Here’s a character development exercise we did last Saturday at VoiceCATCH. Try this with a writing buddy, although you can do step #2 yourself.
1. Create a character. Give this character a name and jot down a few of his/her characteristics: personality and physical traits, favorite foods, hobbies, etc.
2. Trade notebooks with a partner. Read about your partner’s character, and write an “if” or “when” sentence using the character described. For example, “If Beatrice were a butterfly, she’d be purple.” Or, “When Louie took the garbage out, somehow the bag would always split, and he’d leave a trail of coffee grounds and eggshells from the kitchen to the curb.”
3. Return the notebooks to their original owners. Read the “if” or “when” statement your partner wrote for you. Begin a piece of writing using your new character, and try to incorporate your partner’s sentence at some point.
Wrap up: How did the “if” or “when” sentence change your understanding of the character? Did your partner see something you didn’t?