Category Archives: Character Development

Writing Prompt: Rosalind at Home

So I was supposed to do A Trip to the Store for all of my characters, but I couldn’t think what good a trip to the store would do for Rosalind.  So instead I wrote a scene from Rosalind at home to help me know better how she would react in some situations.

Centripetal Force

It was after 8:00 when Rosalind got to her house.  She could hear the TV through the door.  Brad was over.  She found him sitting in his usual spot, slouched in the middle of the couch in a wifebeater and basketball shorts.  Three empty beer bottles stood on the folding side table, with a pile of mail behind it.  Rosalind crossed over to the table and sifted through the mail. Two of them had “PAST DUE” in red letters across the front.  Nothing from the talent company.

“What’re you doing home so late?” grumbled Brad.

“I was out with friends,” Rosalind clipped back.

“Doin’ what?” he grumbled louder.

“Eating pizza, gosh!” Roalind snapped, throwing the mail back onto the table and heading into the kitchen.

“Your momma and I were supposed to go out tonight,” said Brad.

“What does that have to do with me? Happy hour isn’t even open yet.”  She opened the fridge, looked in, and shut it again.

“We were gonna go to dinner.”

This piqued Rosalind’s interest.  “Oh yeah, where?”

“Swordfish,” mumbled Brad through a mouthful of chips.

Rosalind snickered to herself. The Swordfish was where her mom usually took her boyfriends to break up with them. “Lucky break,” she said as she looked into the cupboard.  She found a box of crackers at the back.

“What’sat supposed to mean?”

Just then, Rosalind’s mom, Jeannie, came out of the bedroom in a rush of perfume, calling, “Brad, are you ready?”

“Rosalind’s here,” Brad said, jerking his thumb back.

“Oh, hi honey!” Jeannie cruised over to Rosalind and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

“New perfume, Mom?” Rosalind asked with a raised eyebrow.

Her mom’s blue eyes widened. “Oh, no, just one of the old ones I have…lying around,” she said.

“Uh-huh…,” Rosalind murmured.

Jeannie gave her a look.

Rosalind responded with her own innocent look and a shrug.

Flustered, Jeannie turned her attention back to the boyfriend. “Brad, you’re not dressed yet.”

“Just a minute,” he complained, reaching across the couch and picking up a crumpled piece of blue fabric.  “Where we goin’ tonight?” he asked as he draped it over his shoulders and pulled his large frame up.

“Brad said you were going to the Swordfish today,” Rosalind said, whining out the restaurant name.

Her mom huffed and brushed a loose bang away from her face. “Well, now we’re going to Bunky’s.  Why not?  They’ve got good food,” she rushed, pulling on her red blazer too hard. “Did you get something to eat, honey?”

Nice change of subject, Mom, Rosalind thought.  “I had pizza with Gray,” she said.

A big smile broke out on her mom’s face.  “Oh, how nice!” she cooed.  “What is that, 3 dates now?  Next thing you know you’ll be wearing a white dress!”  Rosalind rolled her eyes but didn’t respond.

“I’m starving, babe, let’s go,” growled Brad at the doorway.  His frame took up the entire opening.

Jeannie snatched her matching red purse and whirled to him.

“Have fun, Mom,” Rosalind said.  “See you…whenever.”  The door shut behind them.

She sighed and flopped down onto the couch.  Chips crunched under her.  “Gross!” she muttered, brushing them onto the floor.  She flipped the TV to a game show.  Some woman had just won $3000.  Rosalind scowled. I should apply to be on that show Three thousand dollars could get me out of this dump and somewhere I can start over.  A dark, antsy feeling seeped in.  She sighed again and pulled herself back off the couch.  Time for a walk.  But first a change of clothes.

She stared at her closet.  Her closet always made her happy.  There was nothing she loved more than clothes.  When the rest of her life was dragging her down, she could always open her closet and breathe in all the pretty things.  Not only that, but clothes meant she could be whoever she wanted to be on any given day.  Today, what grabbed her first was her favorite vest.  It was oversized and fringed all along the bottom.  Next she grabbed her favorite pants, the ridiculously wide-legged white ones that the 70s forgot.  Next, her red heels with the gold studs all up the back.  What kind of top underneath though?  Impact was the important thing.  Red heels weren’t enough of a statement by themselves to counter the bland vest and pants.  She sifted through her shirts until–That’s it!  She yanked out the crop top with the large Aztec print.  Perfect.

