Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: #amwriting, #FLfiction14, #fridayflash, character sketch, future learn, sexism
More from my Future Learn course:
Experiment with different ways of portraying your character, in line with the suggestions made by Novakovich.
Writing in the third person (using ‘he’ or ‘she’), try each of the four different ways outlined below, either in one or two continuous pages, or in four separate paragraphs:
- Make a summary of what the character is like.
- Show them through appearance.
- Show them through a habitual or repeated action.
- Finally, show them through a speech in a scene.
1. Jack liked the company of strangers and acquaintances. It rarely took long before he found someone a struggle to be around. For those that knew him, his moods never moved far from grouchiness unless he was drinking and then his real mood would come to the surface and soon be amplified. When he’s not working, or reading, Jack’s thoughts are always of women. Everything from the way they look and talk to the way they think and feel fascinated him. Nevertheless, he had vowed to himself a long time ago never to have the kind of relationship with any woman that could lead to him compromising his life.
2. For a man of average height, Jack had noticeably large, manly hands yet with long fingers that he used to create beautiful, intricate tattoos for the rich and famous. He always dressed casually in murky coloured jumpers and well-fitted jeans but wore classically crafted Church’s shoes, every day, that he would shine each morning.
3. For a freelance tattooist like Jack, most of his work came about in the afternoons and evenings so when it came to the morning he was a man of routine. Before shining his shoes, he would cut up 2 pieces of bread and feed the birds in his back garden then make himself a strong coffee and sit in his conservatory with a book.
4. “I’ll have the usual.” he said in an effortless mumble, as he walked past the bar maid into the courtyard and sat alongside another loner in the pub. He lit up a cigarette, “so, where was I? Oh yeah, women.” They share a laugh, “Don’t get me wrong, I love women but you got to agree with me, they’re all manipulative; they’re all calculating; and they’re all out for one thing. Your money.”
Try either of these approaches with your ‘new’ character:
- have them either as an explicit first person (‘I’) character narrating themselves
- or have them as a narrator who talks about the other character and in doing so reveals something of themselves.
Write about 250 words or so in your notebook, on your blog or in a Word document. There’s no need to post it here.
This time you should also make your character desire something, and make the desire their driving force. It will work best if you make whatever the character desires desirable in the reader’s eyes too.
Why, oh, why are there children in the pub? They’re all around, these days. Smelly, scabby, loud little things running around anywhere and everywhere I go, it seems. Even my last client had her two screaming and thudding about whilst I finished off her tattoo. It’s bloody hard to concentrate when you’ve got little monsters about. All I want is a bit of peace and quiet after a long day of working.
After a hard days work, I want to relax in the pub with my baccy and my beer. I don’t need some child staring at me, picking their nose whilst I try and read my book in peace. Then again, if the boy hadn’t disturbed me, perhaps I wouldn’t have seen the red headed girl behind him.
What a beauty. She clearly takes good care of herself. Although she clearly doesn’t know how to dress herself. That dress is hardly flattering: you can’t tell how long her legs are under that dress. Actually – having another look at her – she’s a bit hippy looking. It’s hard to see from here but I’m pretty sure she has tattoos behind her ear. Cute.
Looking around the pub, it’s good to see that there are actually as many hot women as there are horrible little children. One of them is looking over, smiling at me. She looks Italian with her dark brown hair and olive skin. It’s been a while since I spent time with a Mediterranean.
Filed under: Telling stories, Writing | Tags: #fridayflash, am writing, friday flash fiction
I wrote this for my “Start Writing Fiction’ course that I’m doing on Future Learn – it was a character sketch assignment. We had to create a character that was either based on ourself with a dramatic alteration (e.g. age, gender, etc); or based on someone we know with a dramatic alteration; or completely from our imagination; or a combination of the above. Hope you enjoy.
Rachel has always been a morning person. Every morning she awakes at about 7am, goes straight to the bathroom and relieves herself, before gluing in her teeth, straightening her long grey hair and eating a nice breakfast. This is her only ritual. Each day is a fresh one and is usually led by a combination of her mood and the weather.
Pulling the blinds back, she is a little disappointed to unveil a day of strong sunshine and a slight breeze. Upon waking that morning, she hoped for a rainy day that would compel her to sit at her desk and write.This is the sort of weather you can only be outside in, she says to herself.
After dressing her hair in a colourful chiffon scarf to hide her receding hair line, she applies her make up to her face. Something she really enjoys these days, even though she didn’t really dabble in make up until her late sixties. Whilst squeezing into her grey summer dress, she decides that she’ll go have a coffee on the seafront with her notebook and do some people watching.
Coming out of her apartment building, she bids friendly good morning to the caretaker and his wife as she passes. They both smile fondly at her, leaving her with that warm fuzzy feeling she craves for each day. There is nothing she likes more than happiness, smiles and laughter on a day like this.
Walking down Grand Avenue in her favourite dress, she feels like the superstar she always dreamed of being and despite her aching hip slowing her down, she tries her best to walk to the cafe with the same sassiness as she had in her thirties. A cloud begins to cover the sun and Rachel thinks to herself about how much more fun everything was with her husband by her side. She sits down at the next bench and waits for her wheeze to pass.
Filed under: Help Yourself, Love, Mental Well Being, Sex, Writing | Tags: writing
“Khalil Gibran once said that people will never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words. What would your seven words be?”
Filed under: Epiphany, journalism, Telling stories, Trivia | Tags: awareness, brighton, education, happiness, hove, intelligence, stupidity
I saw this on The Daily Post (Topic #331) and thought it was an excellent question. The full question asked was:
Is there a cure for stupidity? If you had a million dollars to reduce stupidity where you live, how would you spend it?
Stupidity is the flip side of intelligence. Anyone who has grazed the basic rules of psychology will know that there is not one definition of intelligence and the same can be said of stupidity – leading to the question: What is it? There are many different kinds: all of which can be innate, assumed or reactive (e.g. from drinking, grief, stress etc).
Just because you are stupid in one way, doesn’t mean you are in another. Most of us are born with the gift of oblivion or lack of understanding in some form or shape. For instance, a rocket scientist may have difficulty communicating with people on any other topic than science or a cynical lawyer could find it hard to believe in a loving, altruistic gesture from another. However, in most cases there is always a chance to raise awareness for our faults – if we can learn to collaborate and question things.
If I had a million dollars to reduce stupidity in Hove, East Sussex I would concentrate on innate and reactive stupidity and spend it on creating more places for meet-up groups. Let me explain myself: Brighton & Hove is a very progressive place already. Known as the gay capital of UK, we are all about accepting you for who you are (anything goes unless your a Nazi), partying, yoga and all of the arts. These are just a few things I think of when I think of my home.
However, there are too many places to socialise to drink and not enough late-night hangouts for non-drinkers. My vision is of a massive space with lots of colourful sofas and comfy armchairs, where people can come and meet up with their clubs; find new interests and friends; and learn new things. There would be a long virgin cocktail bar where people could either relax with a virgin Mary or take lessons in bottle-flaring.
As discussed already, anyone can be slower than another (but not stupid) depending on the topic. So there would be mentors who you could always go to for advice. In addition, to relieve stress and increase endorphines (believe to have a powerful influence on intelligence) there would be an equally large dance studio on the second floor with exercise and meditation classes around the clock. Although we already have a great number of these (in real life) they can be expensive and at awkward times.
There is no cure for stupidity. Like intelligence, humour or beauty, it is subjective. However, there is a way to enhance intelligence by making clean, vibrant living more accesible. Happy people = brighter, smarter people.
Filed under: Help Yourself, journalism, Mental Well Being, Physical Health, Trivia, Writing
When I received this award in August (would you believe) from the wonderful Chuck Allen, I had no idea what to write. The requirements of accepting the award are to reveal little known facts about yourself and then pass it on to another wonderful blogger.
To check out Chuck Allen’s random little facts click here. To find out facts about me, read on:
1. I would love to be an agony aunt
I’ve always thought I’d make a great agony aunt. After finishing my course in magazine journalism and completing some work experience at Brighton’s eco-mag Rocks, I was lucky enough to get an internship at Scarlet magazine. I hoped the experience with this leading mag in sex & relationships would get me on the route to success. However, it ended up sending me in a very different direction: creative writing.
