Character Development Writing Prompts:  With Free Worksheet

Character Development Writing Prompts with Free Worksheet

Explore the wonderful realm of character development writing prompts. Dig into a treasure trove of prompts we’ve made to help you construct your own characters. Prepare to be inspired by their appearance as well as their motivation. Grab a pen and join us as we explore the world of character development for your stories.

Download our Free printable character analysis sheets for students to craft their own characters. This is a simple yet powerful tool to spark deep character exploration and creative storytelling.

image of the free downloadable Character Development worksheet

Physical Attributes

When bringing a character to life, describing their physical appearance is a crucial starting point. Just like painting a picture, vivid details help readers visualise your character and connect with them on a deeper level. Here are some prompts to kickstart your imagination:

Describe Your Character:

  • What does your character look like? Are they male or female?  Are they tall or short, slim or muscular?
  • You can dive into specifics: What is their eye colour? Hair colour and style? Any distinguishing features like scars or tattoos?

Body Language and Expressions:

  • How does your character carry themselves? Are they confident, slouched, or fidgety?
  • Consider their facial expressions: Do they smile easily, frown often, or have a mysterious gaze?

Clothing and Accessories:

  • What does your character wear? Is their style modern, vintage, or quirky?
  • Are there any accessories that define them, like a signature hat or a necklace with sentimental value?

Age 

  • How old is your character? Are they youthful and energetic, or wise beyond their years?

Facial Features:

  • Dive into the specifics of your character’s face: Are their eyes almond-shaped, doe-like, or piercing?
  • Describe their nose: Is it button-shaped, aquiline, or perhaps slightly crooked?
  • What about their mouth? Do they have a wide grin, thin lips, or a mischievous smirk?

Hair Texture and Style:

  • Explore the texture of their hair: Is it silky smooth, curly, or wiry?
  • How do they style their hair? Is it neatly combed, tousled, or adorned with colourful hair accessories?

Height and Posture:

  • Consider your character’s height in relation to others: Are they towering over their peers, or do they blend into the crowd?

Personality Traits

While physical appearance sets the stage, it’s the character’s personality that truly steals the spotlight. Personality traits shape how characters think, feel, and interact with the world around them. Here are some prompts to help you delve into the depths of your character’s personality:

Core Traits:

  • Define the fundamental aspects of your character’s personality: For example are they brave, kind-hearted, or fiercely independent?
  • Explore contrasting traits: Are they shy yet fiercely loyal, or confident but prone to self-doubt?

Strengths and Weaknesses:

  • Identify your character’s strengths: What are they exceptionally good at, and how do these abilities benefit them?
  • Acknowledge their weaknesses: What are their limitations or areas where they struggle, and how do these vulnerabilities shape their actions and decisions?

Emotional Range:

  • Consider how your character experiences and expresses emotions: Do they wear their heart on their sleeve, or are they more guarded and reserved?
  • Explore a range of emotions: How do they react to joy, anger, sadness, fear, and surprise?

Values and Beliefs:

  • Reflect on what matters most to your character: What are their core values, and how do these beliefs influence their choices and relationships?
  • Explore any moral dilemmas they may face: How do they navigate ethical challenges and deal with conflicting beliefs?

Behavioural Patterns:

  • Observe recurring patterns in your character’s behaviour: Do they have specific habits, quirks, or rituals that define them?
  • Consider how they interact with others: Are they outgoing and sociable, or introverted and introspective?

Background and History

Every character has a story to tell, shaped by their past experiences, upbringing, and environment. Delving into your character’s background and history adds layers of depth and complexity to their persona. Here are some prompts to uncover the roots of your character’s journey:

Origin Story:

  • Begin with the basics: Where was your character born and raised?
  • Explore their family background: Who are their parents, siblings, or guardians, and what is their relationship like?

Early Memories:

  • Reflect on pivotal moments from your character’s childhood: What are their earliest memories, and how do these experiences shape their worldview?
  • Consider significant events that have shaped their identity: Did they encounter any challenges or triumphs that left a lasting impact?

Cultural Influences:

  • Explore the cultural context in which your character was raised: What customs, traditions, or values are ingrained in their upbringing?
  • Consider how their cultural background influences their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours.

Educational Journey:

  • Trace your character’s educational path: Did they attend formal schooling, receive homeschooling, or embark on self-directed learning?
  • Reflect on their academic achievements, struggles, and interests: How do they approach learning and intellectual pursuits?

Life-changing Events:

  • Identify significant milestones or turning points in your character’s life: What pivotal events have shaped their trajectory?
  • Explore how they respond to adversity: Do they emerge stronger and more resilient, or do they grapple with trauma and uncertainty?

Goals and Motivations

At the heart of every compelling character lies a driving force: their goals and motivations. These aspirations propel characters forward, shaping their actions and decisions throughout their journey. Here are prompts to uncover the driving forces behind your character’s quest:

Identify Goals:

  • What does your character aspire to achieve? Define their overarching goals, whether they’re striving for personal growth, seeking adventure, or pursuing a specific ambition.
  • Explore short-term and long-term objectives: What immediate challenges do they face, and what aspirations guide their future plans?

Uncover Motivations:

  • Reflect on the underlying motivations that fuel your character’s actions: What drives them to pursue their goals with determination and passion?
  • Consider external and internal motivations: Are they motivated by external rewards, such as fame or fortune, or internal desires, such as personal fulfilment or a sense of justice?

Explore Ambitions and Dreams:

  • Encourage your character to dream big: What are their wildest aspirations, and how do these dreams inspire them to overcome obstacles?
  • Consider how their ambitions evolve over time: Do they remain steadfast in their pursuits, or do their goals shift in response to new experiences and revelations?

