UGH! The emotions, stress and expectations surrounding Christmas, even a normal #Christmas, can be overwhelming. Add to that, Covid-19, and well, it’s a tough year for most.
We writers can use this time, those emotions and expectations as fodder for character building—our own, and our fictional characters—if we choose. So, I offer you this #writing exercise for our times.
Think about the characters in your #WIP (work in progress) and or a character you’re just dreaming up. AND remember that this exercise is only intended to deepen your characterization—get to know your character a little better—and not anything you will necessarily use in your WIP, unless you love it, of course.
There are no rules, only guidelines. So put your #writer’s thinkin’ cap on, here we go;
It’s a week before Christmas. We’re in the midst of a #pandemic. Many have lost their jobs, their spouses, or a loved one to covid. There are no office parties, no #holiday shopping extravaganzas, no church or school Christmas plays or fancy Nutcracker events. There’s no family get togethers, no hanging out at favorite restaurants, no seeing old friends, and absolutely no hugging, unless you’re wrapped in one of those clear plastic shower curtains, of course.
Guideline #1. Try to get those 5 senses (smell, taste, sound, touch, sight) in there.
Your character just woke early in the morning; to what sound or smell? Before their feet hit the floor (touch); what are they thinking, what are they feeling? What’s the first thing they do; brush teeth or make coffee, (taste) shower, look outside or turn on the news? (sight) And are they thinking that Christmas alone, and isolated sucks? Or is it uplifting, undaunting, and they’re thinking maybe from now on this is the way to go?
Guideline #2. Describe their setting and how it has been altered by the lack of holiday fanfare. Guideline #3. Due to this change in their life, identify how that may lead to conflict in the family, marriage, job, whatever.
Guideline #4. What’s the point? What have they learned, and how has it transformed them? Did they learn they valued something that they hadn’t really thought of before?
Did they learn they were afraid of something, like being alone? Guideline #5. How will they behave differently after quarantine, and lonely (or not) holidays?
Some people promise themselves they’ll visit grandma more often, or go to the neighborhood coffeeshop and actually talk to people instead of sit alone in the corner. And many promise themselves they’ll return to church, yoga, meditation, hiking, or whatever devotional practice they had once upon a time. How has your character transformed (in a small or big way) due to the pandemic?
At the very least, do they plan on doing more hugging? Use this time to write, to explore your emotions and those of your characters. And if you feel the need for help. please reach out.
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