Developing Character - Writing Exercises


When inspiration strikes, writers sometimes jump into scripting, and then discover halfway through that their characters lack depth. Though it may seem tedious, it

While no one (except you) will ever read these exercises, your audience will appreciate it when the characters in your film are realistic and well-developed. Read on to find out some fun writing exercises to help develop strong characters.

Make a Trait List

If you’re REALLY stumped on a main character, make “Trait List” of two columns, with the headers of “Desire” and “Hindrance.” Dynamic characters often have a passion or desire (for example, a love of mountain climbing) that is hindered by another trait (like a fear of heights). Put the passion or positive trait under the “Desire” column, and the negative trait under the “Hindrance” column. Just one or two of these pairs will add layers of conflict to your script.

Write a Diary Entry as the Character

This is the tried and true method of getting into your character’s head. Write about important events from your character’s childhood, or something that happens in your screenplay, or just about a typical day. Remember to write in the first person, unless your character is Elmo.

Fill Out an Online Survey as the Character

Remember when you were 14 and writing in your Livejournal (No? Just me? Okay), and you filled out online surveys with questions about everything from who you last texted to how many times you’ve snorted cocaine? If you can answer every one of those questions about your character, you’re ready to write.

Write an Account of an Event in Your Film from Each Character’s Point of View

Once you have a good handle on several of your movie’s major characters, take a pivotal scene from your script and write a description of it from the perspective of each of your characters. It will solidify your characters even more, while helping you develop each one’s specific voice and worldview.