Character Development 1: A Face in the Crowd

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Prof. Sky Alton
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Character Development 1: A Face in the Crowd

Post by Prof. Sky Alton »

With characters it’s often hard to know where to get started. You are essentially creating a whole new person out of nothing: they’ve got to have good qualities (but not too good), weaknesses (but not too many) and some idea of what they’re doing in life (maybe).
Stop! Thinking about it this way often isn’t helpful because it’s scary. Instead, think of how you’d get to know anybody. You’d look at them, you’d listen to them and you’d note what they did, then you’d make judgements about their personality and motivations.

Let’s try doing the same for some characters. Put yourself in a familiar setting like your favourite café or park. Who’s hanging around? Start with their age, what they’re doing and any particularly noticeable physical features (no need to describe their long lashed, emerald eyes in minute detail). Once you have this idea of them, start to gradually apply a bit of legilimency. What are they thinking about right then? What few keywords might start to sum up their personality?

Share your notes for 3 to 5 characters below. In all, it should equal 200 words.

You’ll earn 20 beans for completing this prompt as well as it counting towards the chance to snag our shiny Quill and Ink award.

There is no deadline as such for these prompts but if you’d like it to count towards your chance of earning the award for a specific year, we’ll need it by the end of that school year. If you’re comfortable sharing, then post below. If not, email your story to us via hol.bookclub @ (without the spaces). Oh and remember it’s a good idea to check through your piece carefully for spelling and grammatical errors as they make it harder for people to properly enjoy your work.
"Some things never change, turn around and the time has flown. Some things stay the same, though the future remains unknown."
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Iverian Gnash
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Posts: 453
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:33 am

Re: Character Development 1: A Face in the Crowd

Post by Iverian Gnash »

Scene: Sitting on a park bench, quietly watching the people as they casually pass by.

Character 1:
The first group I see is your typical family - baby in a stroller, kid kicking around a soccer ball, and the mother who seemed oddly calm as you don't normally see them when they're with their children. This mother had her hair pulled back loosely in regular ponytail and wore a comfortable dress while pushing her baby around. Laughing at her little boy, she'd kick his soccer ball when it came near and he'd run off to kick it right back. She wasn't paying attention to anyone else on the path and seemed entirely occupied with her children.

Character 2:
The next person I bother paying attention to is a photographer. He's carrying around his equipment and setting it up in seemingly random places around the park to snap pictures. I wonder what kind of education he has had in photography - if he ever took a class on it and why he enjoys it so much. The photographer does look rather happy and as he nears me I realize he's talking to himself. Something like, "Yes! Right there. Oh wait, a little over. Wow, amazing, beautiful. Hold still, let me just take this. Perfect, that'll be in the collection." He strikes me as someone particularly pleased with his hobby.

Character 3:
At any park, there's always this sort of person so I wasn't surprised at all when the kid rolled past on his skateboard. He jumped up on the benches and back down on his skateboard, showing off as much as he could. While doing various flips, it struck me how he looked like every other typical skateboarder you'd see - beanie and a pair of checkered Vans. I wondered why he was here on a school day, was there really nothing else for him to do? Though I envied his style and overall nonchalant attitude as he performed a few more tricks then sped off down the path.
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