 

Clop, clop, clop, clop. Rosalind enjoyed the sound of her heels clicking on the sidewalk.  She imagined herself on stage, belting out the last note of a song, all eyes on her.  Sprays of sparks behind her and smoke on the ground.  What a feeling!  She straightened her back and exaggerated her steps.  That’s what life was meant to feel like.  Not… The memory of chips crunching and the smell of beer intruded upon her fantasy life, causing her good mood to grate to a halt.  The image of her mom’s desperate look before she went off to Bucky’s with Brad rose up before her.  Why did her mom pick such losers to date?  “Why can’t you just stop dating altogether?” she asked out loud.

A pale flash of hair just ahead startled Rosalind out of her thoughts.  A pair of steely eyes glared at her out of a petite, pointed face.  “What did you say?” the mysterious girl asked.

“I wasn’t talking to you,” Rosalind reacted.

“Good. Because my dating habits are none of your business,” she answered.

Rosalind scoffed.  “Why would I care about your ‘dating habits’?  I don’t even know you!”

The girl narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips a moment.  “You’re Rosalind.”

Rosalind’s mouth fell open.  For once in her life, she was speechless.

The girl smirked. “I see you in the halls between 4th and 5th period.  Building B.  Coming out from Mr. Burkhaus’s class.”

 

“What are you doing standing out here all by yourself?”

“I was studying constellations.  What are you doing walking out here all by yourself?” said the girl stiffly.

Rosalind shifted away a little.  “Walking,” she said.

The glanced at her feet. “In those?”

Rosalind took in the girl’s attire.  Beige jacket, knee-length skirt, blue canvas shoes with white ankle socks.  This girl needs some serious fashion help, she thought.

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Character Quirks

Stephen says all my characters have to have very specific character quirks to make them realistic.  Like one character whose right toe always itches.  I think he’s right.

Katharine –

Lea –

Rosalind –

Megara –

By the way, I decided Lea has to be a scientist.  And that I need an entirely new set for the story.  But I like my characters too much to let them go.

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Letters to My Characters (TOTC)

Dear Megara,

Tell me about Lea.

Love,
Minjonet

Dear M.,

She’s quiet and seems kind of angry inside.  She’s always trying to control Rosalind from acting out so much.

Love,
Meg

Dear Rosalind,

Tell me about Lea.

Love,
Minjonet

Dear M.,

Ugh.  She’s awful.  No free spirit whatsoever.  I mean, I guess she’s good at being organized and stuff, but she really needs to cheer up a bit.  I can’t think of a time I’ve seen her happy.

Rosalind

Dear Katharine,

Tell me about Lea.

Love,
Minjonet

Dear Miss Minjonet,

She’s rather harsh on Rosalind, but she means well.  She hardly concerns herself with anything outside of her own writing.  It seems like she would say a lot more, but instead she only journals it.  I do wonder what goes into all those books.

Yours,
Katharine

—————————————————

Dear Lea,

Please tell me about the girls in the group.

Love,
Minjonet

Dear Minjonet,

Rosalind is a headache.  She doesn’t seem to know when to hold her tongue, and she’s always rushing into foolish things.  Do you know the other day she crossed the stream in that gorgeous dress of hers?  She thought it was shallower, and of course she stepped right into a soft spot and got mud all the way up to her knees and now her nice dress is filthy.

Katharine seems wise, but not very brave.  I think she’d be more comfortable tending to children at home than she is here, going on excursions to fight evil.

Megara is a child.  And she says odd things.  Or sometimes she just looks at you, and it gives the creepiest feeling, like she knows exactly what you’re thinking.  Very weird.

Sincerely,
Lea

Dear Lea,

And tell me about yourself in the context of the quest?

Love,
Minjonet

Dear Minjonet,

I don’t feel like I belong here.  I don’t know why I was chosen.  All I can do is write.  I’m not even brave enough to fight.  When we get close to fighting, my legs get weak and all I want to do is hide behind a tree.  Don’t tell the other girls.  The last thing I need is Rosalind making fun of me for being a scaredy-cat.

Sincerely,
Lea

———————————————–

Dear Megara,

Please tell me about yourself.

Love,
Minjonet

Dear M.,

Well, I love my parents very much.  They’re from India and they came here to find a better job for my dad, and they wanted me to grow up with everything I could need.  I was only 4 when they came.  My nana still lives over there and my dad talks to her on the phone sometimes.  She always asks if I’m studying hard.  She wants me to work in a good job like my dad, but I think I want to work with people more.  Or animals.  I really like animals.

