Most Important Person

Hopefully each of us has been touched by someone who truly cared and to whom we gave our love. This person might have been a relative, unless you grew up in a dysfunctional family, and then that special one might have been a teacher, boss or neighbor.

Think of the gifts this person gave you. They might be physical, such as a new bike or a longed-for book, but they might also have been emotional, such as love, kindness, unconditional caring.

Your character has also been touched by a special person. Who is that individual? What has she done for your character? In what ways is the life of your character enriched?

Has that most important person passed away or is he still alive? If alive, have the roles now been reversed? Your character now gives to the special person? In what ways?

Your task is to write a scene in which their lives intersect. Remember that we need to feel the depth of the relationship, the love between them (assume that this is not physical love, but rather supportive).

Reread, looking for key words that allow us to see the feelings on display.

Have fun with this one.

Love Poems

Throughout all of time, love poems have been a popular form of expression whose sole purpose is to entice the desired partner to fall deeply in love with the writer.

These poems express the writer’s most intense feelings, in a way that bares the heart in raw form.

Poems can be written in free verse, meaning that they don’t have to rhyme, but are more of a stream of consciousness. Or poems can rhyme, following patterns established long ago.

It’s up to the writer.

Your task is imagine that your character is in love and wants to write something that will show how much she loves her chosen one.

Don’t worry about rhyme or meter unless that is something that you want to explore. Instead allow the words to flow freely, running down the page like a stream runs bubbling down the creek.

Have fun with this one.

Dealing with the Past

In Karen White’s contemporary novel, The Sound of Glass, the secrets of the past are interwoven with events of the present. As the story unfolds, the strings binding together families slowly unravel, revealing a disturbing proclivity that is spread across time, place and generation.

This novel reminds us that a person’s history is built by a series of events that influence the development of character.

A classic example is that of an abusive parent or spouse, who abuses the children of the union, who then grow up not knowing any other path of relationship building, and so repeat the pattern of violent action on a new generation.

Likewise a family that is created by love, kindness and caring raises children who feel the warmth, grow up understanding how love binds together individuals and so build new relationships based on mutual respect.

When designing a character, the writer must take into consideration that individual’s past. While the past might not be described in the text, but it does influence how an individual sees and responds to the world.

One way to do this is to write a character sketch of a defining moment in that person’s life. It could be a remembrance of being held in the father’s arms, snuggling with a sibling in a hammock strung between two strong trees, talk around the table during dinner.

Imagine how differently the individual sees the world if he is smacked across the face for speaking during a meal, pushed against a wall for dropping a toy that shatters into pieces or is whipped with a belt for forgetting to pick up dirty clothes.

Your task is to create the background for a character that already exists in one of your stories. You can do this either by writing a scene or by making a list of bulleted points.

Once you have done this, reread your story and look for places where the individual’s reactions would be influenced by the past. Make corrections in order to build consistency.

Have fun with this one.

Good luck.