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JRMurdock
July 9th, 2004, 01:30 PM
Exercise 7

Jaq wishes to express his apologies for not submitting exercises as of late and is saddened he has not been with us. He has asked if I could post one (or more) in his absence. In case you didn't guess, I agreed. I will post exercises until Jaq returns. I will post a new one (maybe two) each Friday, building on the previous exercise though posting in the previous exercise will not be required to post in a current exercise. I think it'll help if you do though.

Today's exercise: Create a character and describe him/her/it in intimate detail.

Why?

We're all (ok, most of us) are writing novel length stories. I want you to develop a new character that you will use in the series of exercises we're going to embark on. This is to be just a description, not a story. Use as many (no more than 400), or as few, words as you feel you need to get your character embedded into the reader's memory. This should be a new character to you, please don't use anything you have existing. We want fresh writing, please. That's the point of a writing exercise. Feel free to critique on other's characters.

Fran
July 11th, 2004, 11:05 AM
John is a white haired, staring eyed, beak nosed, crazy old fool. He has a loud vice when sober and a tendency to both deafen you and spit in your face when drunk. John has lost one of his legs at mid thigh, and wears a peg in its place, modestly covered by trousers. John makes an effort with his appearance and is clean, clean shaven, and likes to wear his blazer with the colours of the local merchants guild fixed to the lapel. The civilised facade is ruined when he gets drunk and sways around the room on his peg like a sailor just of the ship, shouting and harrassing the pretty barmaids.
John has for some reason, purposefully kept the details of his history murky. He tells completely different stories to different people, or only slightly modified versions of the same tale. What everyone agrees on, although none have heard it from John is that he´s got a lot of money from somewhere. Some believe the money to be a pay off from his old regiment for losing his leg in the line of duty; some believe it to be illicit booty that John has treacherously killed for; others still whisper that John is descended from aristocracy, or even royalty, although this last seems unlikely given the spread and number of Johns relations in the poor areas of (somewhere or other). How he lost his leg is also unknown, although he will tell anyone that asks that he lost it "in the regiment" which many take to mean he definitely didn´t.
John is proud of his large local family and enjoys dropping in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner whenever he feels like it, on his offspring, or other relations. They tolerate him, partly because he is the well known patriarch, and partly because they´ve heard he´s got a lot of money and hope to get their hands on it when he finally dies.

Rira
July 11th, 2004, 03:50 PM
excellent. i like john, he sounds like an interesting character. definitely deep enough for a novel.
hmmm...interesting exercise....lemme try.

Ryan, son of Captain of Guard Robert Canfield. Greatly expected to become better then his father, many of the great veterens take interest in him, including their Lord Bernard Dussalt. A fervent aspiring and talented swords man and marksman, he has his fathers used-to-be sense of humor in tenfold. Tall, and handsom, he plays his looks to his abilities to win the smiles and kisses of many of the woman. A younger version of his father, with blond hair he keeps back with a red band in a short pony-tail, a strong jaw, fair skin and well-muscled body. Large green eyes he inherited from his mother, and her quick smile and easy manner. His wardrobe consists of mostly red coats or vests with Bernards house symbol on them. A fierce bear is tatooed on his back between his shoulderblades, a symbol stating him as Bernard's man.
His prized possesion is the sword his father had made for him when he joined the elite Guard at the age of sixteen. This sword battles on his conscience, standing for his promise made to Bernard, his honor, duty, and love to his father. And every desision they make he knows is wrong and in-humane.
He betrays his father and Lord by spying on them for the rebel league, after befriending one of the members.
The last few years, before, he had quietly dissagreed with his father and Lord Dussalt's plans and ideas. Seeing no where else to turn and wanting his father's approval, he went along with it until he met Ari. Still living with his father in the palace, and his father being pretty high on Bernard's trust-list, Ryan was able to get at much of Bernard's newest plans. After a few weeks of sending this info to Ari and the others, Bernard begins, of course, to wonder. Then,Ari wants to save his mother, who is held in the palace, working off an unfair punishment, and Ryan, after k-o ing one of the guards and bribing another lets him and a small group in. Their fight is lost, and Ryan is arrested and sentenced to death for treason. A rescue attempt brings Ryan to live out the remainder of his days in hiding in the quarters below ground created for the "wanted" rebels.
A great and loyal friend, he is adventurous and well-educated in the ways of their more technological past.

