Writing Wednesday: aesthetic and fun exercises to help develop characters

Hey bookworms! How’s it going? It’s been a second. I’ve been feeling kind of drained creatively but it’s back! Also my dog is currently trying to lick my face so we’ll blame him for any typos.

I think developing characters is one of the hardest things for me. I tend to write scary, sarcastic, misunderstood characters, but then I’m at a loss for what to do for the rest. Take Angel, one of the first characters I wrote. She’s super sarcastic, and her whole vibe can be taken as kind of mean, but she’s actually really sweet. The rest of the characters I wrote that didn’t have those traits all took me either a really long time to develop, or we’re kind of boring.

Writing exercises to the rescue! I think all of these are really fun, so even if your not writing a novel or short story you could try them out!

A characters aesthetic board/moodboard

I know a lot of people learn visually, so I think this one is perfect for you guys. Also it’s just so pretty. This has also been done with already existing characters and books, so it’s definitely all over booktok.

As for platforms you can use, there’s the obvious Pinterest, Canva or even printing out photos and making a collage on paper. For today I’m going to use BeFunky because I don’t have to make an account. 🙂

To make this character exercise easier, try to already know a bit about them, because you’ll be able to narrow down images.

For this exercise I’m going to be using Aimee, the main character from A Wanderer’s Guide To Escaping Small Towns, a WIP that I’ve been dabbling at for a while. I know I wanted dark/light academia photos mainly, so I searched up ‘dark academia character aesthetic’ and then ‘light academia character aesthetic quotes’. It worked pretty well, and I feel like you can learn a lot about her from this mood-board.

I don’t own any of these images.

Tada! This definitely helped me, because while searching up images I totally had an idea for where the story would go (hint: boarding school) and it definitely helped make her character more fleshed out.

Character playlist:

This will be great for all you music lovers! I’ve already done this, so to save some time I’m going to be using the one I made for Angel. I initially got inspiration from this image:

Don’t own this either!

And I followed the prompts. You can obviously make your own prompts and if your looking for any, let me know in the comments! A plus to this is that music always helps me write (clacking keys to the beat is oddly satisfying).

I’m going to go through a few songs and explain why I chose them, but I won’t bore you with all 13. I made a playlist on Spotify, and named it “Angel”.

2. Song chosen: You Should See Me In A Crown – Billie Eilish. I chose this song for her general outlook on life mainly because of this lyric: “You should see me in a crown, I’m gonna run this nothing town”. Although she isn’t quite as dark as some of the lyrics, I think it represents her pretty well.

Scary music video, fyi!

8. Song chosen: Flaming hot Cheetos – Clairo. This song was for a current relationship, and this lyric made me pick it: “Girlfriend or girl, that’s a friend?” and “I guess you’re attractive, or something”. This perfectly represents her current relationship with another character, after realizing her sexuality.

Has nothing to do with Flaming Hot Cheetos.

Make a profile picture:

I’ve also already done this for Angel, but this definitely helped with how I thought she looked. For a while I really wasn’t sure because it was hard to imagine her, but after I could describe her very well.

I used this picrew: https://picrew.me/image_maker/114808, and the art credit goes to  https://ummmmandy.tumblr.com/.

Here’s what I came out with for Angel:

Accidentally gave her different colour eyebrows!

I also did it for Aimee because it’s really fun:

Tried to keep the light academia theme.

That’s it folks! That took me a looong time. I hope you enjoyed it and let me know if you do any of these!


  1. I love doing character activities! The funny thing is, I had previously done the playlist one and picked You Should See Me in a Crown for number two as well.

    Liked by 2 people

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