From ~ 1000 Character Writing Prompts, Villains, heroes, and hams for scripts, stories, and more. By Bryan Cohen.
For this weeks prompt, I had my husband pick a number between 1 and a 1,000. He picked 762 – which is in the ‘partiers’ section, at first I thought it would be fun until I read the prompt. Then I had to fight back the urge to tell him to pick another one by reminding myself the purpose for purchasing this book. To expand my character base. So here it goes…
Number 762…His philosophy was that if he remembered what happened the previous night, he obviously didn’t party hard enough. He was obsessed with drinking when came to a party and he loved trying to drink other guests under the table. He had won more one-on-one shot battles and beer pong tournaments than anyone he knew, and he felt they were some of his greatest achievements, even if he had blacked out and forgotten some of them. He thought he was a much more interesting and attractive person when he was completely wasted and that was often how he thought of himself. Would his party life and identity change much when he has to get a more intense job after college?
My first impression is I don’t like this guy. It’s a cookie-cutter of a person with low self-esteem. The party hard college boy fighting growing up angle is over used.
So how can I flip him and make him someone you’d like to read about and not a cardboard secondary character? After a glass of wine, I decided he’s not a hero but a serial killer. So here he is in a nutshell. He drinks to the point he blacks out to suppress his urge to kill. He thinks he more interesting and attractive when completely wasted because he can pretend to be anything he wants and the evil urges fade. The alcohol relaxes him so he isn’t always struggling to keep his dark side hidden. What happens when he gets a more intense job? He has to cut back on his partying – which has been his ‘killer’ outlet. As stress mounts so does his urge to kill. He resorts to weekend binges in an effort to keep the killer at bay. Finally, when he receives a promotion, he celebrates by killing the person who had also been considered.
Is this a character I’ll use? Not sure but I did enjoy traveling down roads unfamiliar with this one. Taking a character that was very cookie-cutter and giving him a twist. And that’s the purpose for these exercises to stretch my ‘character building’ muscles.
How would you twist this character prompt?