And, no I don’t mean taking them to the gym or for a double marathon…
If you favour a character driven approach to your story telling, you’ll do anything to bring them out of their shell, make them more three dimensional on the page? Characters, no matter how major or minor, need to matter. Why? Because our readers invest in them. Let our characters down and you’ve let your audience down.
“The only characters I ever don’t like are ones that leave no impression on me. And I don’t write characters that leave no impression on me.”
― Lauren DeStefano
I love creating characters, goodies, baddies and the inbetweenies and am always looking for ways to give them colour, put some flesh on the bones, bring them to life. A couple of weeks ago, Maggie Shelton a member of my online writing community at Writers Abroad, set us a creative writing prompt, with a difference.
“Just me, my music, and the voices in my head.”
It was an exercise from “Reading Writing and Rising Up: Teaching About Social Justice and the Power of the Written Word”. And what’s that got to do with characters? Well, it’s a kind of poem prompt (and I ain’t no poet!) and it’s called I Am From… you consider this with a number of other phrases like; places; products; food; people; common things; pictures; events; phrases; smells; sounds; sights… the list could go on. It’s an exercise in self reflection but I decided to approach it from the perspective of one of my characters. Here is the result:
I am from a silent piano covered in dust
From a silver spoon, and a voodoo doll
I am from a prison where there are no guards
and from shades of grey
I am from a single feather whose courage will feed mine
I am from a unicorn, a scented candle
From Jalus and The Keeper
and from a stutter and a clear glass tube
from right and wrong
I am from secret handshakes
From homemade birthday cakes and bitter olives
From a war fought and lost and from a love denied
I am from a shadow that never left
I am from the moments of the seventh dimension
I am from the voices in my head
From the colours born from raindrops and sunlight
I am Rainbow
Why not have a go yourself? I used this template to develop my “I Am From”.
And please, I’d love to hear what you came up with!