Saturday, March 15, 2014

Week 35: Character Development

I have been trying to make myself write more...

Key word: trying.

It's hard for me to just sit down and write with complete focus, and it should be pretty obvious to anyone reading this blog that I'm not so great with deadlines.

I recently I worked on a Character Development Exercise in which I was charged with the task of coming up with ten truths (i.e. self-involved, mirrors his or her partner), ten lies (i.e. graceful, a real go-getter), and ten bizarre facts (i.e. sometimes writes with his or her less dominant hand) about any random character--real or imagined.

From there I needed to develop a back story (i.e. white, middle class, medium intelligence) and explain his or her present circumstances (i.e. thirty-something, Democrat).

And, since the world is full of contradictions, I gave my character a few contradictory traits (i.e. benevolence--"here, have this.  I normally don't give so you know it means a lot." and boastfulness--"look at me, I've achieved something.  I warrant praise."

This exercise even asked me to draw from this person's zodiac sign for inspiration (i.e. Aquarius--desires to be unique, often viewed as eccentric, characterized by extremes, quick-minded).

I, then, had to answer the hard questions, like what type of animal (i.e. cat) or piece of music (i.e. march or fugue) this person would be and provide explanations for how he or she might interact with the people around him or her (i.e. belittles and placates mother yet tender, caring and generous with partner).

Finally, I was asked to write a poem in this character's voice, and this was the result:

Short Poem in the Character’s Voice:
Smooth and rigid,
Bold then timid--
She crawls and hides within her home
Among her friends, yet all alone.

Safe and sound
As threats abound--
There she hides within her home.
Surrounded and yet, still all alone.

I kept it fairly short because my character is a little bit lazy when it come to tasks like these.  There is no obvious reward to spending more than the bare minimum on this poem, and he or she does not really care for artistic works.  On the other hand, this character was particularly proud of his or her rhyming scheme.  Although "rigid" and "timid" do not actually rhyme, this person would argue tooth and nail that they do.  And though very little effort was put in to this, this character fully expects that people will be in awe of his or her ability.

I think it was a good experience for me to really think this character through from beginning to end.  I feel like I created a three-dimensional, flawed human being.  I really started to think about how this person would respond to his or her environment.  I could write any number of circumstances into this person's life and be able to reason through why he or she would react this way but not that.  I will definitely employ this technique in the future when developing characters.

Coming up... Week 36: ALL the Races!

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