Writing Exercise; Lonely Hearts…Getting to Know your Characters

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Writing Exercise – Lonely Hearts

It’s time to get to know your main character/s – intimately.

Take your main character – or your hero and heroine, if it’s a romance – and write a dating advert for them. I don’t mean a three sentence ad of the type you might find in the newspapers, but the kind of lengthy profile you will find on dating websites that go into great detail about the person and what they want from a relationship. Some even have in-depth psychological questionnaires. Try writing one of these – or even filling out an online profile, but make sure it doesn’t go live – as if you were your character. If your story is highly erotic you might like to have a look at some of the saucier dating websites and write an ad for your character based on finding a sex partner rather than a romantic relationship. This will help you get inside your character’s head and think about things you might have missed. It can be a lot of fun too, but don’t get so distracted on dating websites that you don’t write your story!

If you don’t want to or can’t check out dating sites on the internet, here are a few examples of the questions you might get asked when filling out a profile, from the sweet to the saucy. Answer the questions as if you were the character and then write your ad.

  1. Where would you go and what would you do on the ideal first date?

  2. What are the five most important characteristics in a potential partner?

  3. Do you have or want children? If not, why not?

  4. Where do you see yourself in five years time? Or ten?

  5. Describe your most memorable sexual encounter.

  6. Where would be your ideal holiday location and why?

  7. If you could be any character in a novel or film, who would it be and why?

  8. What are your five worst turn-offs in a potential partner?

  9. What is your biggest sexual fantasy?

As well as getting you up close and personal with your character, you can use the ad as a story prompt; perhaps the character in question does try using these sites, leading to erotic encounters…..

This writing exercise is taken from ‘Passionate Plots ;a Brief Guide to Writing Erotic Stories and Scenes’ published by Compass Books

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