Writing Challenge 14: Create a character chain.

This is just a handy exercise for defining character traits.

To make a character chain choose a fictional character and write three defining characteristics of that character. Then take two of those characteristics and find another character who has them and then choose three new characteristics for your new character and so on.

It can be fun trying to break a complex character down to three traits and surprising when you see some of the odd links in the chain.

Here is mine:

Tony Soprano from The Sopranos.

  1. Violent
  2. Family man
  3. In therapy

Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones.

  1. Cold
  2. Patriarch
  3. Cunning

Jack Torrance from The Shining.

  1. Alcoholic
  2. Cabin fever
  3. Writer

Raoul Duke from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

  1. Cynic
  2. Hedonist
  3. Journalist

Dorian Gray from The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

  1. Immortal
  2. Immoral
  3. Gay(?)

The Kurgan from The Highlander.

  1. Cruel
  2. Unusual
  3. Sword fighter (Does this count as a character trait?)

Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones.

  1. Arrogant
  2. Incestuous
  3. Bastard

Kenny Powers from Eastbound and Down.

  1. Has been
  2. Annoying
  3. Selfish

Peter Campbell from Mad Men.

  1. Scum
  2. Weasel
  3. Sleaze

I’m going to stop there but I could keep going and going. Another way to use this is to take the idea of the chain and look at the characters in your work. When you break them down you can see if they are too similar or if they have enough differences to stand apart. Also if you choose a character and find it hard to find three traits then the character might need a little more work.

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