Prompt Group: Character Development Exercise

5 Dec

After a hiatus for NaNoWriMo, I finally returned to my prompt writing group. We did an exercise about character development that I liked. I might be able to turn this into a short story? I’m not sure I want to? Is it obvious I’m hesitant?

Here’s the exercise for you all if you want to try it. I’ll include my answers and writing at the end. If you give this a go, please let me know if it worked for you and if so, how it went.

Step 1: Take five minutes and write descriptions of two characters. What’s their name, age, occupation, hair color, eye color, quick personality traits, etc. Probably about four lines each.

Step 2: In three minutes, write down what each person wants, either long or short-term, that they will work for. What’s their motivation?

Step 3: Answer the following questions about each character.

  • What is their greatest virtue?
  • What is their greatest weakness?
  • What angers him/her the most?
  • What is he/she afraid of?
  • What is his/her secret?
  • What is his/her biggest regret?
  • What is his/her attitude toward:
    • Love?
    • Death?
    • Religion?
    • Money?
    • Politics?

Step 4: Once you’ve done this for both characters, take fifteen minutes to write a scene between the two characters.

Got it? Now do it. My answers are below.

Character 1
Jamie. 32-year-old, lives alone, Engineer. Sandy blonde hair, average height. Brown eyes. One solid friend, Aaron. Bachelor-pad apartment. Clean-ish. Likes music, especially 80s rock.
Goal: Save enough money to move to Ireland. wants to quit to work at a recording studio there.

  • Greatest virtue? Truthfulness
  • Greatest weakness? Single-minded
  • Angers him? Interrupted music
  • Afraid of? Being an engineer forever
  • His secret? Afraid to commit to anything
  • His biggest regret? Not majoring in music
  • His attitude toward:
    • Love? Blaise. If it happens, okay. Not actively seeking it.
    • Death? Only after a long life
    • Religion? Be a good person
    • Money? Saving it, he’s cheap
    • Politics? No opinion as long as it doesn’t interfere with his travel plans.

Character 2
Tom. 59-year-old Banker. Divorced, 25-year-old daughter lives in town. Male pattern baldness, wears grey suits to work
Goal: Retire to Florida and be alone.

  • Greatest virtue? Hard-working
  • Greatest weakness? Cynical
  • Angers him? His own failure.
  • Afraid of? His daughter not loving him.
  • His secret? Goes to visit prostitutes because he’s lonely
  • His biggest regret? Daughter having to live through his divorce.
  • His attitude toward:
    • Love? It doesn’t exist.
    • Death? “He who dies with the most toys wins.”
    • Religion? Strongly against. Ex-Christian.
    • Money? It’s his job. It comes easily to him so he spends liberally.
    • Politics? ‘Angry Republican’

And finally, my scene:

Jamie felt his car jolt from behind. He groaned aloud, already summing up how much this would put him behind in his savings. He put on his blinker and pulled onto the next side street. The road was slick and he’d been dreading being rear-ended all winter and his bitterness was already stored up, waiting for this moment.

The car that pulled up behind him was a nice, slick BMW. He rationed to himself that someone with such a nice car was sure to have insurance as he reached into the glovebox for his own. The man who stepped out had a sour look on his face as he marched to his front fender to inspect the damage. Jamie got out of his Mazda and joined him to stare at their collision.

“It’s not terrible,” the man said, looking at Jamie’s bumper.

“It’s hanging off of the car!”

“But at least it’s only your car. Mine’s fine.” It was true, his bumper had buckled, but it would pop out and with some touch-up paint no one would ever know.

“Can I have your insurance? I’ll have to replace the bumper and I need to have it covered.”

“On that piece of junk?” the man looked the Mazda over, taking in its rust stains and dingy cloth seats inside. “Couldn’t you just replace it?”

Jamie shook his head. He didn’t want to explain that the car was only needed for another two years before he left the US for good. “I don’t need a new car, I just need a new bumper.” He offered up his own insurance card as a sort of peace-offering. “I can give you my information if you need it.”

“Is everything alright, dad?”

Jamie looked up and for the first time realized there was a passenger in the BMW. The girl had raven black hair and she looked frustrated.

“Just stay in the car, Katherine.” He shot her an annoyed glance before she rolled her eyes and closed the door, shivering at the outside cold. “Here’s my card,” he extended it toward Jamie. “Can you take down my information in your phone?” Jamie nodded and pulled his phone out of his pocket, flipping it open and finding the notes app. “Jesus Christ, son, you still have a flip phone? Are you stuck in the stone age?”

“It gets me through,” Jamie said, starting to grit his teeth. “What’s your name?”

 

How did yours turn out? Was this exercise helpful? Leave a comment and let me know.

I hate to ask, but if you could spare the seconds to click over to my Facebook Fan Page (link on the right) I’d appreciate it. I’m three people away from being able to see analytics! Thanks, guys.

Until next time, write on.

Advertisements

One Response to “Prompt Group: Character Development Exercise”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 12.3.13 prompts | Deep Thoughts && Rhyming Words - December 13, 2013

    […] #1 [see details on how I came up with this here](5 mins): Belle brought the coffee mug to her lips and took a quick sip of the steaming hot […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: