Henrietta Maddox Webloner

Portraying Jack
June 9, 2014, 1:52 pm
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ImageMore 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:

  1. Make a summary of what the character is like.
  2. Show them through appearance.
  3. Show them through a habitual or repeated action.
  4. 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.


1 Comment so far
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You’ve created someone very three dimensional indeed!

Comment by Icy Sedgwick (@IcySedgwick)

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