Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The Seven Day Writing Challenge - Day 2

This seven-day writing challenge is designed to simply get you writing. There is no word limit on each exercise but you’ll probably aim to write 300 – 500 words for each. Make the exercises work for you as you wish. You can work chronologically through each day, or you can spend more time on one day if it needs more attention and then catch up with the other exercises at a later date. Most importantly, just keep writing! Save revisions for after the end of the challenge. I’d love to know how you get on so leave a comment!

Fashioning your character

At the beginning of her novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark has the difficult task of introducing a cluster of characters at once – a group of schoolgirls all wearing the same school uniform. Spark deals with this by allowing the panama hats each student must wear to tells us about each girl. So Rose Stanley, a student famous for her promiscuity, wears her hat ‘unobtrusively on her blonde short hair, but she dented in the crown on either side.’ Monica Douglas wears hers ‘perched as if it were too small’.  Eunice Gardiner, ‘famous for her spritely gymnastics’ wears hers ‘turned up at the front and down at the back’. Sandy Stranger, on the other hand, chews at the strip of elastic attached to her hat. Spark uses the very thing that makes the girls identical, their hats, as a way of helping the reader tell them apart. Sometimes genius is as simple as that!

For today’s exercise try describing a character using a single garment. How do you this is up to you: you may want to include the character in the description, as Spark does, or just describe the object without showing the character. If you’re working on something already you might choose one of your current characters. If not, you could use the item of clothing as a way of finding a character. Think about how the garment is worn, how the character interacts with it, its colour, style etc. If you’re struggling, here are some examples to start you off: a little black dress with a frayed hem, a tie with an ink splodge on it, a supermarket uniform, driving gloves, a cowboy hat.

Come back tomorrow for another exercise. Happy Writing!

Previous exercises: Day 1 - You are Here


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