JRMurdock
July 12th, 2004, 01:40 PM
Chezron staggered into the tavern and once in the warmth of the room, stood his six-foot frame straight. With a delicate hand he brushed back his black, rain-dampened hair and then rubbed the bedraggled expression off this unshaven face.

As he walked in his muddy boots clunked loudly on the wooden floor. His beady, black eyes never left the man standing at the bar. His partner.

His left hand reached under his long, leather coat and paused for a moment over the coiled bull whip, then bypassed it and instead grabbed the sword. With slow deliberateness, he drew the blade, causing all conversation in the bar to cease as everyone turned to watch the scene unfold. The sword's thin blade was fully drawn, he reached his right hand in and pulled out his pistol.

The man at the bar downed the shot of whiskey he'd been holding, picked up and replaced his hat, then slowly turned. Chezron stopped.

"It was a long walk back from the canyon," Chezron said, his voice strained and rattling with phlegm. "You own me an apology, Echer. And a new horse. Now either give me what I'm owed or I'll cut you down."

Chezron stood motionless as the rainwater ran from his coat and pooled at his feet. He waited in cold silence for Echer to reply.

PaxNoctis
July 12th, 2004, 02:25 PM
Alone, in the dark. This was, perhaps, the only time Laziris felt truly at home. He stood motionless, his mind empty and ready to flow in whatever direction might become required. Every few seconds, lithe and long-fingered hands convulsed slightly in their black-leather wrappings, a habit that called to mind images of those self-same hands wrapped about someone's throat.

His long, midnight black hair was pulled back, kempt neatly but not impeccably - some few aberrant strands rising to dance in the slight breeze that was tunnelled down the cobblestone street. Pressed as he was against the facade of one of the larger buildings, he could feel it moving abruptly in front of him, a sense of disorienting movement that he assessed and forgot about. Directly across from him was a large, stone manor, all the windows darkened except one on the top floor. It was that window which interested Laziris, which he had been studying for two hours without interruption.

There was movement there, and he stirred from his stillness. Turning quickly, he began to scale the building with ease, graceful appendages finding handholds where another man might have been stymied. He made it to the roof - two floors up - in just under a minute, and he began removing small, oddly shaped components from his belt.

He moved without attention, hands assembling a weapon that he had designed himself, sliding the pieces together with practiced ease. That took perhaps fifteen seconds, and when he fitted the heavy-duty, barbed quarrel into place there was a muffled click.

Across from him, a shadow was blocking some of the light from the window. A prodigiously fat shadow, garbed in some flowing, robe-like outfit that rendered his form indistinct. The weapon Laziris had assembled was like a long crossbow, with a single arm that rose vertically instead of the customary two. Laziris raised it, couched it in his shoulder, and took a bead on the shadow that stood just inside the window.

One second. Two.

click.

A moment of surprising stillness while death cut a sharp, silent path through the late night air. Laziris had compensated for the wind, so when it's icy bite took the bolt and drew it sideways a bit, it was only to bring it perfectly in line with-

tink- CRASH!

Glass shattered. The window broke, spewing fragments of sharp clarity onto the stones three stories below. The shadow pitched forward, and for just a moment it resolved into the shape of a man, sporting four-inches of wood from the back of his skull.

Laziris was gone by the time the merchant Hastin hit the ground and began the slow process of cooling to room temperature.

abrock
July 12th, 2004, 03:23 PM
The maverick had the assemblage in the palm of his hand, as he always did. He was giving another fiery speech on the dangers of international terrorism, lauding his exploits in conquering it, and essentially not saying very much at all. It was rhetoric, but it was spirited rhetoric, and his audience didn’t care a whit that he was, essentially, feeding them a pack of lies.

Bren stood silently, measuring the crowd, scanning their eyes for telltales, in a ceaseless ballet of unconscious thought and feedback. Even now, in her final seconds, her mind continued to follow the training it had been programmed with, and as she prepared herself for the final scene in a play whose script had been written decades before she was born, she finally found inner peace.

There! The time was right. With a pause for dramatic effect, the maverick had given her the perfect opportunity to etch the moment into history. In a single smooth motion, the little brunette withdrew her 9mm semi-automatic and fired a single, devastating shot. Time stood still as the projectile tore through the hard bone of her target’s skull, blasting a path of gore out the opposite side as it sailed on, oblivious to the life it has just cut short.

