Earlier this week I went out to dinner with one of my close friends. After the usual catch-up she asked me about my blog and what was happening with my writing. She asked, ‘ Where do your ideas come from?’ This got me thinking.
Where do my ideas come from?
I realized that a lot of them come from the interactions I have with my students. I always think of ways to be creative when I’m teaching and I’m always coming up with examples to show them. I find that I’m sometimes at my best when I’m standing at my whiteboard armed with a marker.
One short project we did a year or two ago was looking at the effect of personification and anthropomorphism. The task, quite simply was to choose an object and give it life. They had to create a character and write a short description.
I chose a hat. Her name is Mildred.
Once they had decided on their character I got the class to write a short description, here is the description I wrote as an example:
Mildred had been discarded a few years ago. Much to her disgust, she now sat in the back of an old shop, high up on a shelf. Her once, pretty feathers and shiny ribbon were now coated in a film of dust and cobwebs. Mildred, who used to attend Royal Ascot now looked a little tired and disheveled. She was desperate to leave the dark corners of the shop and go back out, once again into high society. All she had to do was get herself noticed.
Having written a short description I started to think about setting and beginning to create a story. I came up with the following draft:
Along the old cobbled road, on the left hand side stood Mr. Bobbins, a shop filled with items that were once loved by their owner. The shop was small but had a rather large window looking out on to the street.
In the shop, on the left-hand side at the very, very back in the dark corner up on the dusty top shelf lived Mildred. She had lived here for years and was desperate to leave.
She was, in her hey day a glamorous hat with the most extravagant feathers gathered in a beautiful blue ribbon. Now though she looked old and dusty and her feathers had started to wilt. For someone who cared so much about her appearance, this was very difficult to deal with.
Mr. Bobbin arrived as usual at the same time he always did on a Monday, wearing the same waist coat and carrying the same umbrella. As he opened the door the sound of the bell rang out. Mildred immediatelysat a little bit taller, the day was about to begin. Today felt very different to every other day, Mildred felt excited and she didn’t know why.
The old cobbled road (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So, my question to you is, how do you create character? What inspires you?