Character Date Ideas #3

This week, we’re taking a look at different ways to spend time with our characters.

Why “spend time” with them, you ask? Because we want to learn more about them…and since most of us don’t have a crystal ball, we’ll have to actually get to know those characters up close and personal-like.

Photo courtesy of Santiago Nicolau, Flickr Creative Commons

If you want your characters to trust you with their innermost thoughts, feelings, fears, and desires, you need a good relationship with them. Or–if your characters aren’t the trusting types–then you’ll need time to learn to read between the lines of whatever they DO tell you.

We looked at a few “character date” ideas on Monday and Wednesday. We’ll wrap things up today with some more general resources on creativity. If you have any to add to the list, please give me a shout in the comments!


I’m a huge fan of freewriting as a multipurpose brainstorming tool. Writing longhand, without letting your pen or pencil stop moving, helps you engage your subconscious mind. Just start writing…and play around. See where the words take you. This tool can help you get past plot problems, make unexpected connections, and discover the source of creative blocks, as well as help you to delve deeper into your character’s psyche.

If freewriting is a new concept for you, Buster Benson has a terrific how-to overview over on

Play with a Creativity Exercise

Finally, you can always spend some time with your characters by devoting a creative exercise or three to him or her. There are lots of sources for brainstorming strategies and writing prompts out there, but here are a few resources to help get you started:

The hidden price of "productivity" every writer needs to know -

You’ve probably read the same tips I have: Have a smart phone? Check Facebook while standing in line at the post office! Respond to Twitter messages while waiting for your dentist! Catch up on your news feed while sitting on the pot! For years, I thought the path to increased productivity was to squeeze in MORE–more […]