Add a Character

We’re spending a few weeks looking at a way to come up with a fresh story or a plot for your next novel.

So, did you do the challenge I gave you in my previous post? If so, you now have a setting to work with, based on a memory from your childhood.

The first time I did this, under the direction of a S.African writer, I ended up perched on a tree above a rock, at the top of a kopje. This was in my imagination of course. As I peered out from the foliage, I could see for miles. The leaves sheltered me from the fierce Central African wind, and the occasional breeze rustled the pages of my books. Now came the next step.

“Picture someone appearing next to you,” said the author. Don’t try to work the person out. Just turn around in our imagination and see who’s there.”

That sounded strange, but I complied. To my surprise, there he was—a scrawny, African child of about seven years old. His clothes were in tatters and his feet bare. His ebony skin looked grey with unwashed dirt, and his kinky hair appeared sprinkled with sand.

“Mangwanani.” His clear voice starled me, as did his bright grin. His teeth looked far whiter than mine ever did.

“Morning,” I muttered back, not sure what to do with his child who was all of two years younger than me.

And that’s where we’ll leave this exercise for today. Now it’s over to you.
Picture the scene from your childhood (see Explore Your Memory Bank) then add a character. Don’t try to conjure him or her up; allow your imagination to do the work. Once you can see the character, write as fast as you can, and describe him or her as fully as possible. Include the person’s attitude and facial expression.
Then come back on Monday for the next step.

About Shirley

Shirley Corder is an author who writes to inspire and encourage. She has a passion for helping other writers and cancer survivors.