Love,
Megara

———————————————–

Dear Katharine,

How do you propose to change during this quest?

Love,
Minjonet

Dear Minjonet,

I propose that I become more direct with people, that I am confrontational when I realize things aren’t helping the situation, and that I become more sure of myself as a leader.

Love,
Katharine

Dear Lea,

How do you propose to change during this quest?

Love,
Minjonet

Dear Miss Minjonet,

I propose that I become more trusting of people, which will soften my rough edges.

Sincerely,
Lea

Dear Rosalind,

How do you propose to change during this quest?

Love,
Minjonet

Dear M.,

I propose that I become less resistant to changing myself.

Rosalind

Dear Meg,

How do you propose to change during this quest?

Love,
Minjonet

Dear M.,

I propose that I become more serious about life and what my direction is in it.  I already have an idea of what it is, but I propose that I learn to take steps toward it more readily.

Love,
Meg

That’s an excellent idea, Meg.

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Luna’s Party

All My “Children” (Characters):

Luna Appleblossom, Jade Merrywings

Stormy SeastoneMahogany, Stargazer NightcloudLavender Vanillaberry

Cinnamon Copperbeam, Ginger Rainglow

Almond Tanglebreeze

Cedar, Bluebell

Rose, Marigold, Iris/Ivy, Violet

Rosalind, Megara, Katharine, Lea

—————————————————————

Ginger: A water talent that wants to be a light talent.
Stargazer: A light talent that wants to be a garden talent.

It’s totally lame that this story is pretty much only conversation. But it’s the only way I can get a firmer grip on my characters’ personalities!

———————————————————————–

Ginger Rainglow Meets Stargazer Nightcloud

Luna Appleblossom was having a party at her house.  Her best friend Jade Merrywings came, and she also invited her friends Stormy Seastone, Mahogany, and Stargazer Nightcloud and asked them to invite whoever else they wanted.

“I heard some new fairies arrived recently,” said Stormy.  “We should invite them.”

So they invited Cinnamon Copperbeam and Lavender Vanillaberry.

While Jade put out some tea, Luna flew out and put an ad up on the Fairy Postings board for her party, and two other fairies arrived, Ginger Rainglow and Almond Tanglebreeze.

“Welcome to my party!” said Luna when everyone had gathered.  “I’ve got some freshly brewed cherry blossom tea for everyone.”

“I brought some nuts and berries from the Pantry,” said Mahogany.

“I brought some lemon tarts,” said Stargazer Nightcloud.

“So let’s get to know everyone,” said Luna when all the fairies had gathered their goodies and arranged themselves on Luna’s various pieces of furniture.  “Let’s just do introductions first–your name, your talent, and your favorite part of Pixie Hollow.  I’ll go first.  I’m Luna Appleblossom, and this is my home.  I’m a garden-talent, and my favorite part of Pixie Hollow is the Pick Up Petals game.”

“I’ll go next,” volunteered Stormy, who was seated on Luna’s right.  “I’m Stormy Seastone.  I arrived at Pixie Hollow four years ago.  I have to say, as a water-talent, my favorite part of Pixie Hollow is Soapstone Stream.  I help fish get over it in Bubble Bounce, but I just love how it feels and looks there–all cool and calm, and pretty with so many water lilies.”

Since Stormy had started a trend of going around the circle, Mahogany, on Stormy’s right, continued it.  “Okay, I’m Mahogany.  I’ve been here just a little longer than Stormy.  I’m an animal-talent.  I spend a lot of time volunteering at Harvest Hustle, but I think my favorite place is Drowsy Den, where I help the baby animals get to sleep.”

Mahogany looked to Stargazer.  “Okay, well, I’m Stargazer.  Nightcloud.  That’s my name because I like to stargaze, but it’s also the name of a flower that smells incredible, and since I want to be a garden-talent, too, I like to think I’m named after both.”  She smiled happily.

“And what’s your favorite part of Pixie Hollow?” Stormy asked.

“Oh!  Well… I guess I really like my favorite stargazing spot, Lily Ridge, just outside Rosetta’s Garden.  You can really see Reigel from there.”

Mahogany gave her an inquisitive look.  “Reigel?”

“Yes, it’s my favorite star.  It’s really bright and colorful.”

Mahogany smiled at her, and Luna said, “Thanks, Stargazer.  And now we get to meet someone new.”

