh. Talk about pressure. Today, I decided that I need to just write. Imperfect, already done, silly, whatever. No one ever has to see those. And maybe, after 30 days, I’ll have a few gems. Stories I’ll want to perfect and submit down the line.
    So today I wrote TWO stories, to make up for the one I didn’t get to yesterday.

  6. Nice to work on a character. I don’t think I have the knack yet but it’s good to try. Thank you for the prompts and encouragement.
    Are we still supposed to post the link here or is there somewhere else? I’m total newbie/techtard and easilly confused…be patient. *flashes winning smile*

    Just in case, here’s my bash at it for today. http://wp.me/p3tYWh-k

    1. It’s not you, it’s me. I think I need to streamline things for next year.

      You’re welcome to post here, or you can gohere: http://storyaday.org/activity and post an update. You can use the drop-down menu below the update field and select “post to: The VIctory Dance”. That way it’ll show up both in the main ‘activity’ feed and in the Victory Dance group forum.

      And you though you were confused before?

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