101 Creative Character Arc Prompts
Need some inspirational help in finding a new and exciting way to develop characters? Thankfully, character arcs aren't as difficult to develop as you might think. You just need a place to start.
A loser becomes a winner. A king becomes a pauper. The skeptic becomes a believer. Often, the best arcs start with a simple question or compelling traits that become the antithesis of the conflict your character is facing.
With that in mind, here are 101 character prompts that writers can test out on their characters — and their story concepts— to find compelling character arcs that can be explored within their stories.
101 Character Arc Prompts
1. What is your character's biggest fear?
2. What is your character's biggest regret?
3. What haunts your character when they stare off into nothing?
4. What, if anything, would your character kill for?
5. What is the most traumatic event from their childhood?
6. What is their most dangerous vice?
7. What is the one obstacle between where they are and what they want most in life?
8. Is your character religious?
9. Is your character anti-religion?
10. Who does your character love?
11. Who is their biggest influence?
12. Who in their lives is a bad influence?
13. What does your character see when they look at themselves in a mirror?
14. Why is the character in their ordinary world at the beginning of the story?
15. Why is your character the one dealing with the main conflict of the story?
16. How does the main conflict most conflict with the main character?
17. Is your character rich or poor?
18. Are they an optimist or pessimist?
19. Does your character have a handicap?
20. Do they have mental health issues?
21. What triggers their mental health issues?
22. Who did they hurt in their past?
23. Who hurt them in their past?
24. What does your character strive for most in their life?
25. What makes them laugh?
26. What makes them cry?
27. What makes them lose their temper?
28. What is the most selfish thing your character has done?
29. What is the most unselfish thing they've done for someone else?
30. Does your character have a lot of friends? If not, why not?
31. What is your character's favorite holiday? Why?
32. What is their least favorite holiday? Why?
33. What is your character's biggest flaw?
34. What is their biggest weakness?
35. What causes anxiety in your character?
36. What triggers them? Why?
37. Who is your character's biggest enemy?
38. Who is your character's best friend? Why?
39. Does your character believe in love at first sight?
40. Have they been in love at all?
41. What are their turn-ons?
42. What are their turn-offs?
43. What gender are your characters?
44. What race is your character?
45. What is your character's sexual orientation?
46. What is the greatest thing your character has done in their lives?
47. Who are their heroes in life? Why?
48. What types of people does your character look down on?
49. Who do they look up to and respect? Why?
50. Who are their mentors?
51. Why would your character refuse a call to adventure?
52. What tragedy most affected their life?
53. What tragedy could they have prevented, but failed to?
54. Who does your character need to make amends to?
55. What are they most grateful for in their lives? Why?
56. What causes them shame?
57. What would give them more confidence in life?
58. What would make them believe in God or a higher power?
59. What would make them not believe?
60. Do they work well with others? Why or why not?
61. Is your character a leader?
62. Is your character a follower? Why?
63. What is the biggest grudge your character is holding onto?
64. Does your character lie?
65. What do they lie about? Why?
66. Is your character a coward? Why?
67. Is your character heroic?
68. What's an ailment they are still trying to recover from?
69. What's an injury they haven't healed from?
70. What caused the injury?
71. What are your character's negative habits?
72. What is their favorite movie? Why?
73. What is their favorite book? Why?
74. Does your character belong to a particular organization?
75. What is their innate identity?
76. What new things would rock their world most? Why?
77. Does your character have a family? If not, why are they alone?
78. What is your character most stubborn about?
79. What taboos have they broken within their community? Do they regret it?
80. Does your character trust people?
81. Is your character trustworthy?
82. Is your character tough?
83. If so, what caused them to be so tough?
84. What would finally "break" your character?
85. Who would your character give their life for most?
86. Is your character loyal?
87. What is your character's greatest bias or prejudice?
88. What is your character's worst nightmare?
89. What is their biggest dream?
90. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to your character?
91. What is your character's favorite place in the world?
92. What location scares them the most?
93. What item does your character treasure most?
94. What is your character's deepest physical scar? How did they get it?
95. Does your character fear authority?
96. Do they fight authority at every turn?
97. If your character could make one wish come true, what would it be?
98. What did your character want to be when they grew up?
99. Why did or didn't it work out that way?
100. What does your character want for their birthday?
101. Who does your character want at their wedding?
WANT MORE IDEAS? TAKE A LOOK AT OUR OTHER STORY PROMPTS!
Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.
He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner, the feature thriller Hunter’s Creed, and many produced and distributed Lifetime thrillers. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies