Oh, misbehave

So you’ve planned out your story and have been working at it diligently, but now you’re stumped. The story has suddenly stopped writing itself…

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stock character from recycled spam

So your main character walks into a bar and is looking for the suspect in a homicide. The bartender does not know anything, but he thinks your main character should chat with the girl at the end of the bar.

You’re all set to have the main character walk over there with picture and notebook in hand and begin his detective work, but who is the person at the end of the bar?

This is a fine opportunity to raid your spambox for character prompts. From the example above:

Jane York, age 23, works for a internet company, and thinks your main character is sexy. That’s plenty to go on for a stock character. Consider why Jane York is there: don’t get too deep unless you want to really make them a character in the story.

Some sample motivations for Jane York, 23:

  • She’s on vacation. Her husband is upstairs in the hotel room, passed out.
  • She’s on a business trip, attending a job fair tomorrow.
  • She’s a spy on the job, but nothing involving your main character.
  • She’s casing the bar for a future heist.
  • This is her “Cheers” bar and she’s on her way to getting completely sauced.


I haven’t worked on my nano novel yet today. Time to get the coffee going and jump in!



An automatic door slides open. The cashier looks up and sees that a man has come through the door on crutches. The man is unshaven and has a bewildered look about him. The cashier reaches…

In less than ten sentences change both of their lives forever and reveal at least one secret.

Emergency Action

>>prompted by Elise Miller<<

The lights were flickering. Mandy James was standing there in hot pink, talking about the weather. The banter was lukewarm on “Live at Five” and she had just a few moments now alone with the viewers to make her forecast. She stopped as a bulb went out and the quake came into full force. It had been only been one and a half seconds, but that was enough. “Spike, get under the door!” Mandy James scurried off and disappeared into the projection. On the other side of the projection, really just beyond the green walled area, Mandy James ran smack into Andy. He wrapped his thin arms around her and she responded by tucking her body into his. The earthquake subsided and they waited in this embrace for another full seven seconds. On the eighth second Mandy pushed herself away. She leaned up against the wall and began to gasp as if she’d just completed a race. Andy pressed into her and kissed her roughly. She then wedged their faces apart by hand. “Composure, Andy! We’re supposed to be working!”

7/24 List Prompt

Band of Thieves

Imagine that you have an extensive dossier on just about everyone you've ever met in your life.
List six people that you would nominate for an elite band of thieves.
Name some of the characteristics that qualify them.

  • There's this guy that panhandles in my neighborhood. He's there all the time, smells bad, talks funny. He has a way of seeming like he belongs just about anywhere. I think he could panhandle in a bank and no one would be put off. According to his dossier, he was a CIA operative for many years.
  • Neighbor kid. He has the tenacity to work on computer simulations for hours on end. According to his dossier, his skills are developing quickly. I should nab this young talent before anyone else stakes their claim. 
  • The guy that works at UPS. He's a smooth talker. I've spent way too much money just so he could put peanuts in a box. That swindler! According to his dossier, he hasn't paid taxes in eleven years. I could use that tidbit to my advantage.