She felt her gun drop from her hand as she inclined her head toward the heavens, spreading her arms as she welcomed the end. Her crystal blue eyes closed under delicate lids as her body collapsed under a hailstorm of gunfire, but she no longer cared: She was free.

choppy
July 12th, 2004, 11:48 PM
Caroline had known only one other man in her life who captained a ship - a gentle fellow, diligent, with a keen eye for detail and an intimate knowledge of the sea. Embelaser was nothing like he.

The sailors called him the Dead Man, although how he had come to earn such a morbid title had yet escaped her. She saw very little of him at first. He scuried about the deck of the Angelese with quick strides, and would pause in the most curious of places to sniff the air, or inspect the lines that held the sails in place.

Beneath the sea salt scruff on his face, Caroline saw the hint of a man she knew well from fictionally inspired images of a romantic adventurer. Indeed she had seen his dark eyes and intense stare in her mind's eye lying beside her at night, in that moment between closing her eyes and falling asleep.

That beauty had been perverted by years on the sea. He wore a little fishhook through his right eyebrow the way a woman would wear an earing. The right corner of his mouth led to a scar that stretched nearly back to his ear - long since healed over, it was apparent someone had once seen fit to draw him half a smile.

Embelaser kept a great horned owl as a pet. It was black and brown with hypnotic yellow eyes that could focus on items that went unseen by men. The feathers on its head swept up into a pair of sharp black horns. Embelaser wore a large leather pad on his shoulder, which, aside from enhancing his naturally broad stature, served as a perch for the beast on his twilight stolls. The bird would alert him when it caught sight of prey with a curious shuffle dance on his shoulder. Embelaser would dispatch it with single hand signal.

The bird would soar gently over the water and come to a near full stop and hover as if suspended only by the hand of God. Then with a lightning strike snatch it would pluck its prey from the water - often a salmon twice the bird's weight.

That bird ensured no one starved on the Angelese.

The day Caroline truely saw Captain Dead Man Embelaser for what he was, was the day she watched that great horned owl snatch a man's left eyeball straight from his skull.

choppy
July 13th, 2004, 05:52 PM
Critiques
Fran
You have a clear, colourful character with John. His characteristics make him stand out and you do a good job delivering some mystery. It would be difficult not to wonder what happened to his leg, or what would be the source of his income. While reading I had a sense that I was being "told about" the character - rather than shown what he was really like. Although for a small amount of space, I think you did a good job, and I didn't get lost n the details.

Rira
Ryan certainly sounds like a candidate for a heroic fantasy story. My first impression is that here is a character who seems to have everything going for him. His dark side is that he's plotting against his father and lord. On this end the character has lots of opportunity for the expression of internal conflict. In the second last paragraph it sounds like you go a little more into the story and we drift away from the character description (not bad, but maybe a little off for the exercise.) Double check your use of colloquialisms (such as "k-o-ing") - modern slang takes away from the feel you have otherwise generated. As well, I think you have some great opportunities to show the reader who the character is, rather than just tell about him. For example, rather than stating his is a talented swordsman, you could show a scene with him defeating a master, or mention that other swordsmen were afraid of him. Overall a god job - and I think you have a character you can really work with.

Maus99
Awesome! You give a quick snapshot of a character and lead us into a story. Sorry, but I don't think I can offer much in the way of advice. The only thing I might mention is that rather than a decription, I felt this was more of a lead-in. I still don't know much about Chezron, but I would like to.

Pax Noctis
Laziris the assassin. Like some of the others, I felt this was more of a lead in to the character than an in-depth description. The piece moved very well. I liked the sounds. At first glance I was a little unsure as to whether the person was a human, or some kind of "Golem-ish" character with long fingers within black leather wrappings. I thought you did a great job showing us the character, rather than just reciting a few facts about him.

Abroc
This strikes me as the end of a larger story. Bren no doubt had some issues with "the maveric" and from a character description point of view we see that she is willing to go to drastic measures to accomplish what she has set out to do - even if that means her own death. What I don't know, as a reader, is what is unique about her. (Maybe that's contained within the back story?) At this point she could have been anyone. So if I have any advice it would be to give the reader a few little traits that might make her stand out (aside from the blatant assassination.)


All that being said, I shall stand in my glass house and go to great lengths to ignore the vast piles of stones that lie within throwing distance.