2. Hot and steamy beginnings
My first short stories were in the genre of erotica. I didn’t attempt to write anything else until 2009. Most of my stories were for Scarlet but I also managed to get one of my stories published in a book called Ultimate Decadence – all proceeds still go to the Macmillan Fund for Breast Cancer. It was part of a sub-charity called Burlesque Against Breast Cancer.
3. Soap maker
Like @chuckallen I enjoy taking up new hobbies and on a constant mission to better myself. I believe this is a typical writer/artist thing to do because we love to experience new things and find new material. At the moment I am learning to make soap using some skills I have picked up over the years from mixing essential oils. So much fun! Next step is sculpting it.
4. Self-help lover
Whether I read the whole thing, the contests page or just the cover, I LOVE self help books. Love bettering myself and finding out new things to help others. My favourite one in the past few years have been A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, expressing the need to live in the moment. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus was the first one I read (I think) but I only read half of it because it tends to say the same thing in every chapter: let women talk their stress out, let men have their space. Not much more to it.
5. Secret Cinema obsession
I suddenly get very obsessive when I go to the cinema. I like to get there early so I don’t miss any trailers. Also, I like to sit in the centre of the fifth row because of some advert I saw over 15 years ago when the actor says, “The girl in the middle of the fifth row….” – I can’t even remember why or what he says ;)
I would like to give this award to @Helenscribbles. This will make her a versatile blog award winner THREE times!! Well done Helen. Helen’s website is filled with fascinating and unique stories. All with wonderful twists, interesting scenes and intriguing dialogue. I especially recommend her Flash Fiction and Tuesday Serials.
Right, I’m very tired – so off to bed. Hope this all makes sense. Thanks again Chuck Allen for my award. :)
As I haven’t been back in Friday Flash for so long, I thought I would do one of Lily Childs’ Friday predictions. The rules to this is 100 words (max) flash fiction or poetry using all of the words: Affection(ate), Mustard, Scrape.
He could see her apprehension to take him on at first. It took strenuous stretching and pushing his body, for her to believe that he could cut the mustard. Although even after years of their success together she knew how to crack the whip.
“No, No, No,” she said, simultaneously smacking the back of her hand into the other’s palm. “You scrape the barrel with these moves. Again.” He lifted her with a graceful affection that only a performer could pull off. Secretly resenting her cadence and poise exuding such excellence.
“How’s your new bike working out for you, love?” Emily hears herself say.
“Thanks, Mum. I love it – I’m using it every day. You should see me zooming through the city at full speed. Those big old buses seem like gigantic elephants and make me feel like a clever little mouse scurrying between them.””
Without looking up from peeling the carrots, Emily’s smile turns to a slight frown. “I hope you’re careful on the roads.”
“Mum, don’t be silly, of course.” She stretches her whole body out, “I just love the freedom of it. And just think, I’ll be driving next year, it’s going to be amazing.” She claps her hands together and gives off a high pitched squeal.
Still shaving vegetables, Emily giggles, “You sound like your father when he got his camera. I hope you’re getting all this, John?”
“Yes, dear.” he mumbled. Jess munches on a carrot and headed towards her father, her eyes lit up, “Dad, can I have a go?” Suddenly, she’s frozen in time.
The thick parallel lines of the pause symbol cover the left corner of the screen. Emily stands over her television, tears rolling down her face, taking everything in from the image of her beautiful daughter.
Emily takes a handkerchief from her black blazer and blows her nose, trying desperately to pull herself together. She feels the warmth of John’s hand on her shoulder as he takes her in his arms. She buries her tear soaked face in his chest, trying to muffle her bawls.
The cries stop. The couple are frozen as they comfort one another in funeral attire stood in the living room, their television behind them.
Two ad men sit in an editing suite. One sips on coffee, the other on diet coke.
“Let’s take a break, we’ve been here for hours.” He says.
“It’s been worth it, though. It’s going to be very effective” The other says.
© Vicky Bigmore 2011