Wasting Time

            Our days are often filled with running here, there and everywhere. We seldom have a minute to spare, time for ourselves because we are so busy doing things for others. However, whenever we do manage to eek out a bit of time, instead of doing chores, we might goof around. The things we find to do say a lot about us.

            For example, let’s say a person chooses to play games instead of weeding the garden. The games provide relaxation while weeding is back-breaking work. Perhaps we head off to the kitchen and create something fabulous to eat, something that’s just for fun. Maybe we take off on a long walk, listening to an audible book or podcast.

            The choices we make when we’ve got an opportunity to waste time help define who we are.

            Your characters need things to do that are outside of work.

            Your task is to first create a list of activities that make sense depending upon your character’s interests. Narrow it down to the one that you believe you can include in a story.

            Consider setting elements of time and space. Include sensory details so readers will smell the flowers, taste the gourmet cupcakes and feel the bark on the trees. Readers want to know how sweaty and stinky the character gets and whether or not the activity is exhausting.

            Add in one other character with whom the protagonist can share either the fruits of the activity or be there as a companion.

            Have fun with this one.

Free Time

Some listen to music while others hike up steep hills. Some garden while others paint. Some write letters. Take long walks with friends. Read a book. Design cards. Eat out. Go to movies or the theater.

No matter how obnoxious the character, at some point he relaxes with a preferred activity, so give him one. It would be more startling if the activity is in direct conflict with the character’s viciousness. For example, a serial killer cuddling up with a tiny kitten. Or a bank robber playing Mozart on a grand piano.

All of your characters need to have at least one preferred leisure activity. We need to see them not just at work, but doing something that allows them to break free of the hassle of their work lives.

Your task is to select a character that you know and love. Make a list of at least five different activities that she would enjoy. Choose some that require physical activity, some that require some degree of skill or talent, and some that almost anyone can do.

Choose one of them to incorporate in a scene.  When you write, allow us to see your character relaxed, enjoying the activity. Allow us to feel what she feels, see what she sees, hear what she hears.

Somewhere during the activity, let there be an interruption. Have her react appropriately. Is she annoyed? Angry? Or does she welcome the distraction?

When you are finished, reread looking for the emotional reactions.

Have fun with this one.

Leisure Activities

What does your character like to do for fun? It’s an important criteria to consider when creating a given character, for such activities influence the events of the story.

For example, if your character began swimming competitively as a child and still swims today, then when he has free time, he’ll choose to go to the pool. It also means that he could use his skills to solve a crime or create a crime.

Scrapbooking is a huge business right now. Many people love to organize photos and memories into these books, pasting in not just pictures, but also decorations that support a given theme. If one of your characters likes to scrapbook, then the finished products could be used to search for a missing child, decorate a hall for a banquet, or evidence to convict a criminal.

Your task is to create a list of activities that your character might enjoy. It might be important to stick to those things that you are familiar with, unless, of course, you want to spend time researching. Try to get at least ten items on your list.

Then  willow it down to the top five.  Embellish these five by listing when and where and with whom the activities take place. For example, swimming could be a solitary activity, or it could be team-based if your character continues to compete today.

From this expanded list settle on one that feels most like your character.

Now write a scene in which she prepares to participate in this activity, or tells someone about it, or tries to convince someone else to join in. Don’t flood the reader with details about the activity, but rather let the reader experience it through the eyes of the character.

Have fun with this one.