Today’s writing prompt is ripped straight from my 6th Grader’s homework folder, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant.
I’m steeped in (as well as 6th Grade homework) Lisa Cron’s fabulous latest book Story Genius, in which she makes the compelling point that you cannot begin to tell your character’s story until you know about their past.
It’s a delightfully obvious (and surprisingly overlooked) observation that ought to be front and center in every writing class. So here we go.
Interview a character from one of your stories. Find out as much as you can about their past and what formed the character they possess on Page One of their story.
Try some of these questions:
- What’s your earliest memory?
- What kind of home did you grown up in?
- What did your parents expect from you?
- What was the most difficult thing that happened in your childhood?
- What did that teach you about life?
- Has anything that happened recently, that shows you still believe that?
- Who is your best friend? Why?
- What do you hate about them? Why?
- What would you never, under any circumstances, do?
- What would happened someone tried to make you do that?
Now, aren’t you ready to write a story about something that puts this character right up against that belief they formed in childhood?
Or against the conflict they said they would never, ever want to face?
Or in conflict with the thing about their friend that bugs them?
Use the comments to tell me how you got on with this prompt