Writing Hint #31: Write a character sketch
I quite often use a warm up writing exercise before I begin the main writing tasks or projects for the day. Sometimes I write in my journal and sometimes I write a new short fiction story.
Another good writing exercise is to write character sketches. Here are some suggestions:
- Choose a person you know well: write a character sketch about that person.
- Sit on a bench in a park: observe the other people there and choose one person to write about.
- Go to your favourite coffee shop: observe the other people having coffee and write about one of them.
- Watch the first ten minutes of a movie you’ve never seen before with the sound turned off: write a character sketch of one of the characters in the film.
- Choose a photo of a person from a magazine, someone you know nothing about: write a character sketch about that person.
- Read through the death notices in your local newspaper, choosing one person you have never heard of before: write a character sketch about that person.
- Choose a name at random from the telephone directory: write about that person.
What to include:
- Describe the appearance of the person, both body features and clothing.
- Outline about four or five major events in the person’s life.
- Describe the person’s personality.
- Write down three or four sayings the person loves to use in everyday life.
- List the preferred food, drinks and recreational activities of your character.
Follow up activity:
If the character sketch becomes so interesting and powerful as you write, how about letting the character take over and tell his or her own story? There might well be a short story lurking there waiting to be released. Perhaps even a novel?