Compared to the last assignment, I found this one rather simple. I had no reservations about plunging into the homework. So, let’s get right to it.
Writing Excuses 10.5: What Do You Mean My Main Character is Boring?
The assignment: Take three different characters and walk them through a scene. Convey their emotional states, their jobs, and their hobbies without directly stating any of those. The scene in question: walking through a marketplace, and they need to do a dead-drop.
Character 1: Jamie
Jamie walked through the open-air market. Taking deep breaths, he tried to relax his shoulders. It was no use. His eyes flickered from side to side as he dodged people. On any other day, he would enjoy the busy street and maybe bring the camera he just splurged on. But today, Jamie realized he was breathing too fast. People might notice the sweat making his hair damp. This should have never happened. But here he was in a tight spot, dropping off the bag he was carrying. And for what? A few extra dollars? It was more than a few extra dollars. It would be nice to pay off his student loans. Inspecting designs all day for potential flaws paid the bills, but he chose to go to an ivy league school and with that came the loans. The colors of the signs caught his eye. He focused on how he would use the light and angles to capture the beauty of the street. His heart began to slow and then he saw it. The leather workers stand. All he had to do was talk to the guy and put down his bag under the table and leave. Then he could go home to his pets and think about the bridge project coming up on Monday. He rounded on the leather shop. He smiled at the old man working. He put the bag down in front of his feet.
He focused on how he would use the light and angles to capture the beauty of the street.
“I’m looking for a wallet,” Jamie said.
“I have some nice ones here,” the man pointed to the ones on the table in front of Jamie. “But these behind me are better quality.”
“Let me take a look at the brown tri-fold,” Jamie said pointing behind the man.
The man pulled it down. Jamie looked at the wallet. He couldn’t concentrate on it, even though he unfolded it and refolded it several times and opened the flaps. He needed to get out of there. The thumping in his chest sped up as he thought of his exit.
“It’s nice, but I’m going to have to think about it,” Jamie said, handing the wallet back to the man.
“Come back when you do,” the man said. “I’m here every day.”
Jamie smiled and nodded. He turned and walked back the way he came. He didn’t remember coming out of the market. It was a blur to him. He kept his eyes on the exit and stood at the bus stop to go home. The drop was complete. He could breathe easier, so why wasn’t he?
Character 2: Pat
Pat stopped at the first vendor she saw selling fabric. The colors were amazing. And if she had the money, she would pick up a yard or two of the material. She was itching to make a new skirt. Or maybe a crossover bag. They were always convenient, unlike the small bag she currently carried in her hand. She moved on to the next vendor she saw with yarn and trinkets. This was her favorite open-air market. The vendors sold a variety of goods. She saw something new each time she ventured here. And she wasn’t going to let today’s mission sully her mood.
Smiling at the children pushing past her in the street. They reminded her of the kids in her class. They were all smiles and laughter. She stopped at a small table filled with used children’s books. She made a mental note to stop by on her way back to pick some up for her kids. The next stall was filled with flowing skirts and dresses. She looked through the entire selection, her smile widening the more she looked. Some of these would work for school. Others were perfect for a day like today. She noted the cut and style of a few. She might be able to make them herself, if given the time.
Walking down the next aisle she stopped at the vendor selling leather. She placed her own bag down beside her and picked up a small leather purse. She smelled the stiff leather and admired the number of pockets. She smiled at the owner as she put the bag down, moving to look at the next table. Her own bag left under the table of leather goods. Her job was done and the day was still hers. No need to leave now. Time to make a list for next week’s trip to the market.
Character 3: Trevor
Pushing through the crowd, Trevor glanced at the number of stalls. There were rows and rows of goods. He knew he stood out in a crowd, so he opted for a hoodie for this job. Job. More like extortion. And in a crowd like this, his ink would attract too much attention. Of course, that is what normally got him more clients. He always recommended himself and his shop when asked where he got it. He’d hand over a card and let his body art do the talking. Today he didn’t have time for networking.
He’d hand over a card and let his body art do the talking.
He clutched the small bag he carried with him. He rolled his eyes as he thought about how he got into this mess. He couldn’t believe his level of stupidity. Breathing out a sigh and shaking his head, he moved forward through the crowd trying not to knock over people. He made his way up the aisle filled with fabrics and clothes and looked over to see the farmer’s market area. That’s where he would rather be at the moment. This market always sported the best vegetables and there was a little stall with spices he couldn’t find anywhere else. He dropped by every few weeks to pick up something new. His friends appreciated his experiments and would front him money on occasion to guarantee a plate of food.
Trevor turned away from the fresh food and walked down the next aisle of handmade goods. The fashion section, as he called it, wasn’t his style. He huffed and kept up his pace. He dropped to his knee in front of the leather goods table and tied his shoe. He pushed his small bag under the table, stood up, and continued down the aisle. He walked up the next row and straight into the farmer’s market. The drop was complete. He rolled his shoulders. Time to find some spice.
The end of 10.5. I feel confident about this homework. I have three different characters with different jobs and hobbies. I do worry that I’ve said too much and my descriptions are so heavy handed that I might as well just have said what the jobs and hobbies were. And the emotional state of my third character might not be clear. I would love to hear what you think. Where could I improve? Where did I miss the mark?
As always, leave a comment below. I would love to read your thoughts.
This post and I are in no way associated with Writing Excuses. I just really liked this idea and wanted to share.
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One thought on “Listening and Learning: Writing Excuses 10.5”
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