Cheers!

abrock
July 13th, 2004, 06:17 PM
Critiques
Fran
You have a clear, colourful character with John. His characteristics make him stand out and you do a good job delivering some mystery. It would be difficult not to wonder what happened to his leg, or what would be the source of his income. While reading I had a sense that I was being "told about" the character - rather than shown what he was really like. Although for a small amount of space, I think you did a good job, and I didn't get lost n the details.

Rira
Ryan certainly sounds like a candidate for a heroic fantasy story. My first impression is that here is a character who seems to have everything going for him. His dark side is that he's plotting against his father and lord. On this end the character has lots of opportunity for the expression of internal conflict. In the second last paragraph it sounds like you go a little more into the story and we drift away from the character description (not bad, but maybe a little off for the exercise.) Double check your use of colloquialisms (such as "k-o-ing") - modern slang takes away from the feel you have otherwise generated. As well, I think you have some great opportunities to show the reader who the character is, rather than just tell about him. For example, rather than stating his is a talented swordsman, you could show a scene with him defeating a master, or mention that other swordsmen were afraid of him. Overall a god job - and I think you have a character you can really work with.

Maus99
Awesome! You give a quick snapshot of a character and lead us into a story. Sorry, but I don't think I can offer much in the way of advice. The only thing I might mention is that rather than a decription, I felt this was more of a lead-in. I still don't know much about Chezron, but I would like to.

Pax Noctis
Laziris the assassin. Like some of the others, I felt this was more of a lead in to the character than an in-depth description. The piece moved very well. I liked the sounds. At first glance I was a little unsure as to whether the person was a human, or some kind of "Golem-ish" character with long fingers within black leather wrappings. I thought you did a great job showing us the character, rather than just reciting a few facts about him.

Abroc
This strikes me as the end of a larger story. Bren no doubt had some issues with "the maveric" and from a character description point of view we see that she is willing to go to drastic measures to accomplish what she has set out to do - even if that means her own death. What I don't know, as a reader, is what is unique about her. (Maybe that's contained within the back story?) At this point she could have been anyone. So if I have any advice it would be to give the reader a few little traits that might make her stand out (aside from the blatant assassination.)


All that being said, I shall stand in my glass house and go to great lengths to ignore the vast piles of stones that lie within throwing distance.

Cheers!

I found I couldn't create a character with nearly enough depth (to my standards) in only 500 words, while trying to blend it in as part of a story. I could cram tons of details into 500 words, but then it would be a detailed character, with no setting.

So I settled for a little art piece about assassination instead. :p

KEParrott
July 14th, 2004, 05:13 AM
In slow, confident strides the youth drew up behind his target. He glanced down at his shabby brown tunic and trousers and hoped he didn’t look too out of place in the high market square. His crop of light brown hair curled in his eyes slightly distorting his vision. With his left hand he nonchalantly brushed it off his forehead, loosening the string of the sheath that held his belt knife with his right. Glancing over his right shoulder, he realized he wasn’t so out of place as he thought he might be. Though he was certainly not dressed in the manner of the customers of the market, his drab clothing could have belonged to any of the peddlers or sellers that lined the outer wall of the square. His stomach grumbled and he immediately raised his eyes to the man walking in front of him, hoping he had not heard the complaint from his too empty belly.

It had been three days, Eben thought to himself, three days and nothing to eat.

It had been his hunger that drove him to the high market this day. Usually he stuck to the low market. There were fewer patrollers there and usually a couple coppers to be lifted. But he hadn’t had any luck lately. It was just short of harvest time, and the people with coin weren’t traveling to the lower square to spend it, or so it seemed. The one man who’s purse he had thought to lighten, had noticed himself being followed. The man then promptly caught his wrist and sliced a line form the base of his pinky finger to thumb. Eben ran off then, with blood dripping from the shallow wound.

Now he flexed his right hand, wincing at the slight pain. Drawing the short, curved blade, he sped up slightly until he was close enough to ruffle the targets hair if he breathed hard enough. He lowered his left hand just under the coin pouch of the target. He carefully threw his bony left shoulder into the targets right arm, causing the target to lift the arm slightly. With unusual quickness Eben’s knife flashed and severed the pouch from the small length of leather twine that kept it attached to the targets belt. With the same quickness he sheathed the knife and moved the pouch behind his back.

Eben proceded to lower his gaze as the target turned. Quickly mumbling an apology while trying to hide the hint of a smile that played on his thin lips, and refusing to allow the target to see his emerald green eyes. With the target now moving away and the purse in his hand, the boy moved south toward the cheaper inns, wondering which would be serving chops instead of stew.