Friday, June 15, 2012

Writer's Workshop -characters in a setting

So, the next step of Honey's Writer's Workshop is online at her blog, this time it's about "using" your characters in a setting. Like, after you put some effort in making them believable and interesting, they should do somethin, too.
Again she provided us with some examples, including her own.

On the other hand, thanks to this little exercise, I know have one for each of the three main characters from my Twisted Paths (well, one of them is the villain). They are now far clearer in my mind (and now even in written words) than before.

Exercise: Place the Fully-Developed Character into a Setting

I'd like to do one for each of my characters from Twisted Paths, but I start with one for the villain.
Part of the exercise-idea is to use a setting that is familiar to you, and I always seem to have trouble coming up with one for such purposes. After all, most of my characters live quite different lives than me!
So ... this one was inspired by my trouble getting up this morning ;)

Sleepily and slowly, Rhianne opened her eyes. They felt like being weighed down by invisible fingers.
This particular thought made her sit up faster than she should and look around the room with suddenly wide if still somewhat unfocused eyes. Within a few heartbeats the young woman realized she was alone and that she probably should be more careful with the wine next time.
A groan filled the silence when Rhianne slumped back and buried her face in wild, red curls in a vain attempt to hide from a headache which seemed to come out of nowhere. The smell of smoke and wine - how did that get into her hair? - made her scowl in disgust and annoyance. She needed a bath. 
Instead of  an order, she only managed another groan. 'Well, if I keep on like this, somebody will come in eventually.'
But of course, she would only have to wait until it was time for breakfast or one of the unscheduled visitors of her captors.

Carefully, step by step, Rhianne sat up again and then got out of bed to walk over to the looking glass, tall enough to reflect her whole body.
'I don't know if you bored me deliberately, but this won't happen again!'
The silent vow was encouraged by dark shadows under her eyes and the slightly sick pallor of her skin. Very familiar blue eyes stared back at her with scorn.
Her father would be furious if he even suspected she regarded her captors enough as hosts to let her guard down like this. And then she even sank so low as to drink too much wine because the conversations bored her.
True enough, the Lord of this stronghold made some efforts to seem hospitable, if only her long lasting and uninterrupted presence here were remotely voluntary. They gave her good food and clothes, educated her not unlike one of their own children and enough company to keep her sane. Sometimes even too much company, in fact. She had no choice but regard the maid that helped her sometimes with her hair and clothes as a spy, and suspect a hidden agenda behind every conversation she had with one of the family. The guards never talked much, but she could do well without having watchful eyes on her whenever she left this room.

Rhianne picked up the comb and started to tame her long red curls, which was as impossible as to tame her. But hair can be woven and shaped into a demure fashion, from which it freed itself as soon as the pins were removed. She could do the same. Be a polite and obliging "guest", follow their rules and customs and expectations, master this new-found weakness in her and turn it into another weapon. Until one day she would be released.

I'm not entirely happy with this, but it goes into the direction of what I wanted to write. I'm also not sure how to judge if this exercise was done properly or how to improve. So, please feel free to comment and critique this little piece.


  1. That works! The exercise doesn't have to be done "properly". It's more for you with the added benefit of getting feedback. I'm no grammar master, but there are parts in your writing I have trouble following. The thoughts don't flow from one to the next.
    Someone who critiqued my writing pointed out my overuse of adverbs, the words that end in -ly.
    The first sentence could be "Rhianne struggled to open her eyes."
    In the next part you started with "This particular thought. ." but what thought? She was having trouble waking up but why would that make her seem startled?
    I hope you don't mind my pointing things out, I learned so much personally by what others said, I hope this is helpful for you! :)

    1. Thank you! Please, don't hold back with any advice, I certainly can need it. However, I also hope you help me with finding how to make it better.

      I've been told that adverbs (and adjectives, too, I think) shouldn't be used too much ... but I never really understood why and so I forget it from time to time. On the other hand, you showed quite nicely how else I could have written it.

      I'll also try to write more "logically" ;)