It was my writing group the other day and I thought it was about time we looked at characters again, about writing characters. Usually we have a topic to discuss, but this time I didn’t do any chat we went straight into doing a practical exercise which we don’t often do.
This is what I set them – and I took part too –
Choose two people in the room – write 50-100 words about an imagined character, with an imagined name, who looks physically like them but dresses differently, with a different personality, different occupation – you can even change their ages and nationality!
Your two characters can know each other, or be complete strangers.
When you’ve described them, write a brief description of where they come together (they don’t have to meet or speak, just share a location where they are close to each other) – on a train, in the library, a café, a seafront, a mountain path… anywhere!!
We had great fun, and it was somewhat of a challenge when you’re sitting in a small room describing someone sitting with you. There were three men and three women (counting me. Three other people were away so we weren’t too squashed together. We didn’t have long so most of us just wrote a description with a few extra details… they have to complete what they’ve started for ‘homework’!
This is what I wrote:
Jesse, a writer and vulcanoligist, usually wore practical clothes, dungarees, overalls, boots; her passion – apart from volcanoes, is climbing. She is petite and her slight figure belies her physical strength. Her silver hair is cropped short and her earnest expression is often broken by wreathes of smiles – especially when she is descending into the depths of a crater.
Her sister Davina is a weaver; tall, slim and willowy with piercing blue eyes, she wears her long blond hair in a loose bun on top of her head. She sings as she weaves, making woollen material from her own sheep, which she sells to a local fashion house.
I didn’t have time to complete the exercise, there is no location for their meeting, and I’m not sure what they might discuss when they do come together. Goodness knows where I might go with this pair of sisters… I feel that despite their love for each other there is often tension and discord… Will I follow their story? I’m not sure!
Maybe the two women in my featured image are twins… I could write about them!