Posts Tagged ‘characters’

The Screamer

In Fiction on May 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm

One of several versions of the painting "...

The museum filled the sky behind me like some giant bird of prey, swooping down to snap at me with its stony beak, to shred me with its marble talons. I turned, startled, to find it standing still, entombed in shadows.

How securely entombed? I wondered. How completely dead?

I heard someone yell, a voice echoing from behind the columns, and I stumbled away lest the bird should suddenly awake.

In the park across the way the gray had leeched out of the water, onto the grass and up the trees – a symptom of the waning daylight. The geese were folded up, the flowers shuttered for the night. Clouds hung fat in the sky, lit from below by vicious oranges and reds.

Again I heard the voice call to me from across the road.

They know I’ve gotten loose, I thought, and I quickened my pace.

The realization of who you are – what you are – can destroy you, body and mind, if circumstances are right. When I reached the benches I realized I had no legs, so I collapsed. Looking out over the lake I saw the burning clouds descend and set the water alight, and I realized my eyes could not see.

The voice shouted to me once more, from without and within, and suddenly I realized I had no voice — so I screamed.


This is the fifth and final post in the series of writing challenges that I’m calling Stolen Identities Week. This one is by far the most abstract of the bunch, and maybe one of the more abstract pieces I’ve done, but hopefully I’ve carried it off at least somewhat competently.

Leave your feedback below and be sure to check out the others if you’re in the mood for something a little more grounded!


The Midnight Gypsy

In Fiction on May 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Raindrops falling on water

“She’s a witch.”

“Is not.”

“Is too – and I’ll prove it to you.”

“Well hurry up. I’m soaked.”

Sean and Milo stood at the entrance of the shuttered drug store, the only place on the street sheltered from the pounding rain. The runoff was pooling against Milo’s shoes. Read the rest of this entry »

The Albino Black Cowboy

In Fiction, Writing on May 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm


The Albino Black Cowboy

“I gotta slither, sweetheart – there’s no changing that.”

He said it to himself, his snakeskin boots making tracks in the desert. The winds had renewed the sand overnight and the sun was coming up, a deep, fleshy red.

He angled his hat to shut out the flare.

“No point in looking back anyway,” he said. “Back’s where you’ve already been. Nothing to see there but what you’ve seen before, just from a new perspective.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Mirror Lady

In Fiction, Writing on May 7, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Mirrored Alfama

We were born when I was nine. Or is it that I was born when we were nine? It doesn’t really matter; I picked it up and there we both were.

Mind you, I am not crazy. Neither is she. But my mother used to read to me when I was young, and told me how the characters only lived for as long as I would listen. Read the rest of this entry »

Stolen Identities Week: Real life characters

In Writing on May 7, 2012 at 8:04 am

(Photo credit: dbbent)

When it comes to creating interesting characters, sometimes the best inspiration comes from the people we encounter in our everyday lives.

Not to belittle the writer’s craft, but with quirky mannerisms, notable turns of phrase,  idiosyncrasies and internal contradictions — sometimes real people are just more interesting than the ones we can imagine. Read the rest of this entry »

Great characters: Perfecting imperfection

In Writing on April 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm

In yesterday’s post, I talked about how you should be willing to put your characters through Hell – to punish them, hurt them, and generally make them wish they were dead (or, in some cases, just actually make them dead). This is important even for your best characters, your favorite characters and your most likeable characters.

But what does ‘likeable’ mean here? In everyday life, ‘likeable’ is more or less synonymous with ‘nice.’ Someone who is likeable is someone who does nice things, who says nice things and thinks nice thoughts. The best characters, though, are generally not entirely likeable in this sense. If yesterday’s post was about killing your darlings, today’s post is about making them deserve it just a bit. Read the rest of this entry »

Kill your darlings (or at least make them wish they were dead)

In Writing on April 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm
Medieval torture rack

Medieval torture rack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The advice to ‘kill your darlings’ or ‘kill your babies’ is dispensed so often in writing circles that it ranks among the most over-used writing clichés (right up there with ‘show, don’t tell’).

What it means is that you need to be ruthless in your willingness to cut sections of your writing that don’t work to strengthen it — even if it’s some of your favorite stuff. If it doesn’t serve the piece overall, it’s got to go.

But I like to take this advice in a second way: as a directive to treat your favorite characters just as ruthlessly as your favorite sentences. You need to put them through Hell, run them through the ringer, and — if it serves the piece as a whole — kill ’em too. Read the rest of this entry »