Thursday, March 24, 2011

Character Development

I've been reading Writer's Digest and some other writing magazine with some really not-creative name that didn't manage to stick in my head (Writer?). I can read the back issues in the community college library. So lately I've spent breaks between classes devouring one article after another. The majority of them are about starting your novel, how authors got their big breaks and their advice now that they're millionaires, dealing with rejection letters from editors, how to write comedy, thrillers, and so on. I think I'd like the magazines better if they were directed specifically at journalism and/or freelancing but I take what I can get. So anyways, all the talk about "writing your big novel" started to seep into my pores and now I'm thinking that, to be a real writer, I've got to have that unfinished manuscript always whispering to me in the background, plaguing me. Whelp, I've decided to get on that boat and start it now. The first thing that I know is that you need to develop your characters, particularly your main character. From there you can see where they lead you what adventure they may take on. While you may have an idea of the story plot, your character-once it has been developed-won't necessarily bring you down the road you intended. So I'm trying it out, to see if the magic of writing a novel will happen to me and if my character will really come to "life". Then, once I'm a full-fledged-freelancer (which very well may mean living under an overpass and fighting the seagulls for french fries) I can say," oh and I'm working on my novel, it's been in the making for three years now...". 

So here I will show you my first writing exercise which may just be a peek into the makings of my novel..hahaha!..ehm.

Developing my Main Character

Her eyes shine hazel, ringed in midnight blue. If they weren’t always lowered, they would startle anyone into awakened curiosity. In this steely world of black and shades of gray, they are the single suggestion of the fantastical world that lay behind them.

The girl Larkin, when seen in a crowd, wouldn’t stand out in any special way. She isn’t particularly pretty and she has no outward reason to attract anyone’s attention. By most, she would be easily overlooked, what for her size and introverted demeanor.

She doesn’t mind that people pass her by. She passes them by too, a group conversing on the side of the path, laughing together. Even if she wanted to, Larkin couldn’t even summon the desire to insert herself into such a reality, she knows she would immediately feel uncomfortable. Nonetheless she does feel lonely, she desires human connections. But she often feels as if she belongs nowhere, is wanted by no one.

She sometimes wistfully imagines that some one person would notice her, see her there in her lonely corner of the world. They might covertly watch her expressions and surmise that inside her head is a place of magnetic intrigue. And it is.

In her mind thoughts are whirling and colors bursting, dreams and ideas intertwine and dance together creating designs and scenes detailed by pure imagination. She knows that what is portrayed on her outside self is nothing to suggest all that is going on within. Perhaps someone would somehow feel that and be drawn to her without exactly knowing why but knowing that she is a treasure chest full of every color imaginable that paint shapes, pictures and word, to tie them together to become entirely unique creations.

In a drab, colorless world she observes a population content with a life that consists of dull work rewarded with money to provide for nothing more than a monotonous lifestyle. Closing her eyes, she enters a world where there is so much more that awaits just around the corner. In her dreams, she rounds that corner but it only leads to another, and another, until she tires and cannot go on.

But something calls her. She cannot suppress the urge to break out of this sad place. She is restless. This feeling of fire inside her is hardly contained and, practically squirming with the desire to find out what is beyond the beyond, the world continues to run around her, oblivious. Black and white figures stream to and from work, living a life that makes her scream on the inside. On the outside, she is just as dull and the others look past her, through her. So she holds her eyes lowered, keeping her secret only for someone who really deserves it, who can discover it for themselves. Maybe then her loneliness will end and the path to the beyond will reveal itself.

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I'd love to hear what you think, go on ahead and slap some words down!