All eyes turned to the fairy with the lavender eyes.  Her cheeks turned a pale shade of pink.  “Well, I’m Lavender.  Lavender Vanillaberry.  I just arrived yesterday.  And I’m very happy to be here.  Um… I’m a garden-talent fairy, and I’m not sure what my favorite place in Pixie Hollow is yet.  But I hear Spring Valley is really beautiful.”

“Welcome, Lavender,” said Luna warmly.  Several fairies echoed her.

“But I’d like to get to know you,” said Lavender softly, turning to the fairy on her right.  “You’re as beautiful as the queen!”

The fairy next to her laughed a tinkling laugh, and as she did, pixie dust sparkled off of her.  “You’re very sweet!” she said.  “Thank you.”  She turned her eyes to the rest of the circle.  “I’m Cinnamon Copperbeam, and I am also newly arrived.  But I feel as if I have always lived here.  Everything is so fresh and perfect.  It’s a lovely place.  I’m sure I couldn’t decide on a favorite location even if I had seen it all!”

“What’s your talent?” chimed in the fairy on her right.

“I’m a light-talent.  Like Stargazer.  Only I don’t know what I specialize in yet,” she said with a smile.

“Well, now, Ginger, you better take your turn,” said Luna to the fairy who had spoken.  “Tell us who you are.”

Ginger opened her mouth to speak, shut it again, then said, “Well, I’m not quite sure.  See, I’m a fairy who wants to be something other than she is!  I’m a water-talent, but I would really like to be a light-talent.  Or something that combines them both!”

“That’s very interesting,” said Cinnamon.  “Perhaps we can learn together.  I start my light-talent classes tomorrow.”

Ginger’s eyes lit up and she leaned forward excitedly.  “Really?! That would be great! Do you think they would let me?”

“You could ask Iridessa,” Stargazer said.  “She’s really nice.  I’m sure she’d let you come to the classes.”

“We could go down together to ask,” said Cinnamon.  “Perhaps after the party is over.”

Ginger clapped her hands together.  “That would be flaptastic!  Let’s do it.”

Luna brought the girls in again.  “But before we get too carried away,” she said,  “let’s finish the circle.”

Almond smiled gratefully.  “Okay.  I’m Almond Tanglebreeze.  I’m also fairly new here.  I’m a baking-talent.”

Lavender furrowed her brow. “A baking-talent? I don’t remember there being a baking talent to choose.”

Almond blushed.  “It’s a smaller division of fairy talents, I think.”

“They don’t arrive to the same nook of the Pixie Dust Tree that nature-talents do,” Stormy informed them.  “They arrive to the nook that contains all the food-related serving talents.”

Almond glanced upward to recall.  “Yes, there was a cooking-talent, a tea-making-talent, a baking-talent, a food-gathering-talent, and maybe some others… And we all take turns serving food in the Tearoom at mealtimes.  But there’s so many of us it’s hardly any work at all.  Not that we’re lazy or anything…”  She blushed again.

Ginger laughed.  “Lazy!  How could you be?  You have to get up at 4 in the morning to get all the yummy things baked for all of us!  I think it’s really marvelous.”

Cinnamon, as well as several others, looked up on Almond with new respect.  “You get up before the first rays of sunlight warm the earth!” said Cinnamon.

“Well, you must, too,” said Almond.  “Don’t you help with bringing the sun rays to warm the earth?”

“Well, yes, but we have to,” laughed Cinnamon.  “Or else no one else could do their jobs!”

Ginger spoke up again.  “And who can work on an empty stomach??”

The fairies laughed and laughed.

“Jade, we still haven’t gotten to you,” said Luna, playfully elbowing her friend.

“Oh, that’s no problem,” she said with a dismissive wave.  “It’s great getting to meet so many new people!”

Luna said to the girls, “Jade’s been my best friend since our arrival day!”

“Yeah, ever since animal racing, when her lizard flipped over in the mud and I had to rescue her!” Jade said.

Luna laughed out loud.  “Well, if you hadn’t started it by kicking up all that mud in my face–”

“Oh, it’s my fault now!  Has nothing to do with the fact that you were distracted by Vanessa Plumlace’s new pet peacock–”

“Hey, I’d never seen one before!  It was my first day,” Luna joked, sticking her tongue out at her friend.

“Mine too, you goof, and I was still winning…”

By now, all the other fairies were laughing so hard at the playful volley between the two friends that they had totally forgotten they hadn’t really finished introductions.

“Okay, I think it’s time for some games,” Luna finally ended the goofiness.  “Anyone care for more tea?”

