ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Writers Exercise #1: Character Creation

Updated on October 28, 2011

Writers Exercises

When it comes to breaking out into the world of writing, your best source of inspiration and skill gathering is to start with Writers Exercises. So if you're seeking to hone your skills, get past some writers block or you're just looking for something interesting to do, read on!

This is the first of many writers exercises to come, and I call it -

Writers Exercise #1: Character Creation.

The importance of characters

Whether you are dreaming of a fictional adventure or something more grounded, you'll always need characters. Even if the only character ends up being you, being the narrator, it will still do you a world of good to know how to create characters easily and effortlessly.

This exercise is obviously going to be the best for fictional novels or stories, because it will help you learn to think outside of your comfort zone and stretch your imagination. This is a crucial skill if you are to be able to follow your inspirational flow when it hits, otherwise you might get stopped up trying to think about creating characters along the way. Which just won't do. When you are writing, you want to make it easy to overcome hurdles that crop up. It's okay if you knock the hurdle down along the way, as long as you can keep going. Then you can pick up the bar on the way back and give it a bigger leap as it truly needs.

Character creation is also a vital skill because without characters, you'll have a hard time telling your story. The characters in a story are who your reader are going to connect with, and for that matter, they are who you (the author) are going to connect with as you write. Without a well developed main character (or two) and plenty of minor characters, your going to find your story floating down the white waters without a raft.

So in order to help you become a better writer and to help you gain skills in character creation, I'm going to give you two very awesome exercises that will challenge you and help you grow as a writer.

Create a Hero/Heroine

Okay, for this exercise, I want you to start from scratch. You can be literal and use a pencil to scratch out your character on paper, or you can go digital with the times and carve your character from your keys. Either way, you only need a writing medium and your imagination for this exercise.

Now, the first thing I want you to do, is close your eyes and take several deep and controlled breaths. Calm and center yourself, and then ask the universe to provide you with your hero or heroine. Don't worry about what the story will be to go along with them, and don't worry about details at this point. Just keep your eyes closed, your thoughts focused and your mind open to what the muses might offer you now.

What do you see? A boy? A man? A girl?

Are they small, fat, short, tall, gangly, muscle bound, malnourished?

Do they look happy, sad, angry or afraid?

What color is his or her eyes? Are their lips thin or plush? Do they have any visible scars, birthmarks or injuries? What color is their hair and what style is the cut?

Take the time to really dwell on any visions or intuitions that come and show you your hero or heroine. Don't rush this process, but don't force yourself to focus longer then it feels right.

Once you've discovered your character, ask them what their name is. This might seem silly, but it really isn't. This character who has found you, will have their own name and you only have to ask and allow the name to come to you.

Once you have their name and a picture in your head of what they look like, then you can get down to the nitty gritty and find out all about them. This is the fun part, because I want you to picture this character as if they are a real person and you are interviewing them about their life right now. Ask them questions like:

  • Where did you grow up?
  • How was your childhood?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What do you want more than anything else in the world?
  • Whats your favorite book and movie?
  • Who are your parents?
  • Who do you live with?
  • Where are you going?
  • What do you like most about yourself?
  • What bothers you most about people?
  • Do you like animals?
  • What do you prefer - cats or dogs?
  • Do you speak any other languages?
  • Do you have a favorite flavor of ice cream?
  • What are three things you love about yourself?
  • What are three things you most dislike about yourself?

Continue with the interview until you feel comfortable stopping, or when you don't feel there are any more answers coming. You'll know when it's time.

Once you've got your interview done, take the information and put it all together into a short story about your Hero or Heroine. Again, don't worry about what story they are going to be in, just go with the natural flow of things. If a story idea hits you in the middle of it all, write down the idea on a separate note pad.

50 Characters

This is probably one of my favorite exercises, and probably one of the most challenging you'll ever come across when it comes to character creation. The instructions are really straight forward, so don't be fooled by them. At the same time, don't be discouraged if you run into any creative blocks towards the end.

So, what I want you to do, is create 50 Characters. In order to save some time and confusion, I'm going to give you an example of what your created characters should be like.

