[Writing Prompt] Character Counts

Woo-hoo! One week into the StoryADay May challenge and you are still turning up. Good for you!

(Seriously. More than talent, persistence is the thing that is going to make writing a fulfilling, successful and worthwhile pursuit for you.)

Take a moment to reflect on everything you learned about your writing last week. Try to keep the things that worked, but stay flexible and open to more experimentation in the weeks ahead.

This week we’re going to focus on different elements of the story, starting today with Character.

The Prompt

Write A Story Where Everything Hinges on Your Character’s Most Desperate Desires


  • If you need some help coming up with things your character might desire, here’s a series of writing prompts based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
  • Spend some time with a blank sheet of paper, before you write. After you decide on your character and their need, jot down 15 scenarios that could grow from that desire. (Writing 15 different scenarios means that you’ll blast through the obvious storylines straight away, then you’ll get to the weird and interesting ones that will make your story sing. Keep going until you have 15 even though the last three will probably be truly terrible.) Pick the one that interests you most, then start writing.
  • Make the desire all-consuming (for this instance, the duration of this story). Focus on this moment in the character’s life. Mine it for details, humor, horror, whatever you can get out of it.


Don’t forget to comment below to tell us how your writing went (or share an excerpt, or link to your story on another blog) or join us in the community and do your Victory Dance.

4 thoughts on “[Writing Prompt] Character Counts”

  1. This was a really awesome exercise. It was easier than I thought it would be to come up with fifteen scenarios for my character. I have a story idea I’ve been working on, and I had an idea for the character, but no idea where the story was going. Since the character was stuck in my head, I decided to use this exercise with her. It really helped me brainstorm and find and settle on a destination for my story. Still working on it, but I’ve made such a breakthrough.

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