Thursday, January 15, 2009

Creating Characters

On her blog, Leslie Pietrzyk has a great writing exercise for developing characters. She offers it as an exercise that she uses with her fiction class, but I plan to use it when I talk about narrative poetry in my class, Creative Writing: Poetry Workshop, this quarter (starts tonight!). I'll be interested to see if it gives us interesting poems, and I'll report back (don't look for a report soon--we don't get to this part of the syllabus until 6 weeks or so).

Leslie writes: "Here’s another great character exercise that I may have mentioned before but that’s always worth resurrecting. Again, I swiped this idea from a student, who told me that she was in a class with Michael Cunningham (author of The Hours) who had everyone come up with a list of THIRTY phrases/words to physically describe their characters. I’ve tried this, and while the first ten or so aren’t that difficult (5’6”, brown eyes, etc.), to get to thirty, you really have to come up with some new, interesting stuff. Of course, this is the stuff you keep for the work, not the boring brown eyes."

I've pasted from her blog, but you can go here for the whole post. Or go here, if you're in need of words of wisdom.

1 comment:

Shefali said...

do you suppose it would be ok for me to ahem-borrow- this idea for my short story class?