Confront Obstacles:

  • Anticipate the challenges and obstacles your character will encounter on their journey: What hurdles stand in the way of achieving their goals?
  • Explore how they respond to setbacks: Do they persevere in the face of adversity, or do they grapple with doubt and uncertainty?

Align Goals with Values:

  • Ensure your character’s goals align with their values and beliefs: How do their aspirations reflect their core principles and moral compass?
  • Explore the ethical dilemmas they may face: Do they wrestle with conflicting desires or navigate the grey areas between right and wrong?

Relationships

No character exists in isolation; their journey is shaped by the relationships they form with others. Whether it’s friends, family, or foes, these connections add depth and dimension to your character’s story. Here are prompts to explore the intricacies of your character’s relationships:

Define Key Relationships:

  • Identify the significant people in your character’s life: Who are their closest friends, family members, or mentors?
  • Explore the dynamics of these relationships: What role does each person play in shaping your character’s identity and experiences?

Friendships:

  • Dive into the bonds of friendship: Who are your character’s closest companions, and what draws them together?
  • Explore the qualities that define their friendships: Do they share common interests, values, or experiences?
  • Consider how their friendships evolve over time: Do they face conflicts and challenges, or do they stand the test of time?

Family Dynamics:

  • Examine the complexities of family relationships: What is your character’s relationship like with their parents, siblings, or other relatives?
  • Explore the dynamics of their family unit: Do they have a close-knit family, or do they grapple with dysfunction and discord?
  • Reflect on the influence of family on your character’s upbringing and values: How do their familial ties shape their identity and worldview?

Rivalries and Conflicts:

  • Introduce adversaries and rivals who challenge your character: Who are their antagonists, and what motivates their conflicts?
  • Explore the source of tension and rivalry: Is it rooted in competition, jealousy, or differing ideologies?
  • Consider how these conflicts drive your character’s growth and shape their journey: Do they rise to the occasion and overcome their adversaries, or do they succumb to the pressure of their rivals?

Romantic Relationships:

  • Delve into the realm of romance: Does your character have a love interest, and what sparks their attraction?
  • Explore the dynamics of their romantic relationships: Are they filled with passion and romance, or do they face obstacles and misunderstandings?
  • Consider how love and romance influence your character’s decisions and choices: Do they find strength and support in their partner, or do they grapple with heartache and betrayal?

Unique Abilities or Skills

Every character possesses special talents or abilities that set them apart from others. These unique skills add depth to their personality and contribute to their role in the story’s narrative. Here are prompts to help you explore your character’s exceptional traits:

Identify Special Abilities:

  • Determine what makes your character extraordinary: Do they possess innate talents, magical powers, or acquired skills that distinguish them from others?
  • Explore a range of abilities: Are they gifted in the arts, skilled in combat, or endowed with supernatural powers?

Explore Origins of Abilities:

  • Delve into the origins of your character’s abilities: Are they inherited traits passed down through generations, or are they acquired through training and discipline?
  • Consider the source of their powers: Are they a product of science, magic, or divine intervention?

Develop Skills and Expertise:

  • Showcase your character’s expertise in their field: What skills have they honed through practice and dedication?
  • Highlight their proficiency in specific areas: Are they a master strategist, a virtuoso musician, or a skilled inventor?

Unique Traits and Attributes:

  • Consider unusual traits that set your character apart: Do they possess heightened senses, extraordinary agility, or the ability to communicate with animals?
  • Explore how these unique attributes shape their identity and role in the story: Do they use their abilities for good, or are they tempted by darker temptations?

Limitations and Drawbacks:

  • Acknowledge the limitations of your character’s abilities: Are there weaknesses or vulnerabilities that balance out their strengths?
  • Explore the consequences of their powers: Do they face challenges or moral dilemmas as a result of their unique abilities?

Moral Dilemmas

In the complex tapestry of storytelling, moral dilemmas add depth and nuance to your character’s journey, presenting them with challenging choices that test their values and principles. Here are prompts to explore the ethical conundrums your character may face:

Define Moral Principles:

  • Establish the moral compass guiding your character’s decisions: What values and principles do they hold dear, and how do these beliefs shape their worldview?
  • Explore their sense of right and wrong: Are they guided by a strict code of ethics, or do they navigate moral grey areas with uncertainty?

Present Ethical Challenges:

  • Introduce scenarios that force your character to confront difficult choices: What moral dilemmas do they encounter on their journey, and how do they respond?
  • Explore conflicting priorities: Do they prioritise personal gain over the greater good, or are they willing to sacrifice their own interests for the sake of others?

Explore Consequences:

  • Consider the consequences of your character’s decisions: How do their choices impact themselves and those around them?
  • Reflect on the ripple effects of their actions: Do they inadvertently cause harm or sow seeds of redemption through their choices?

Internal Struggles and Growth:

  • Dive into your character’s internal struggles: How do they grapple with conflicting desires and moral ambiguity?
  • Explore their journey of growth and self-discovery: Do they learn from their mistakes and strive to become better individuals, or do they succumb to temptation and regret?

Resolution and Redemption:

  • Reflect on how your character resolves moral dilemmas: Do they find redemption through acts of courage and selflessness, or do they wrestle with guilt and remorse?
  • Consider the lessons learned from their experiences: How do moral dilemmas shape your character’s evolution and contribute to their growth as individuals?

Character development writing prompts are here to help you with your character creation.  Here we have examined every aspect of character development and creation, from  their physical appearance to their motives.  We have uncovered their backgrounds, investigated their relationships, and acknowledged their skills.  Use these character development writing prompts together with the free printable character descriptions sheet.  Numerous stories are just waiting to be told, and your characters are sure to spark the imagination.

Don’t forget to use these character writing prompts together with our free character development worksheet.

Free Character Worksheet