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  1. RubyRoo
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    RubyRoo New Member

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    Character Creation Exercise

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by RubyRoo, May 26, 2008.

    I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but I act at a local theatre, and our writing and direction team work really closely with us. So the other day our head dramateur came in to give a little workshop on how to write scripts for theatre, and in that was this really interesting exercise for creating and developing a character.

    First everyone got four post-it notes and wrote one smell on two of the notes and one object that could fit in a pocket on the other two. So for instance, you could end up with, cigarette smoke, cheese, a mobile phone and a set of keys.

    Then all of these in the entire group were placed on the floor, along with torn out pictures of people from a magazine.

    Everyone had to pick a picture, a smell and an object that wasn't their own.
    (I had a picture of a man, about late fifties, but who obviously was still active and fit, perfume and a pair of glasses). This in itself was slightly disconcerting but worked really well, because you were coming to a character from an angle which didn't base itself in looks, but on the good old showing not telling. Why would your character carry this around in their pockets? Why is this smell an integral part of their lives? And who is that person the the clipping? These can really get your imagination flowing in original ideas.

    Next we had thirty seconds to bullet point exactly what the object looks like:
    ie. Glasses; gold frames, old-fashioned, one lens missing, tiny silver screws, rectangular frames.

    And other thirty to describe the kind of person who would have them in their pockets:
    ie older woman, Maggie, in an armchair sleeping, country-girl, loves her dogs, artist

    And other thiry to say what else would be in her pockets;
    packet of cigarettes, pencil, paintbrush and rubber

    Next it was why the smell was important;
    ie Perfume- rose perfume, expensive, bought from France, was her sisters but reminds her of her mother.

    And lastly who is the person in the picture:
    ie Nathaniel Taylor, her brother-in-law, lives with him after her sister died, he thinks it is for "comfort" and because her arthritis is making it harder for her to paint so she isn't making as much money, but she has been in loe with him since she first met him when she was ten.



    As a little writing exercise, we then had to write a description of
    1) What your character had for breakfast
    2) An important event in their lives
    3) A little description on the importance of the smell

    Then we got a print-out of an empty facebook page, which we filled in.
    This was good because it provided an image of the character, their friends(or lack thereof), their last "wall" post, favourite things, how they have changed. You could also, as the character, shoe not to answer questions on your profile, such as political views, which shows something more about your character.

    And lastly some very very quick fire questions about your character...anything from their names to how their mother/enemy would describe them in three words, to if the like cats or dogs better, to their first love or the age they lost their virginity.


    It was a really good exercise because you were effectively creating a character from scratch but you feel like you know this character more in an hour than alot of others you have created. Because you may never use all these things to further a story but they all play a vital role in who that person is, and makes them more believable.

    Hope that was interesting!
     
  2. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Very interesting!
    I should try that out!
    Thanks for posting!
     
  3. RubyRoo
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    RubyRoo New Member

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    It was really useful, thanks for replying!
     
  4. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    No problem. :)
     
  5. companionableills
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    companionableills Member

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    we should try this on here! have a bunch of people post objects/smells (not quite sure photos would be a good idea, maybe we could add a third category of word? A verb?), have one person randomize combinations and hand them back out?
     
  6. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Sounds good to me, companionableills!
     
  7. Aurora_Black
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    Aurora_Black Contributing Member

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    Iv'e never heard of that technique before, sounds like fun. A tad of randomness can make a really great idea fo a character, thanks for posting this! :)
     
  8. RubyRoo
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    RubyRoo New Member

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    That's fine! It was rather random, but in an hour or so you have a good idea of character and possible plot so not too bad.
     
  9. LibbyAnn
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    LibbyAnn Contributing Member

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    What a fun technique! I agree - we should try something like that on here. I think it's a great way to really develop a character.

    Question - how do you do this (is it even possible?) if you already have a character in mind?
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The exercise itself sounds like it would fit well in the Word Games forum
     
  11. Shizai Ko
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    Shizai Ko New Member

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    Thank you, that will get me out of my creating repetitive characters. You really don't know how much this helps me. Again, thanks.
     

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