If you’re like me, you love the idea of writing stories. Having your words be read by others. Publishing your work. If you’re like me, you’ve figured out how difficult that can be, especially if you’re creating characters and a story line from scratch. Today can be the very start of this journey – the seed that will grow into something beyond you. Let’s start with a character.
Set aside between 30 minutes to an hour to work on this session. Like I’ve said before, some of these writing ideas have been inspired by others online, creative writing books, and past writing classes. Some are original. Now they are yours.
Start with a stream of consciousness. Because we are writing creatively today, writing the personal thoughts that are sitting in your mind can open you up to creating new worlds. Set a timer for 2 minutes, put your pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and start writing. Don’t stop until the timer goes off. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, hurting anyone’s feelings. Just get it out. After the timer goes off you can burn it or delete it, but GET IT OUT. I consider this to be a brain dump before I can let my true creativity come to the surface, though sometimes there are gems within the nonsense. Underline anything that sparks something for you.
Imagine a character. What qualities does this person have? When you first create a rough outline of a character, you won’t have all the information. Right now, concentrate on getting down the basics. Create two lists that you can continue to add to as you write: intrinsic and extrinsic.
The intrinsic list should include personality traits and habits – is she greedy? Bites her lip when she’s nervous? A hopeless romantic? Insecure? Everyone has positive and negative qualities, so be sure to include both sides of the morality spectrum as you make your list.
As for the extrinsic list, what’s the basic view of your character? Do they have freckles? Wear a suit to work? Pierced ears? Chipped fingernail polish? Paint a picture.
These lists will be a resource for you when developing your character.
Writing Exercise #2:
Now that you have a rough idea of this new character, now you bring them to life. Write a typical morning in the life of your character. You can write this in full sentences or give us the highlights, just imagine how your character starts their day. Now might be an ideal time to give them a test name. Remember, their traits will get honed the more you write about them and can be changed when you get a better grasp of who they’re becoming. We want our characters to be dynamic, so keep in mind how they might grow and change as you write about them. They must start somewhere.
Open your mind and concentrate on this newly born character. Think about how they’ve grown into this version of themselves – how their childhood molded them. The town they grew up in. The bigger kid who bullied them. How many times they’ve moved. Their high school girlfriend or boyfriend. Grades in school. First job. Let your mind wander.
Put your mind to work and do a stream of consciousness about your character. Imagine it as a rambling autobiography of their life; don’t worry about punctuation or grammar. Don’t even worry too hard about the details – details can be changed later. Simply use this time to let your creativity flow.
Now you’ve created your very own character, an idea belonging only to you. How does that feel? It could be the start of something great.
If you feel inspired to share your writing from this session, please comment below, or link to your own website.