Did you catch the Guest Post yesterday by Beth Grace of Word Nerd Speaks? It was a good one! I double-dog challenge you to try out her 55-word writercize. Leave your attempt as a comment, and then head over to visit Beth's blog for more of her voice!
Now, on to today ... I always love a simple character study, based off of minimal information. It's fascinating how deeply writers can jump into a person's alleged psyche and personal life by watching small cues. Often, the life invented is probably far more imaginative, exciting, tragic, romantic (insert appropriate adjective here) than the reality, but that's the fun of it all!
My challenge to you today is to take a simple bit of information and create a character and the situation that has driven them to this moment of time.
writercize: A man stands on a ledge in the middle of a bridge, balanced just so that he doesn't fall. There are witnesses positioned nearby. He has closed his eyes for a moment and raised his head slightly to the sky.
What is his story? Who is he and why is he there?
Click "read more" for writercizer sample response.writercizer sample response:
The man counts to three and throws himself off the bridge, flailing at first then rolling around and finally straightening out into the perfect swan dive into the icy waters below.
His head bobs up to the surface and he signals thumbs up to the director still on the bridge.
"Good to go, or one more take?" he shouts.
"Nah, I think we got it. Go on and dry off. We'll call it a day," the director calls back down to his fearless stuntman.
To the camera and make-up crew, he says, "That's a wrap for today. See you back at the studio in the morning."
The stuntman climbs out of the water and heads back to change, and the camera crew and make-up artists head back to the trailers and home. The director sits on the bridge, watching his employees scatter back to their homes and families and starts to feel the pangs of regret and sadness for the way he allowed work to destroy his own family. A daughter who wouldn't talk to him, a son who played varsity sports and had never once invited him to watch. An ex-wife who couldn't bear to love him and watch him love movies more than her any longer. Parents who had passed away without him saying good-bye because he was too deep into his films. A brother who only spoke to him when he needed money. Alienated and alone. And now lonely.
The director sighs and shivers as he nears the edge of the bridge that the stuntman just jumped off. He allows himself to feel the full weight of regret as he steps off and is pulled by gravity straight into the hard water below.
As his body breaks the surface, his last thought, which he's always imagined to be of a life flashback or memory or promise of a life after death or the sweet sound of forgiveness, is instead practical and real.
"Damn, I didn't know it would hurt this bad," is all he can think as his body and mind cease to live.