These free character writing prompts are plucky and seem untrustworthy until they're pushed to the brink. Check out these antiheroes! Antiheroes are some of the most popular characters of the last few decades and have been seen in mediums ranging from comic books to mumblecore independent films. The antihero may have a dark past such as that of Mal in the short-lived television series "Firefly." The character may have multiple unlikeable characteristics but when push comes to shove, the antihero will rise to the occasion to do the right thing. Antiheroes work well as protagonists in many stories, as most people are no longer willing to accept "the perfect hero" anymore like they might have half a century ago.
Free Character Writing Prompts
1. While it's true that he was running from the law, it wasn't exactly a fair assessment of the kind of guy he was. After all, he had been in the Army and was all ready to move up the ranks and become a good little man for Uncle Sam. The world had other plans, however, as he saw something he wasn't supposed to and was immediately framed to be a terrorist. His skill allowed him to escape and he was now doing everything he could to both unearth the conspiracy and clear his name. He'd grown a bit tough and sarcastic through this process, but he still wanted nothing more than the country to reveal the truth. Has he been able to contact his family and if so, what do they think about his situation?
2. He wasn't in it for the chance to discover some great artifact or to bring an ancient scroll back to a museum, he was in it for the money. No matter what he did though, innocent people tended to be put in danger looking for the treasure he craved and he had to do his best to save them. After all, he may have loved money, but he didn't value it above human life. The skills he'd obtained in becoming a sort of a treasure mercenary served him well in protecting his fellow hunters of treasure and in deflecting the attacks of those who were willing to kill for the cache. When he had the thought that his mom and dad would be proud of who he'd become, he rolled his eyes. In what other ways has this tough guy softened during his attempts at innocent life protection?
3. She was one of the most hated girls at school due to her ability to spread rumors that would ruin people's place in the popularity spectrum. She had always felt a great power from talking about others and it made her feel like she was important in the grand scheme of things. When she was the witness to an illegal crime perpetrated by the teachers and principal, nobody believed her due to her previous rumor mongering. She decided to gather the few real friends she had left to play detective to stop the crime and to repair her previously damaged reputation. She was surprised to find that her attempts to protect her fellow students from this illegal conduct make her feel more important than spreading chatter through the halls ever could. If she got out of this sticky situation alive, she considered toning down her gossip mill as much as 50 percent. If successful, will she turn over a new leaf or will old habits prove hard to break?
4. From a young age, her and her parents did not see eye to eye even a little bit. There were constant fights and screaming matches about how they didn't understand her at all. When she was 18, she was out the door with the hopes of never returning to her screwed up family. After traveling the world for a few years, she came back to find her family completely in shambles. She hated being there and every step into her parents' house made her cringe. Despite that, it was up to her, as both an insider and an outsider to patch things up before her family breaks apart forever. What is the situation she has to diffuse and what are some of the skills she's learned far away that she can bring to the table?
5. He had the reputation as a conniving politician by a great deal of his opponents and his brash attitude and larger than life personality made the label stick. Despite how he appeared from the outside, he was actually one of the most honest men you'd ever meet, a major departure from some politicians in the world. When he realized that the federal government was attempting to secretly pass a bill that would limit the rights of Americans everywhere, he decided that he would have to fight back. At his own expense and against the wishes of his party, he slowly but surely toured the nation to counteract his image and tell the people what this bill would mean. Was his attempt to preserve the rights of his nation successful?
6. He wondered from time to time if his parents would be proud of him as the captain of his very own ship. He often thought of his parents when remembering the rebellion and how he and them were on very different sides of the conflict. When his side lost, his parents made an effort to reach out to him, but he was worried that associating with him would get them labeled as rebels. He also thought about his parents during every job he and his crew did that involved something not quite on the level. He stole but he wouldn't kill. He refused to rob from anyone who didn't have it coming to them. What are some of the other aspects of his tenuous moral code?
7. She was imprisoned for a crime she didn't commit and while her children and husband loved her, they thought she was as guilty as the court "proved" she was. In her public relations work, she had accidentally crossed a major player in an international drug ring. The syndicate had enough power to ruin her life and take the people she loved away from her. When she had an opportunity to escape from prison, she took it and a nationwide hunt for her, dead or alive, began. She knew this was her only chance to prove her innocence and to save the lives of thousands who were under the thumb of the man she crossed. With every television station flashing her face, how will she be able to take down the life of the man who took away hers?
8. She loved money. Not enough to kill for it, but enough to work her way to the top of a criminal law firm to defend the accused in high profile cases. She had successfully proved the innocence of many that the public had already mentally sentenced. This left millions of dollars in her pocket and gave her the life of luxury that she wanted. It wasn't until she successfully exonerated a man who she later found out to be guilty that she changed her tune. She could no longer defend the people who were taking advantage of her charisma and the flaws in the legal system. She began her own practice with the money she'd saved up and she went against her reputation to protect the innocent for the first time in her life. What are some of the old habits she's had to get rid of in her new line of work?
9. Even though he was on the right side of the law, didn't mean that he always abided by the rules. He was a complete junkie and he often stole evidence to get himself high. He was also a great cop and he did everything he could to be clear headed and strong when he was on duty. He had a problem and there were few people who knew enough about it to help. When a low-level drug dealer identified him as a client, it was his word against the dealers. Instead of coming clean, he vowed to take down the supplier and to eradicate his drug problem cold turkey at the same time. This wasn't going to be easy. How did he get addicted to drugs in the first place and how able to function is he while detoxing and railing against drug dealers?
10. She felt a little bit like Robin Hood sometimes. After all, she led her own merry band of warriors through the forest and they tended to take what they needed but not from those who were worse off than her. She had a reputation throughout the kingdom that painted her as an evil witch who was more likely to cut your throat than shake your hand. This made things pretty interesting when people actually met her and saw she wasn't dastardly, she was just a charismatic leader who was looking out for her formerly mistreated people. She had to do things from time to time that made her feel uncomfortable, like ripping the purses from privileged young girls, but sometimes to survive you have to ruffle even your own feathers. How did she become an outlaw in the first place and will she ever have to rebel against the oppressive kingdom?
Did you enjoy these character writing prompts? Keep an eye out for the book 1,000 Character Writing Prompts in February 2012.
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.