When Your Character Is Like You

Today I’m limiting your character choices.

The Prompt

Write a story featuring a character very like you


  • Think about the things that make you you: Gender, family roles, occupation, age, body type, religion, hobbies, outlook, genetic heritage. Are you curious, or cautious? Musical or tone deaf? Extroverted or introverted? Content or endlessly searching?
  • Put this character, who is both you and not you, into a situation that you might run across in your everyday life. Or put them into a situation you would like to find yourself in. For example, I am always dreaming up new business ideas. I don’t have the time or ability to pursue any of them, but I love to daydream about the businesses I could run if I had a thousand lifetimes. Take something that you care about — something that you daydream about anyway — and put your character into that situation
  • Now, you have to make something happen, so think about the ways that the situation could go spectacularly wrong. This can be funny, like Fawlty Towers, or serious like the TV show 24. It depends on your preferences and what you feel confident writing.
  • Again, you’re not writing a feature film or novel. We don’t have much space here. So don’t spend much time setting up the situation. You can start by having the character talk directly to the reader. Or you can plunge directly into the action. Or start with something cheesy like “it all started to go wrong when…”. Do whatever you need to do to get you into the story. It can all be fixed in the rewrite. (Or ignored for the rest of your life, this is a story just for you.)
  • Now that your character’s in trouble, how do they react? Do they react the same way you would? Do they react the way you wish you would if you weren’t so polite? Are they cooler than you? More skilled? More James Bond like? What are the consequences either way?
  • This is a really fun exercise. It captures all the best things about writing: What if…? The ability to live multiple lives in one life, is the gift of being a writer. It’s the ability to be better than you are, or worse than you are, without any of the consequences. Let loose with this exercise. Have some fun (and yes that does include doing terrible things to people if that’s how your story comes out. Don’t worry that you’re a psychopath. You have my permission to be bad.)


Leave a comment to know what you let your alter ego get up to, today!

26 thoughts on “When Your Character Is Like You”

  1. I’ve been writing my stories, but it was a busy weekend, what with my son turning fifteen, a visit to the General Philip Schuyler House with my daughter (it’s local writing research for some stories I’ll write later this month).

    Here’s my story for today: a young bride-to-be who also happens to be a mother grieving a baby who has died. I happen to be or have been both of those things….I chose to go for just a bit of emotional distance, by writing from the POV of my character’s mother-in-law-to-be.


  2. I’m just leaving a snippet here rather than posting. This one has potential for November’s writing challenge. Woot!


    I’d like to say the devil made me do it, but I really don’t think there is such a thing as a devil. Maybe. Certainly, there must be a malicious sprite or two, but no devils and no angels. I hope. Unless angels are the ghosts of loved ones long gone, paying a stiff penance in guardianship duties before being admitted through the Pearly Gates? That’s a convenient story I like to tell, anyway. It makes me feel that my bull in the china shop routine has a purpose. Would it be fair then, to go back and undo what I’ve already done? Or would it just destroy the hopes of my guardian angels. What about my hopes?

  3. Wrote it, never want to do it again. Apparently when I think “write someone like me” my brain decides what I REALLY meant was “write myself going through worst fear”. So that’s… nice, at nearly midnight. :/

  4. Took me a while. Toddler-wrangling duties cut into the writing time, but I hope I met the criteria of both prompts. In this story, two Civil War vets, an old Reb and an immigrant German Yank, both one-time prisoners of war, meet in an old west saloon. Threw in some of my own family history to spice up the verisimilitude.

  5. I’m handwriting today, as typing on a tablet screen is painstakingly so. However, this is a fun prompt, and seems to nudge me into both flights of fancy & great sarcasm. 😉

  6. Thanks for the prompt, I’ve enjoyed this. I utilised my (limited) aspirations of becoming an artist to conjure up an ugly scene where a jealous boyfriend of the model barges in shouting. It is a rough draft at the moment, but I can revisit later. I’m currently writing the stories by hand, which offers a degree of freedom that seems to be lacking when sat in front of a screen. I’ll try to blog some of my stories next week.

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