The Doorbell Rings

Imagine that your character is alone in her family room, settled in for the evening. She’s reading a favorite book while watching a game show on television. Suddenly the doorbell rings.

What goes through her mind? Does she panic or react calmly? Was she expecting someone or is this a surprise?

Does she simply open the door or peek through a window?

What she does tells us a lot about her as a person. Some are brash and react without thinking. Some go cautiously throughout life, checking and rechecking every step along the way.

Your task is to write a scene in which the bell rings. Remember that however your character acts must be true to his or her personality.

Keep in mind that many times whoever is standing on the outside is a mystery person. That person could have benign interests or could be malevolent. You have to decide.

Have fun with this one.

Work Habits

Are you a morning person or a night person? Is your mind sharpest when you wake up or is it sluggish until you’ve downed several cups of coffee?

In the evening do you get revved up and motivated or do you grind to a halt and collapse into your recliner until time for bed?

Just as we all have our best working moments, so do our characters.

Your task is multi-fold.

First make a list of a variety of characters spanning ages, cultures, beliefs and desires. Label them appropriately.

Spend some time thinking about each of them. What are they like? Are they ambitious or content? Do they seek adventure or prefer the steady drum of life?

Add to your description of each character you have created.

Once you have explored their personalities, now take time to decide if, according to the characteristics you have chosen, that person functions best in the morning or in the evening.

Be true to the individual.

Once you are finished, go over your profiles. Are all the details logical? Do you see a character’s potential? Can you insert the character in a story?

Have fun with this one.

 

 

 

Facial Description

What we look like influences how others react to us. Beautiful people often are hired and promoted well before others.

Plain people are often overlooked or dismissed.

Because of this, it’s important to know what your character looks like.

Your task is to either use visualization to bring up an image of your character or use an actual photo of what you think your character looks like.

Have a tablet nearby.

Start at the top of the head. What shape is the skull? If there is hair, note not just the color and style, but record elements such as wispy, fly-away strands, clumps of hair that stand out on their own, hair sticking out of nostrils and nose. Eyebrows and eyelashes.

Forehead. Is it large or small? Does it protrude over the eyes? Are there wrinkles or is it smooth?

Eyes. Distance between them. Shape and color. Are there striations in the pupils? Do the eyes sparkle? Are the lids low-hanging? Where do the eyes sit in terms of the width of the face? In terms of length?

Follow this exercise as you work your way down to the neck.

When you are finished, your understanding of what your character looks like should be complete.

Have fun with this one.

Childhood Dreams

Imagine that your protagonist is a child. He is given an assignment to write down at least three things that he wishes would come true. What would he write?

Next think of her as a teenager who still holds on to some of those dreams. Which ones have not come true? Which have? Which ones have changed? Why?

Now have her create a new list of at least three things that she really hopes will someday come true. Remember that teenagers sometimes think beyond themselves. What are those things?

As an adult we often push aside our dreams so that we can face the realities of our lives. Keeping your protagonist in mind, what things still linger? Which has he dropped? What are the new ones? How do these dreams influence his life? His thinking?

Your task is obviously complex as you have to create a series of lists, one for each age. As you do this, put on the mantle of the child, the teen, the adult. If you are able, interview someone in each age group in order to see what’s on their minds.

Once you have these lists, apply one set to a scene in which your character either accomplishes a life-long dream or is forced to let one go.

Have fun with this one.

The Intruder

Imagine.

There is a party. Tons of people are there, clustered in groups in the backyard, around the pool, in the pool, spread out throughout the house.

An argument ensues between two. Maybe a man and woman. Maybe two boys/girls.

Things get pretty heated verbally.

A person comes over to break things up. What does this person say/do?

Your task is to write the scene before the intruder gets involved. Include tons of dialogue. Details, such as facial expressions, body movements.

Then make the intruder notice what’s happening and walk over.

What happens next?

Have fun with this one.

A Big Mistake

Imagine that your protagonist owns a pet. Think cat or dog.

The pet is not a purebred or unique in any way.

Perhaps it was once feral or a stray, but now is dearly loved.

What happens if the pet escapes and is now out on the streets?

What does your character do? What does she think?

Is she logical and methodical in her search or does she run about in a panic?

Your task is to write the story. Be aware that your character’s actions need to make sense based upon her personality and previously demonstrated behaviors.

Have fun with this one.

Accommodation Expectations

When we travel, we have certain standards that we expect wherever we stay.

For example, when camping, we like a solid picnic table, a level place to pitch our tent, and a bear box to protect food.

When we stay in a hotel we have comparable expectations.

So does your character.

Your task is to write a scene in which your character’s expectations are not met.

What does he say and do? Does he explode or accept the substandard accommodations?

Be realistic in your writing by staying true to your character’s personality.

Have fun with this one.