Welcome back to Writer’s Corner, your one-stop shop for writing exercises, resources and general all-around advice.
Today, we’ll show you a useful way to connect your characters on the page to your emotions, and your most poignant memories of the people around you.
No matter how much information you know about your characters – their age, race, gender, sexuality, education, occupation, appearance, etc – you’ll never truly create a character that breathes with life if you cannot connect emotionally to the people who inhabit your memory. If you are able to summon these emotions, and explore them fully, then you will be connecting your experience with the imaginative potential of your characters to explore and expand these emotions.
Exercise 2: Connecting to the people in your life and in your memory
This exercise is designed to connect you to those people in your past and present. Think about the following list of people. If they are now in your past, what is your most poignant memory of them? Your lasting impression? What quirks do they have? What traits did they possess? How would you describe them to someone who has never met them? The important thing is to include the information you believe to be fundamental about that person, whether it’s the shade of lipstick she wore every day or his lifelong philosophy. Write down anything you feel would help.
– Your best friend
– Your worst enemy
– A stranger you have met recently
– A person who annoys you the most
– A childhood friend
– Your favourite teacher
– The person you admire
Pay particular attention to your encounters with these people. Paint a picture of this encounter in your mind, or write a scene, if the memory is particularly strong.
Once you have done this, you may even have a larger cast of characters based on real people. The choices you make for your characters, whether based on real people or derived from imagination, will be informed by your own understanding of the people in your experience, and their emotions.