Free Character Writing Prompts #62: The Mean Spirited
These character writing prompts will make you feel better about the people you know and love, since they couldn't possibly be this mean spirited. Could they? Even as a person involved in the self-help industry, I can't help but know that some people have a hard time shedding their mean spirited nature. These are the kind of people who will always take down positivity with missiles of insults, cynicism and sarcasm. They take a certain pleasure in making others feel bad and it makes them feel stronger to take other people's power like that. These internally angry folks can act as villains in a story but they may also simply be obstacles for a protagonist to overcome. Then again, in this occasionally mean-spirited world, readers may respond well to a mean spirited main character.
Free Character Writing Prompts #62: The Mean Spirited
1. When race had absolutely nothing to do with a conversation, he was the kind of person who found a way to bring it up. Some people would critique a person's upbringing for his opinions on humanity, but his parents didn't even know where his beliefs came from. When he came upon a person of another race, he wouldn't just use the standard insults, he would go deep into that person's culture to find a reason he believed them to be inferior. He wanted to provoke them and had gotten several people arrested for assaulting him. What caused this person to be so full of hate for people of different colors and creeds?
2. He had some kind of special ability to make people feel bad, which wouldn't be such an awful thing, if he didn't enjoy it so much. Friends and family members never wanted him around because he would bring up awful memories of the past that they wanted to stay buried. He would knock people down with their insecurities and it would be hard for them to get back up right away. If it wasn't for doctor-patient confidentiality, several psychiatrists in the area would have reported him as a frequent mental offender. People who knew him wondered if he had a troubled childhood or some other reason for being a bully. As far as they could tell, he just liked it. What made him so skilled at this painful ability?
3. She was one of the most popular girls in high school and she never truly grew up. She was the girl who everybody feared due to her sharp tongue and her high status. This queen bee had sent several of her classmates to therapy or at the least to write anonymous angry blog posts about her. She went off to Los Angeles in an attempt to gain fame and fortune that she felt she rightfully deserved. She actually achieved some of it, despite an awful attitude of entitlement. When she returned to visit some friends, a few of them assumed that she would have gained some maturity and compassion from her time in the real world. They were wrong, as she was still the same stuck-up, vindictive gal they grew up with. What was it that caused her to stay in a state of evil, arrested development?
4. You frequently made every effort to be kind to her as you waited for your father to become available. No matter what you tried, his secretary was possibly the coldest, most unreachable person you'd ever met. Even though your dad was her employer, she felt absolutely no need to show you or any guests the slightest bit of courtesy. Your dad was a busy man and it makes sense that he'd hire such a strict gatekeeper, but you figured there was some way to find her heart under all that steel. You tried bringing flowers, baking and even stopping by her house. You were thwarted in every attempt to make her smile. How did this frigid secretary come to be the way she is today?
5. He was the worst kind of mean-spirited person, the one who pretends to be the opposite and then stabs you in the back. He was in sales, which can be a cutthroat world even when you're kind, but he took every advantage that his inherent scheming ability afforded him. He would take people out to drinks, find out their secrets and employ them all before the start of the next business day. He would become friendly with co-workers just to find ways to take them down over the course of the next year. He didn't care about their families or their need of a particular income. All he cared about was himself. What are some of the ways in which he has dismantled the careers of his peers?
6. People who were meeting him for the first time assumed that he was cranky because he was old. That would have given them no excuse if they'd met him when he was in his teens, his forties, his eighties or anywhere in between. He had always been a fellow who appeared to hate being a part of the human race. If someone tried to compliment him, he would find a way to turn it around into an insult on the person who gave the compliment. He loved watching television in which people suffered and real life in which people he disliked suffered. When people attempted to befriend him, he would make them feel low and lonely. Why was he so cranky and mean his entire life and did he ever regret it?
7. She didn't need to be told that she was better than everybody else, she just knew it for herself. She had a few friends who she would hang out with as much as possible and with whom she loved talking smack about other people in her life. Whenever anyone outside of her circle tried to make contact with her, she would simply look at that person as if her or she was the worst person in the world. Her stare could make milk curdle it was so intense. She absolutely hated being bothered and she considered most people to be bothering her at any given time. How did she come upon this sense that most people, outside of a select few were not worth her time?
8. There are certain kinds of people who will talk about you behind your back. And then there are people like her, who will say every mean thing about you directly to your face. While she may not have been as angry or vindictive as some of the people who would talk incessantly without your knowledge, her brash insensitivity made her seem like she was on the top of the mean list. She didn't take a lot of pleasure in telling it like it is, but she thought it was stupid for people not to know when they were being idiots. If someone was pissing her off or was pissing off someone she loved, she would let that person know about it immediately. When did she become so confrontational when it came to people's faults?
9. He had a reputation in high school and college as a guy who was willing to do anything for a buck. He absolutely loved money but he hated working for it. This is why he would effectively scam his loved ones into contributing money to businesses he created. When they failed, he was never the one in the lurch, just those who trusted in him. When a business would succeed, he would rarely thank them or give them any credit because he was too focused on making money to remembered where the seed capital came from. Of course, he had to repay these initial investors, but as soon as he could, he would create new contracts that made sure more money would come to him and investors who would be able to contribute more money than he could. Why has money always been so much more important to him than people have?
10. She did an amazing job at convincing people she dated that she was kind, charitable and giving with all of her time and life. It wasn't until her partners were a few months in that they began to see the real her. They saw that she was brutal with the emotions of her parents and she made them feel guilty for every "mistake" they made. She liked to give people advice in such a way that it would make them feel like jerks for doing the wrong thing in the first place. She would even make fun of people on the street who weren't attractive or who didn't have places to live. Fortunately, most of these guys bailed after realizing, but after two marriages and subsequent divorces, she was sitting pretty when it came to divorce settlements. Is she putting up the beginning of the relationship front on purpose and why or why not?
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.