The purpose of this writing prompt is to help us accentuate the importance of freedom within a storyline by showing how the loss thereof can affect the setting and its characters. This will be achieved by focusing on how different types of characters react to being incarcerated.
Lesson 19: Incarceration
The basics of a story is a plotline which follows the exploits of the main characters as they attempt to resolve a conflict while making their way to their intended goal. The characters are the writer's most important tool, as their interactions help describe everything from their inner thoughts, to the world around them.
But what happens when a character can no longer act freely and their rights are stripped away? Being confined could be seen as a form of adversity, an obstacle for the character to overcome. Though motivation can come in many forms, freedom (or the fear of incarceration) can be a powerful motivator to drive characters.
The goal of today’s game will be to demonstrate how different types of characters would avoid incarceration. Would they try to forcefully break out or cleverly plan their escape? Try to buy their way out with bribes or simply kill any opposition? Or would they accept their fate and spend their life in a dungeon?
- Below are eight different character roles, each with their own personality and motivations.
- Select THREE of the mentioned roles to work with..
- For all three characters, write a short story on how they would react to being confined in a maximum security prison.
- Point out how their reactions differ from one another, and why.
- Mr. Hero: Central character in a story, whom the reader usually wants/expects to win in the end.
- Personality: Courageous, resolute, honest and strong willed.
- Motivation: To ensure balance or keep the peace.
- Dr. Villain: Represents the obstacle or opposing force in a story that must be overcome in order to succeed.
- Personality: Wicked, untrustworthy, determined and back handed.
- Motivation: To take control of his surroundings.
- Ally Sidekick: A character that will always assist, either with actions or information, in order to help the plot progress.
- Personality: Loyal, reliable, helpful and lighthearted.
- Motivation: To support others in their noble acts.
- Goon McHenchman: A character who follows orders from a higher authority, usually on the side of evil.
- Personality: Uneducated, brutish, unwavering and devoted.
- Motivation: To follow the orders they were given.
- Master Mentor: To teach or represent the lesson that must learned within the story in order to achieve the goal.
- Personality: Insightful, wise, patient and selfless.
- Motivation: To share their knowledge with others.
- Rascal Scalawag: Rogue character that can play a role on either side of the moral spectrum, but is usually pursuing their own interest.
- Personality: Manipulative, vulgar, self-centered and lazy.
- Motivation: To achieve their own goal.
- Prof. Thinker: Character who is always rational and likes to give reasonable answers to complicated questions.
- Personality: Intelligent, aloof, eccentric and innovative.
- Motivation: The advancement of science.
- Ms. Romance: Love interest of one or more characters. Is usually seen as the goal in certain stories.
- Personality: Spirited, sensual, affectionate and vain.
- Motivation: Receiving the adoration of others.
If anyone is interested in sharing their entries, feel free to post them as a reply to this article, or send them to me privately. I may create a page for submissions in the future for those who are willing to have their work shared.
Hope you have fun giving this exercise a try.
Until next time!
***Image is in the public domain, as explicitly declared by the Washington State Legislature***