Character Prompted Writing

Coming back to basics, like character descriptions, can prompt new writing. Today I am using brief character descriptions to prompt writing for my novel. This is useful in times when you have a writing lull…never panic, just go back to a writing exercise to keep writing and keep thinking about your story. This will breathe life, not only into the plot, but into you, the author. In this way, writing exercises can keep you fresh and keep your writing flowing, even on those days when the writing of your actual novel has slowed.

What does Annabella look like?

She has thick, wild hair, the colour of sun bleached hessian, a faded golden brown, flecked with darker strands. She has light green eyes and webbed toes. She is of medium height, but with an athletic, muscular physique.

What does Radka look like?

She has black shiny hair that is iridescent. Her eyes are dark brown – they look almost black except when the light shines on them. She is intelligent, but quarrelsome and headstrong.


What does Adela look like?

She has dark grey hair that flashes silver in the light. Her eyes are a dark olive green colour. Her pale face is dotted with freckles. The skin on her hands is dry, almost scaly, from years of gardening. No matter what potions she rubs into them, they are always scaly. Around her is the smell of time, it exudes from her skin and is caught on her breathe.


These basic descriptions prompted the following piece of writing that could be reworked and extended into an episode for my novel:


“When you came to live with me, your hair was thick even then, and long for your age. It was lighter than it is now, the colour of golden sand, with none of those dark flecks through it. It was wild and unruly, just like you were in those days. You would fight me if I tried to brush it or tie it up.” Gram and I are in the kitchen. I am setting the fire and she is leaning on the handle of her broom, taking a break from cleaning.

“Was I truly awful?”

“You were grieving for your mother, so I made concessions and was patient with you.” She tells me nostalgically, caught in a past memory. “But no excuses now, go and brush your hair! You have half the forest in there; shades of green that match your eyes!”

“No one cares about my hair and no one will see it.” I huff, I hate trying to de-tangle my hair, I just don’t see the point since it will only tangle again.

“I will see it and I care. Now go!” She has her firm voice on.

“Will you tell me the story of why my toes are webbed when I come back?” I love Gram’s stories and find ways to ‘trick’ her into telling them.

“If that will make you brush the wilderness on your head; yes.”

“My eyes are brown!” I call out as I leave the fireplace and skip off to tend to my hair. Actually, my eyes are more light green with brown flecks.


Photo credit: Wolf paw

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