1. Name: Betsy Carbeanor
Age: 25
Height: 5'5
Weight: 105 lbs
Hair Color: Red
Hair Style: Pony Tail
Uses: Glasses
Eyes: Green
Skin: Tan/Smooth
Wears: Jeans & Tank Tops
Lives in: Seattle, Washington
Hometown: Everett, Washington
Job: File Clerk at Court House
Likes: Puppies
Dislikes: Horror Movies Needs: A New Shower Curtain
Biggest Vice: Ice Cream
Strength: Generosity
Weakness: Too Trusting
Others would describe as: a very bubbly personality, always willing to help
One Childhood Memory: Her dad bought her a balloon at a fair, and it flew away into the sky
Deepest Desire: To become a great novel writer
Biggest Secret: Closet Pot Smoker

2. Name: Dan Stanford
Age: 36
Height: 5'11
Weight: 215 lbs
Hair Color: Brown
Hair Style: Crew Cut
Uses: Hear Aide
Eyes: Blue
Skin: Olive Color
Wears: Dickies and a button up shirt
Lives in: Edmonds, Washington
Hometown: Juno, Alaska
Job: Nursing Assistant
Likes: Monster Trucks
Dislikes: Dogs
Needs: A Better Job
Biggest Vice: Cigarettes
Strength: Business
Weakness: Under-confident
Others would describe as: Quiet
One childhood Memory: His dad left him and his brother on the side of the road for an hour
Deepest Desire: To have his own successful construction business
Biggest Secret: Sometimes he still wets the bed at night

3. Name: Jessy Cavour
Age: 19
Height: 6'1
Weight: 202 lbs
Hair Color: Black
Hair Style: Down to neck
Uses: Contact lenses
Eyes: Steal grey
Skin: pale white
Wears: truckers hat and sweat pants
Lives in: Boise, Idaho
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Job: unemployed
Likes: to be shirtless
Dislikes: 9 to 5 jobs
Needs: Lower back surgery
Biggest Vice: Drinking
Strength: Tenacious
Weakness: Stubborn
Others would describe as: Late all the time
One childhood Memory: When he was 5, he got a puppy for christmas.
Deepest Desire: To be reunited with his long lost older sister who was adopted
Biggest Secret: Likes to wear women's underwear

4. Name: Joanna Liclor
Age: 69
Height: 5'7
Weight: 161 lbs
Hair Color: Gray and brown
Hair Style: Short and curly
Uses: Glasses
Eyes: Amber
Skin: tan and wrinkly with freckles
Wears: Lots of lace and silk
Lives in: Forks, Washington
Hometown: Walla Walla, Washington
Job: Store Demonstrator
Likes: Sugar Coated Pineapple
Dislikes: Reptiles
Needs: a Companion
Biggest Vice: Junk Food
Strength: Years of experience
Weakness: Agoraphobia
Others would describe as: Sincere and a bit eccentric
One childhood Memory: When she was 15, she met the love of her life at a cafe
Deepest Desire: To not die alone
Biggest Secret: Has $100,000 in a safe that is buried in her garden

5. Name: Henry Hobson
Age: 14
Height: 5'9
Weight: 150 lbs
Hair Color: Brown
Hair Style: Shagy
Uses: Anxiety Medication
Eyes: Hazel
Skin: Black
Wears: Dress pants and vest-sweaters
Lives in: South Park, Colorado
Hometown: Ephrata, Washington
Job: Student
Likes: Physics
Dislikes: Art
Needs: More friends
Biggest Vice: Keeps to himself to much
Strength: Extremely smart
Weakness: Social anxiety
Others would describe as: Keeps to himself mostly, bit of a nerd
One childhood Memory: In 4th grade the school bully stuffed him in his locker
Deepest Desire: To have one friend who truly understands him
Biggest Secret: Thinks he might be gay

When you start to create these characters, don't try to dwell to much on each bit of info. Just go with what first comes into your mind and follow the flow. This will make the task less daunting and will help bring out your inner creativity. Also, don't worry to much if several of your characters have the same traits as other characters. Lots of people have things in common and your characters will to. So long as you aren't making all characters the same, there is nothing wrong with similarities.

Did you try these exercises?

See results


Submit a Comment

  • krazikat profile image

    Ophelia Madden 

    7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

    Great stuff!

  • SubRon7 profile image

    James W. Nelson 

    7 years ago from eastern North Dakota

    Good hub, Bizgengirl, you have your own file but I'm putting this one in my favorites, in case I ever get stumped. As for characters, I had to create a special file just to list them all, so that I could type in a name and find out instantly if I had used it yet. And after reading your hub this morning I got curious as to how many there are: (283 named characters)

    Thanks for a good hub.

    James W. Nelson

  • manisha2877 profile image


    7 years ago from Amritsar, Punjab, India

    thank you for sharing its really nice i liked it.

    all the best

    take care


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)