Thursday Writing Prompt No. 11

comic book store window

I photographed this store window on historic Main Street in Laurel, Maryland. I used Photoshop to make the image black and white while leaving only the word "Comics" in color.

This week you are going to work on character development. Your task, if you choose to accept it, is to create the background for a new comic-book hero or heroine. Basically, you’re going to write a resume for your character. You won’t be writing a complete story, so you don’t need to worry about a plot or antagonists or settings or dialogue.

Whew! So much you don’t have to do. If it helps to think of your character as the star of a graphic novel instead of a comic book, then do that. While comic books are usually series, a graphic novel can be a stand-alone book. For this exercise it really doesn’t matter as long as it inspires you.

Unlike an actual resume, you’re going to include a full physical description of your hero. Include as much information as you can, because even if you don’t specify some of it in any eventual stories that you write about this character, just knowing who your character is will make it easier for you to write about him. Things to think about including are height, weight, eye color, hair color and hairstyle (or baldness), and any scars or other identifying marks. You can make the hero male or female, or possibly an alien or android. And since this is a comic-book hero, you can really do whatever you want, even if you’re hero ends up being a dog or cat.

Now for the more personal stuff. Sketch a brief background of where the hero was born and raised, what kind of education or jobs he’s had, and any other stuff you think you want to add to the character’s description. Think about what your hero’s likes and dislikes are. Does he hate onions, or is he a vegetarian? Try to dig underneath the surface a little bit and figure out what motivates him.

Finally, the part that’s really really hard: come up with a new ability for your hero. This might be nearly impossible, so if you give him several abilities at least combine them in a different way. If he can fly, how he does this must someone be a little different from other superheroes. And you need to figure out how he got the superpower and when or where he was when he discovered this ability. Above all, have fun!

I hope you’ll take some time to work through this writing prompt and let me know what you come up with. And don’t forget to give your character a name!

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