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 – like a 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 or the garden.
  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

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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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