Happy Friday, everyone. The weekend is finally here, but there’s no rest for the weary. I have to do some reading and feedback for my Master’s program as well as finish a book review. Still, I’ve come up with a writing prompt to go along with Implicit: Soul Invictus: writing about your past lives.
I believe in reincarnation but I know that not all of my readers do. However, you can imagine what your past lives might have been like without thinking that they ever really happened. In fact, this exercise isn’t even about “real” past lives; instead, it’s a method of character development using your own quirks.
Many theories of reincarnation argue that past lives can explain some of our stranger behaviors and traits in this life, everything from memories that aren’t ours and knowing things that we should not know to likes and fears that seem, to put it mildly, weird. It’s this aspect of reincarnation that I would like you to focus on with this writing prompt.
Using your quirks as a springboard, imagine what one of your past lives might have been like. Who were you? Which economic class did you belong to? Where did you live? What was your job? How did you die? Write a character bio for this past version of yourself and be as detailed as possible.
Here’s an (incredibly rough) example of how this process might go:
One of my most bizarre traits is that I have an extreme aversion to anyone standing behind me with a knife. Not like a butter knife or a plastic knife but something that is actually sharp. Now that I think about it, forks also fall under that aversion. It doesn’t matter if I trust the person more than I trust myself; I could trust them with my life and I still will feel uncomfortable if they stand behind me with a sharp knife or fork. I even get a tingling in the lower left part of my back when someone stands behind me with a knife or fork.
If those theories of reincarnation are correct, what happened in my past lives that made me develop this aversion? It’s so specific that it can’t just be random, so what could have happened?
I could write that someone stabbed me in a past life in that particular area of my back. Maybe I was a lady or lord in Medieval Europe betrayed by a servant or knight. Maybe I was the victim of a serial killer or I was involved in some sort of crime spree and betrayed by my partner. Hell, maybe I was Julius Caesar.
I would choose one of these routes to take and develop a “past life” character bio based on it. I could elaborate by pursuing my fascination with Russia or alchemy, or I could incorporate my obsession with Tarot cards. The possibilities are endless.
I’m sure you get the idea. After writing the character bio, try and use the character and this “past life” as the basis for a story. Maybe a parallel between your current life and your past lives? You could even just write some historic fiction with this “past life” character at the center. The only limits are your imagination.
How did this exercise turn out for you? Do you know of any writing prompts that could help your fellow writers with character development? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and/or e-mail your prompts to email@example.com and I’ll make sure to use them in a future Friday Fun-Day post.