Free Character Writing Prompts #58:
These character writing prompts about stupid people are literally a no brainer. As a fairly intelligent guy who does stupid things from time to time, I feel bad calling out people that have a little less equipment upstairs than I do. Let's face it though, they wouldn't create books like The Darwin Awards if there weren't people who did some incredibly dumb things on a daily basis. Sure, accidents happen from time to time, but if you let decades come in between cogent thoughts in your head, you may fall into this category I'm about to write about. Stupid people can be incredible nice and genuine, but they tend not to make great decisions when push comes to shove. If you are too focused on creating witty, brilliant people in your books, try throwing in one of these characters to practice your realism.
Free Character Writing Prompts #58: Stupid People
1. His family loved telling the story of how he ended up face first in the garbage can. His brothers loved playing with his gullible head and one day they told him there was a gold coin at the bottom of the aluminum canister. He dove in without a moment's hesitation. He searched for nearly 10 minutes before his brothers stopped laughing and told him the truth. Stories like this were common with him, his friends and his family because he had the uncanny ability to believe anyone about anything, no matter how stupid it seemed. While this did allow him to trust people implicitly, it did get him in a ton of trouble when people took advantage of him. How did he inherit such extreme gullibility?
2. He was in prison but, in a way, it really wasn't his fault. See, his problem was, he didn't understand laws, especially the ones that govern "right" and "wrong." His parents always seemed to take things that were his, like the money he would get from his paper routes and odd jobs. He figured that was just the way people got money, by taking it, as opposed to working for it. When some childhood friends of his asked him to help them rob someone, he thought of it as a legitimate money making opportunity. When their hideaway was discovered, he was the only one who didn't run. What are some other things this simple man has difficulty understanding?
3. As one of the nicest students you've ever taught, you were always pulling for her to succeed. The problem was, she just never seemed to absorb any of the knowledge you tried to dole out. Even though she spent extra sessions with you after school and you knew she tried her hardest, she just didn't have the mental capacity. She was extremely sweet and even though her fellow students teased her and took advantage of her lack of wits, she took it all in stride and responded with sincerity. When you met with her parents for a conference, they appreciated how much you cared but just shook their head. "We love her, she's just an idiot sometimes," they said, good naturedly. Will she find her way in the world or will her lack of smarts get in her way?
4. No matter how often her friends tried to help her, she fell for almost every single line a guy ever fed her. All the guy had to do was talk about her eyes or mention how her hair looked like some movie stars and she would let them have their way with her. She had this sensation that whenever a guy paid any attention to her, he was the one and she would love him for the rest of time. Frequently, these guys were just trying to get laid and they were out the door swiftly on the following morning. She would call her friends crying and wondering what it was she did wrong. Will she ever understand in true love, actions speak louder than words?
5. Whenever he called home, telling his parents that he was newly broke, there wasn't much they could do but shake their heads. After all, he had one of the highest paying jobs in the family and seemed to be doing well for himself most of the time. His extremely poor decisions when it came to his money were breathtaking for a family that had survived many global financial crises over the last few generations. He would invest money with friends who had "great ideas" and would try to help out "anonymous Nigerian princes" via e-mail. He would go to casinos and he would get as many credit cards as he was allowed to. Why did this seemingly intelligent guy have such a lack of wits when it came to money?
6. You would receive random texts from him in the middle of the night. Every so often, you'd get a blank e-mail with some kind of strange attachment. He'd wire you money from time to time when he signed onto his bank account. Was he some kind of scammer or stalker? No, he was just an idiot when it came to technology. Even though he was brought up in the supposed "generation of technology," he couldn't tell you the difference between a tweet and a text, despite his best efforts. He made a lot of technological mistakes and had absolutely no idea what he was doing with a phone, a laptop or a web browser. Why is it so difficult from him to understand how these newer technologies work?
7. She absolutely loved making jokes and she fancied herself a bit of a comedian. The only problem is that she had no sense of humor to speak of. Most people who could be considered witty have good timing, quick thinking or a mastery of the English language. She had none of the above and would often kill conversations with her attempts at comedy, which quickly sank like lead. She assumed that most of her jokes were hits and her friends would humor her with some mild laughter, but after a while they did their best to reinforce the fact that her jokes were "offensive and not funny...at all." What are some examples of her worst attempts at humor?
8. At first, her parents assumed she was just accident prone. They slowly began to realize what the problem was. She had a knack for reading warning signs and doing exactly the opposite of what they said. She would walk against red lights at crosswalks, she would swim alone in riptides and she would run on slippery surfaces, despite all of the signage warning people to proceed with caution. She was a perfectly fine reader, but the doctors found that whenever she got excited, the reading part of her brain more or less shut off. Since they couldn't watch her every second of the day, they hoped it was something she'd grow out of. What are some other signs that she has neglected to follow?
9. You loved this man and yet he had the most idiotic taste in entertainment of anyone you've ever met. He was the kind of guy who would line up hours early to see robots blowing each other up, no matter how many negative reviews the flick got. He would fall asleep during cultural events like ballet, opera and art shows. He would watch the worst reality shows on television, but when you tried to show him something of substance, his eyes would just wander away from the screen. He seemed to hold interesting conversations when there was no media involved, but as soon as entertainment worked its way into the day, he would reveal his complete lack of taste. Whenever he saw an explosion or a character doing something completely stupid, he would utter this laugh that resembled a pubescent teenager's chuckle, despite the fact that he was almost thirty. What are some other low class cultural touchstones for this explosion loving fellow?
10. She was the kind of girl who always knew the wrong thing to say. She was the kind of girl who would bring up subjects that people were trying to avoid, like talk of infidelity to someone who was just cheated on or cancer with someone who had just been diagnosed. She was the kind of girl who was prone to malapropism, typically saying an incorrect word that nobody had any idea how she came to. She was perfectly sweet and meant well, always saying what was on her mind in an effort to be as honest as possible. The problem was that what was on her mind was either unintentionally offensive or it made no sense whatsoever. What are some of her most embarrassing verbal slip ups?
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Written by Bryan Cohen
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.
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