The girls arose from their seats and the party began.

———————————————————————–

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Creating a Character Profile – Template

From http://www.essortment.com/creating-character-profile-52411.html

BIOGRAPHY: Write a description of your character’s life; past and present. Where was he born, how was his family life – has his past affected him in any way? What does he do now? Who are his friends and where does he live? Don’t make it too long – a paragraph will do.

AGE: If you don’t know the exact age of your character then you can put it’s approximation, such as late thirties, mid-twenties etc.

HEIGHT: How tall is your character?

WEIGHT: You probably won’t know your character’s exact weight, but I’m sure you can guess its approximate one. Is he really light – or a little more weighty?

BODY TYPE: Is he wiry and agile, or does he work out and his body is the proof? Remember that thin and skinny can bring up to different images – and maybe he’s small-boned but sturdy

FACE TYPE: Is your character baby faced, or does he have a sharp, chiseled bone structure?

COMPLEXION: Is she ivory white or does she have more of a cream and coffee color?

EYES: Be specific about the color. Ice blue creates a different character than sky blue. And what is the look in the eyes – is it hard? Nervous? Or does it have a twinkle?

HAIR: Put not only the color, but also the style. Is it long and curly – short and spike – or maybe it’s died blue and shaved into a Mohawk. Again, make the color specific. Instead of brown hair, put red-brown, chestnut brown, or maybe it’s actually the color of dried mud

CLOTHING STYLE: What type of clothing does he usually wear? Is he preppy, or more relaxed? Maybe he’s a teenager that always wears sports jerseys.

SPEAKING STYLE: Is he short and to the point? Or is he long winded?

GENERAL DEMEANOR: This is how your character generally acts and comes across to other people. Some people are just generally easy-going, taking life as it comes”¦while others are uptight and always looking for a fight.

CAREER: What does she do for a living?

PREJUDICES: Everyone has some, even fictional characters. Does she hate slow drivers”¦or maybe he’s an intellectual and his prejudice is against anyone who hasn’t read all of Shakespeare’s works – plays and poems

BEST QUALITIES: List three or four of you characters best qualities

WORST QUALITIES: Even the “good guy” has a few faults. What are you character’s?

WEAKNESSES: What is the main weakness in your character’s make-up? What is his “Achilles heel”? Is it that he’s not real smart”¦or maybe he has trouble getting along with other people.

HOBBIES: When he’s not being thrashed about in your plot, what doe she like to do?

TALENTS: Is she an expert artist? Or cook?

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Ginger and Almond: Friendship

Unexpectedly came face-to-face with myself as I wrote on Almond Tanglebreeze’s story, and now I’m stuck.

Almond just spent all afternoon shopping with Ginger, who was helping and guiding her every step of the way.  Now it’s dinnertime in Pixie Hollow and I am faced with the decision that defines everything about Ginger for the rest of the story–the unanswerable question that has defined my entire life.

Does Ginger stay, or does Ginger go?

Is their relationship one of mutual friendship, or of one girl being the other girl’s counselor, guide, crutch?  Does Almond have anything to give to Ginger, or is this a one-way friendship only?

And since I don’t know the answer to that question in my own life, I’m having trouble writing about it in Almond’s.  :/

——————–

I’ve realized that to make a friendship go two ways, Ginger has to need something from Almond.  So now I just have to figure out what it is that Almond can offer Ginger.

And in the process I will hopefully discover what I have to offer others as well. 🙂  Now that is cool.

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Conversations Between Ginger and Almond

“So where were you?”

“I was at the library, researching.”

Almond didn’t know any fairies who did research in their spare time.   “What were you researching?”

“Sunsets,” Ginger said simply.  “I want to find out what makes them happen.  But none of the Pixie Hollow books say!”

——————–

“How does that happen? How does cake turn from all that liquid mush into cake?”

“Well, the heat dries all the liquids.”

“Yeah, but if that were all it is, then shouldn’t there be powder?” Ginger asked.

Almond felt stunned as she realized that made sense.  “I think it’s the eggs.  When you cook eggs all by themselves, they turn hard.  I think that same idea gets spread throughout the cake. And I think the flour mixes with the eggs so much that they make something new out of it, so that it sticks together and stays firm like that.”

“Wow, that’s really cool,” Ginger breathed.  “Baking is as cool as light and water!”

——————–

“You know what my favorite thing about light is?  The way it changes color.  Like if I put a green leaf over a beam of light, the light turns green.”

——————-

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