10 Character and World-Building Prompts

     There's nothing like a good prompt to spark ideas, whether it be for a character, or a world! I love scrolling through prompts, and imagining how a new or prexisting character would react in a certain situation, or learn more about them.

    So to help you come with ideas for, or expand on, your story world and characters, today I've put together ten character and world-building prompts!




#1 -- Blind Explorer

You are a blind explorer in a foreign land. You pause for a moment, to gain a better understanding of the place. What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you feel when you reach a hand out? What sounds surround you? How would you describe the culture of this new land?

#2 -- Ruined Library

In your travels you stumble across a hollow, burnt out building. You climb over a fallen pillar, boots chuffing through ash, and slip inside. After exploring its shell for a few minutes, burnt air grating on your nose, your eyes catch on some pages tucked under a black coated bench. There’s writing on them, and appear to be from some kind of book. What does it say? Is is a history book, literature, or can you not tell? What happened to this place?



#3 -- Map of Blood

Pull up a copy of your story-world map--if you don’t have one, start afresh. Instead of marking where the mountains and rivers lie, mark where cities or towns are with dots. (Or if it’s a more zoomed in map, the outline of houses.) Don’t add details. Grab a red pen or pencil, are mark the places where violence has occurred. The more red, the darker the history of the place.

Was a war fought on that plain? How many died in that house? Think through what caused the bloodshed in each place as you unleash red upon your world.

#4 -- City of Paradoxes

Think of one word to define your city. Let’s say you said “bright”. Tell me about the parts that aren’t bright. Tell me about the dark nooks and crannies that residents overlook. Who or what lives there? Or maybe it’s “poor”. Who then are considered the rich? Where do they live, and what do their lives look like?

A vibrant world is crafted on opposites, on still and twisted reflections alike. Tell me about yours.

#5 -- Ancient Tree

You walk by an ancient tree in the city square, everyday on your way to work, and your way back home. One night you've worked late, and enter the square. A thick silence lies over it, until you hear a voice call your name. You follow it until you arrive at the base of the towering tree, branches knotted, with grooves and twisting bark. It's watched this city for thousands of years -- what has it seen? What does it need to tell you? What city secrets does it know?



#6 -- A Pair of Mirrors

Bring your character over to a pair of mirrors. The first one will show them what they really look like, and the second, a reflection of what they think they look like. Ask them to choose one which one they forever want to see, without explaining which is which. Which side do they choose? Why?

#7 -- A Body's History

Draw your character’s body, with or without as much clothing as you feel comfortable with. Get coloured pencils, make a key, and mark where they’ve been hurt, or felt the warm encouraging touch from a loved one. Any physical scars? Show that. Mental scars? Add that in, too.

Then, if you feel comfortable, write the story behind each mark.

#8 -- I'll Give You My Heart

Draw a heart, life-like or otherwise, and break it up into sections. Who owns the largest section? Are there any shattered pieces that still belong to someone else? Are there dozens of names, or only one? Is it just people, or are there religious figures, gods, animals, or possessions there too?



#9 -- My Thoughts are a Mess

Go for a little journey into your character’s mind. Hold up a flower in front of them, and follow their thought process for five minutes. Does the flower smell remind them of something? What? And what does that memory remind them of? Where do their thoughts end up? Or maybe they don’t care about the flower. What then do they care about? Or don’t they? Are they shut off from their emotions?

Down the rabbit hole we go.

#10 -- Different Era

Your character suddenly finds themselves in another era, either hundreds or dozens of years in the future, or past. What is their initial reaction? Do they stand out? What do they think about the new society’s customs and culture? Are they fast to make friends? Do they furiously search for a way to get back home, or do they want to stay?



Which prompt is your favourite? Do you find prompts spark ideas, or help you get to know your characters/world better?
Good luck with your writing, and have a great day! <3

Comments

  1. Now these look really interesting! Thanks for posting them, Melissa!

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Catherine, I'm glad you enjoyed them! :)

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  2. I am bookmarking this page because there is such good stuff here for DEEPENING! *chuckles *

    D.G. Snapper | silverphoenixwriter.blogspot.com

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