“Characters that haunt you.”

From the daily post’s weekly writing challenge: pick a character that’s been on your mind. Answer questions about them and put them in different scenarios. I’m picking one of the main characters from my novel – I’ll call him P. I think about him probably a lot more than I should, now that the book is over. Here are the questions from the Daily Post:

Pick one of the characters that inhabit your brain. Today is that character’s birthday! They’re going to emerge from your head to appear in a new scene on your page or screen.

Document at least five important characteristics of your character — the idea is to capture as much detail about them as possible to get to know who they are. Your character is entirely up to you — it could be a human, or an animal, or an inanimate object. The idea is to allow the character to escape the confines of your imagination and become alive on the page. Here are some characteristics to consider — though this list is just a starting point. Experiment! Free yourself from constraints.

Sample characteristics:
Is your character a human, animal, inanimate object, or other type of being? Human.

How old is your character? He is 21 in the beginning, 23 at the end.

Create a physical description including height, weight, race, hair color, and eye color. Does your character have any identifying marks? Birthmarks? Scars? Tattoos? Piercings? He is 6’2″(162cm) and around 195 pounds(88kg), white, blonde hair, blue eyes. No, not really. Maybe a couple of scars from fighting and stuff when he was a kid.

What’s your character’s gender? Male.

Does your character have a job? A special hobby? A particular passion? He is a car mechanic, and I’d say his passion is making enough money, legally or not, to do whatever the hell he wants without people telling him no.

What is your character’s greatest fear? Losing his family and being in a position of vulnerability.

What does your character long for most in life? What do they hope for? Dream about? He wants himself and his family to be safe and happy. Eventually one day he wants to leave New York City and live a decent life somewhere in upstate, away from all the bullshit.

What motivates your character? Do they act out of fear? Self preservation? Love? Ambivalence? It started out with love and wanting to protect his family from struggling. Then he sort of went on a power trip and since he was so deep into the hole he dug for himself, self-preservation started to take over.


Now that you’ve fleshed out your character in greater detail, write a scene that involves your character. You can plop your character into one of the locations below, or you can invent your own place and time. The scene can be any length you choose, though for the purposes of this challenge, compose at least one paragraph that features your character. What are they doing? Why are they there? What are they thinking about and why?

Sample locations:

Downtown New York City. Bustle. Hustle. Taxi horns blaring: This wouldn’t be new to him. He would have a reason to be in downtown, probably to meet a guy who will hook him up with his product, and just be thinking about getting his business done.

The Burning Man festival: I have no idea what this is, sorry. I will look it up later; I’m on a time limit right now.
In the departure lounge at Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg, Canada: Probably sitting in one of the seats, eating some kind of fast food and tapping his foot since he hates waiting.

At an old gas station on the edge of your city or town: The only gas station I have around here is Shell and it’s always packed so there’s really nothing to do but get your gas and get moving. He’s not the type of guy to go somewhere just to go, unless he’s on vacation. He’s too busy usually.

At a public library: Probably wondering what the hell he was doing there. He is not much of a reader.

At the seaside: He is probably hanging out with his friends and sitting by the ocean, wearing sunglasses, eating. Checking out women in bathing suits.

Planet Neptune: Can anyone survive on planet Neptune?

Middle-earth: See above. Isn’t it too hot down there?

Remember — you’re the boss. Feel free to choose from the list of characteristics. Mix and match, or invent your own list — only you know which characteristics and location are most important about the character that inhabits your brain. So looking forward to reading what you write. Have fun!


12 thoughts on ““Characters that haunt you.”

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