Characters come in many forms, and not all of them are happy protagonists who light up a room. Antagonists, villains, and grumpies may not be the most likeable characters but they’re still important to the story.
I was recently procrastinating writing a chapter from the perspective of my novel’s antagonist, purely because he was someone I wouldn’t get along with in real life. But once I started writing through their eyes I saw all their motivations and reasoning, and realised they weren’t so bad.
This week’s writing prompt is about seeing through new perspectives and creating complex characters.
Create a Villain
Come up with a character that is so opposite to you that you couldn’t stand them if they were in the room with you. Give them beliefs that would get you into a heated debate, give them personality traits that would make you cringe, and a lifestyle that would make you sick. Go all out with this, and create the most horrible person that you can imagine.
Learn to Like Them
Jump into your character’s mind (this can be easier said than done) and find something about your character that gives a reason as to why they’re so villainous.
We all have experiences that shape us, so determine what life-changing experiences your character went through. Try and see how they justify their actions, and why they are perfectly reasonable from their perspective.
You might not necessarily 'like' them by the end of it, but you'll certainly understand them much better.
This writing prompt allows you to make a multi-dimensional character, someone who isn’t a black and white cardboard cut-out cliché but who is on their way to being round and real.
For more challenges to test out your writing techniques, head to our writing prompts page. Happy writing!