Prepping for NaNoWriMo 2014? Fleshing out characters for your novel-in-progress or novel-to-be? Today we offer fun doodling prompts for character development from author and master doodler Lisa Currie, whose new book ME, YOU, US is just out from Perigee Books. You can download and print these exclusive prompts by clicking on the hyperlinked words in the text below. Share yours with us on social media! (And check out the examples I did for the MC in my NaNo project below!)
U.S. Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, did it. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did it. So did Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Bill Gates, Winston Churchill, Larry David, and Vidal Sassoon. Famous authors throughout the ages have done it, including Vladimir Nabokov, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Keats, Sylvia Plath, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. They were doodlers, all of them. Good thing, too, because recent studies* have shown that doodling unleashes the power of the creative mind. Think of it as creating off-road trails between neurons.
While freeform doodling has proven benefits, we’d like to take it a step further and offer some targeted doodling and scribbling for writers. Need a break from your WIP? Stuck on a scene, character description, or plot detail? Unleash the power of scribbling and doodling! Imagine, for a moment, what Jane Austen might have had Lizzie select in a mixtape for Mr. Darcy? What might that have said about Lizzie? Or Mr. Darcy, for that matter. Think of your character in a room. Then, try drawing what your character would see if he or she turned and looked out a window. Another example: Imagine what your protagonist might wish for if a genie granted three wishes. How would that change if your protagonist were granted three wishes at the end of the book, rather than the beginning?
This isn’t to say add mixtapes or a genie and three wishes to the story, but instead, harness this sort of doodling and scribbling to really flesh out your characters. Writers can use these sorts of prompts to delve deeper into character, plot, or scene so that what appears on the finished page is rich and fully developed. Characters, after all, are people too.
Lisa Currie is the author of The Scribble Diary; Me, You, Us; and the forthcoming The Positivity Kit. Me, You, Us was one of the books in the Creativity Kit Sweepstakes in September. She created and adapted these prompts from her books for writers to use, exclusively for Book Country. Learn more about Lisa and her books by following her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
*Studies on the power of the doodle have been conducted by the University of Plymouth, the University of Nottingham, and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.