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Alright, ladies and gents, and all my favorite reprobates, here is a fun, simple exercise to kick writer’s block to the curb.
The rules are easy:
* Write a concise paragraph about a whole new character.
* It cannot be from/for whatever you’re working on right now.
* It cannot be someone like you.
* See how well you can convey a solid concept of just who this character is without using physical descriptors for him or her – tall, brown-haired, blue-eyed, young, thin, etc.
* Think language – what words would this person use, how can you incorporate them into the paragraph as a narrator – my ex. “Come three o’clock,” rather than “At three o’clock,” etc.
* Think comparatively – how does this character relate to an object or another person, how can you reflect his/her age, condition, personality in how they see or think about that thing or person?
* Play with it, take as long as you like. Build big, then pare it down to a solid feeling for who this character is in as few words as possible. Consider using a free service like grammarly.com to make sure the verbiage and grammar are optimal and tight.
* Enjoy yourself and share, share, share!
Here’s my example:
“Come three o’clock in the morning, he grabbed the body and unlocked the trunk to that rusty old sedan. Its cylinder groaned in protest, coercing him into a momentary kinship with the damned thing. The key in his left hand might have been smooth and instrumental, but it was forcing old negligent parts to twist and yield. He had plenty of those himself, most of which could stand a little lubrication now and then.”
Did you get a good feel for him from “Come three o’clock in the morning, he grabbed the body?” How about “coercing a momentary kinship with the damned thing,” and “forcing old negligent parts to twist and yield…He had plenty of those himself, most of which could stand a little lubrication now and then?”
I hope so – and please don’t be shy about sharing yours, whether it’s on your blog or in the comments here.