Writing Exercise: Take Three Characters.
There is always another way to approach a story. In this exercise, which may take two or three sessions to complete, you are asked to start by deciding what has happened. The story is about an event that is somehow significant in the lives of three people.
- Bereavement and how it affects three different people
- A member of a family is arrested
- Someone is told they have a serious illness
- An accident
- A secret is uncovered
Please share ideas and add to the list of suggestions.
Secondly you are asked to take three characters: Choose the three characters involved, or affected by this event, that you are going to focus on. Start to assemble their personalities, relationships and characteristics, at least mentally but preferably in note form, or as quite detailed character profiles.
Are these people even known to each other?
Are they close Is there connection they are not even aware of, and if so when and how is the connection going to be revealed, at the start, gradually, as a final denouement, never…?
At this stage it might be worth sharing and discussing what has been done so far
Thirdly, take three days: You must choose three days about which to write. These might be three consecutive days, they could be the day ‘it’ happened, or was revealed, the day of a significant event resulting from it eg a funeral, a trial, a homecoming, a confrontation… You could choose a day ‘one year later’ or another day on which something happened, as a result of the initial starting point as far as the three people are concerned…
How are you going to intrigue the reader, develop drama and tension, vary the pace and keep them interested?
Write (or outline) ‘Day one’ from the viewpoint of one of the characters. You may write in first or third person.
Depending on time, day one from the viewpoint of a second character could be written in class or for homework. Day one should then be written from the point of view of the third character.
Days two and three are then each going to be written from the viewpoint of each character.
To complete the exercise you would end up writing a novel or at least a novella!
If the members are interested they can do this but would need to do a lot of the work at home.
For the purpose of a class exercise you might prefer to write just an outline&summary for each of the nine chapters/sections.
Share and discuss.
Category: Group Sessions.Tags:Characterization,Openings,writing characters,summarising