For me, writer’s block is a funny thing. Back before I started teaching, when I got writer’s block I just…well, I just dealt with it, wallowed in it, avoided it by not writing, it depended on my mood. After I started teaching and I watched my students come up against it, however, my attitude toward it changed. After all, I wasn’t going to tell a student with writer’s block that my main way of handling it was by stewing over it, or even worse running away from it. It was my job as their teaching artist to find a way to help my students work through it. Or better yet, I wanted to find a way to help my students prepare for that inevitable moment of getting stuck.
This guided writing activity is just one of a number of ways that I help my students create a “Well of Ideas” that they can return to at any point during the writing process. Each idea they generate becomes an opportunity that they can capitalize on later on, whether they’re having trouble getting started, they’re stuck in the middle of a first draft, or they’re trying to deepen or flesh out their story during revisions. This particular activity starts to fill the Well of Ideas through the lens of character. You can do this activity just once for your main character, or you can repeat the activity for as many characters in your story as you wish. In fact, this is a great activity to help writers make a three-dimensional antagonist, too.
While I’ve lead guided writing activities countless times during workshops, this is my first ever recorded guided writing activity. I hope you enjoy it!
GUIDED WRITING #1 – MINING YOUR CHARACTER
Writing Process: Character Development, Idea Generation, First Draft, Revision, Writer’s Block
Genres: Fiction, Playwriting, Poetry, Memoir
Summary: This guided writing activity leads the writer through a series of four prompts for a character of the writer’s choosing. The material each prompt generates can be used early in the writing process, in the middle of a first draft, or during revision as a way to find a place to begin, to liven up a story, or to push through writer’s block.
To listen and do this guided writing activity, visit here.
Happy Writing! I’ll be returning to the concept of building a Well of Ideas in the future, so be sure to visit again soon. If you have any questions or comments about the activity, or if you want to share some personal discoveries you had about your character, please comment below or contact me.