60 Things For Your Characters To Do When They Talk Or Think

60 Things For Your Characters To Do When They Talk Or Think

When you do this, you show who the character is by the things they choose to do or have to do. You also have to think about their body language, because the way a character does something says as much as the words they are speaking as they do it. [Read Cheat Sheets for Writing Body Language]

Try to avoid the act of scrolling through cell phones. Even if many people do this, it is passive and does not allow for movement, thought, and changes in body language.

Choose activities that fit naturally into your characters’ lifestyles. Do not force them to do things unless you mean to make them uncomfortable. [Read 5 Simple Ways To Describe Characters]

If you are stuck for ideas about what your characters can do when they are thinking about something important or while they are having a conversation, I’ve put together a list of suggestions:
  1. Colouring in a book
  2. Shopping for groceries
  3. Working on a car or a motorbike
  4. Trying on clothes – at home or in a shop
  5. Taking a dog for a walk
  6. Playing a board game
  7. Playing a game of cards
  8. Giving a dog a bath
  9. Cuddling a cat
  10. Feeding pets
  11. Walking through a museum or art gallery
  12. Knitting, sewing, needlework
  13. Having a bath
  14. Taking a shower
  15. Cleaning up after an accident – spilt glass of wine,
  16. Cleaning up after a deliberate act – smashing a photo frame, throwing a wine glass
  17. Gardening – planting, weeding, cutting
  18. Doing the dishes
  19. Changing a baby’s nappy
  20. Counting money
  21. Wrapping presents
  22. Buying a present for a friend or loved one
  23. Preparing a meal
  24. Baking
  25. Setting a table
  26. Looking for something
  27. Browsing in a bookshop
  28. Catching the bus or train
  29. Decorating a room for a party
  30. Packing a suitcase
  31. Packing a box
  32. Unpacking a suitcase
  33. Unpacking a box
  34. Sorting out old clothes
  35. Sorting through old papers
  36. Rearranging bookshelves
  37. Sorting through photo albums
  38. Ironing clothes
  39. Getting your hair styled or coloured
  40. Getting dressed or undressed
  41. Putting on makeup or removing makeup
  42. Dressing or undressing a child
  43. Putting a child to sleep
  44. Watching a child doing homework
  45. Tending to a wound
  46. Painting nails
  47. Playing a sport
  48. Going for a run
  49. Hiking – alone or with somebody
  50. Sharpening knives
  51. Sorting medication for the week or month ahead
  52. Sitting in the doctor’s waiting room
  53. Making a shopping list
  54. Shaving
  55. Going to the gym
  56. Exercising
  57. Watering houseplants
  58. Watching a child play
  59. Saving a new contact on a phone
  60. Rearranging furniture

These activities allow for different types of reactions. A character could stop in the middle of any of these after hearing shocking news or realising something. News could also spur characters into changing what they are doing or the way in which they are doing it.

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by Amanda Patterson

© Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this articleyou will love:

  1. The Only Character Questionnaire You Need to Complete
  2. 30 Practical Ways To Beat Writer’s Block
  3. 10 Dialogue Errors To Avoid At All Costs

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This article has 5 comments

  1. Kathy B

    An excellent posting! I have learned so many things from your blog that can be immediately applied in my writing. Thank you!

  2. Writers Write

    Thank you, Kathy. We’re glad you found it useful.

  3. wendy

    I love writting . but my genre is articles . still i learned a lot from your blog. thanks

  4. Writers Write

    Thank you, Wendy.

  5. Nat

    Thank you so much for writing this blog! It is soooo helpful for the young writer. I’ve been taking notes on like every page. Every single thing you write is literally so informative and necessary. I wish I had found your blog earlier!

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