ORIGINAL WRITING EXERCISE TIME
Okay, so, here’s the deal: I’ve been thinking a lot lately about layering characters, and about recurring themes within characters, and about the sheer volume of different things that fandom can do with a fully defined character. Think about how many different versions of your favorite characters there are, for real: SO MANY. Because every character is a little different in every new story they’re in, even if it’s just a couple of tweaks, even if it’s just the author’s specific headcanon, etc, etc.
So! We’re going to do a thing now. I’m going to throw out the barest bones of a character, a couple details for everyone to go off of, and then we’re going to write! About that character! It doesn’t have to be a full story; it doesn’t have to be a story at all. It can be a character sketch or a list of ideas, it can be an out-of-context scene, it can be a snippet of something you never intend to flesh out, etc etc. It can be whatever you like! This is just about illustrating that the process of building a character doesn’t mean they have to come to you as fully formed people—that, in fact, for a lot of us that’s not how it works at all.
So: meet Parker, whose name is gender neutral because that shit is up to you! Here are the things we know about Parker: Parker is stubborn to a fault, prone to inappropriate/nervous laughter, and possessed of an addictive personality. Parker is a good listener, but not always a fantastic talker. Parker is superstitious, and easily frightened, and very loathe to let on about being easily frightened. And Parker has a secret…
THAT’S IT. REBLOG AND TRY IT OUT. My stab at it is under the cut; I don’t intend to do anything with it, so if you’d prefer to go off of a slightly more sketched out version of a character, feel free to knock yourself out expanding that instead :D
Ok. Let’s attempt.
Mr. Turner’s been out for the last three days; the school’s been rotating in teachers to cover, but it seems that they’ve finally shelled out for a sub. Honestly, Parker’s not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad.
“Hello, class, my name’s Ms. Jensen,” the young-ish woman at the front says with a bland smile, lipstick heavy on chewed lips and eye-liner already speckled and ground into bruised sockets. Parker slouches down further, pulls a book out to read and ignores the classroom at large. The sub looks like a moron, and Parker’s first impressions are (mostly) never wrong. Under the desk, Parker’s knee begins to bounce unconsciously, a crack in the nonchalant air projected to the world. For a moment, Parker’s lost to the world, captured in the land of fairytales, books, and wolves, until—
“Parker,” Parker says, raising a hand, over top the words after the first syllable, fast as only eleven years can make you. Not fast enough; snickers race through the room like the wind, a susurrus wave of mockery. It never, ever fails; by the time they to forget, someone comes along and reminds them all over again. Damnit.
The sub, unlike everyone else, just nods, makes a mark in her book as she says, “Ok,” and moves on down the list, like it’s just that easy. Parker turns back to her book, but for long moments she can’t focus, unnerved and uneasy because nothing in her life has ever been easy but this sub’s given her less shit than anyone else, even her so-called friends.
Maybe… maybe her impression was wrong (she thinks of the last time, and shudders).
They break for lunch. Parker kicks back from the desk, too large boots thudding loudly as she scoops her shit into a bag, rushes to flee.
“Parker, a moment, if you please,” the sub says at her back, a hand on her shoulder; it’s ice cold, burning through her jacket, and deep inside Parker is suddenly, irrevocably scared. No one else notices, all twenty-odd kids racing out, laughing and chatting and paying them no heed, and Parker feels as though trapped in the wolf’s den.
She doesn’t let it show. This is her home territory, not this weird woman with her tired eyes and cold hands and blood-red lips. She has no reason to be afraid; after all, Parker can take care of herself. She doesn’t say anything, waits, even long after they are alone. She knows how to wait.
The sub clicks away, closes the classroom door and throws the lock. ”Well,” she says finally, back to Parker, “you’ve certainly made a huge fucking mess, kid.”
A laugh burbles out, unbidden and unwanted; Parker digs nails deep into flesh as she clenches her fists, clenches her teeth. ”Don’t know what you’re talking about, ma’am,” she prevaricates, eyes darting about, shuffling as quietly as she can backwards, working for escape from this conversation, this room, this life.
The sub snorts, drags a hand through hacked blonde hair. ”Dale Turner,” she says, freezing Parker to the marrow. ”Forty-three, average white male, brown/brown, fairly near-sighted, prone to locking up young girls in his basement for weeks while he butchered them alive.” She turns, lances Parker to the quick with a cold grey stare; a gun draping loose from one pale hand. ”Hunted with extreme prejudice four nights ago; body located ten miles from his house, completely savaged. Luckily,” she pauses then, lips twisting in a bitter smirk and Parker’s heart turns over, “his family hasn’t quite made the identification yet. The police are trying to do facial reconstruction, but that’s hard when something managed to crack his head like an egg.
“So here’s the situation, kid. You either stay here, with your head in the sand, trying to forget that night ever happened, and live out your miserable life until they find you, and kill you. And they don’t kill clean,” she adds, wry, and Parker can hear the experience talking over her terror, wonders despite herself what happened to this woman to make her so cold (and if it will happen to her).
“Or?” she asks, after the silence stretches too long, because she’s willing to listen to the words as long as they’re said. ”What’s my other option?”
The sub grins, a sharp slash. ”Or you come with me, and learn how to put that power and those stories to good use. You already know to beware the empty buildings, and how to knock a fanatic on his ass; I’m offering you the chance to learn how to banish demons and kill monsters.
“So what’s it gonna be, kid?” she asks, and Parker stares at her hand with it’s gun, thinks about everything she’s seen and everything she doesn’t know empirically but feels in her chest, all the little things she does because she knows just knows that there’s a chance thing will go wrong if she doesn’t, thinks about that night and the rush under the fear and how she knows that she would do anything to feel it again and really, it’s no question, even if it’s a question that’s been asked a billion times in a million ways:
Life, or death?
“I’ll go with you,” she whispers, hands shaking and skin crawling but she meets the woman’s eyes head on. ”I’ll go.”
“Fantastic.” A slash of bloody teeth, a grin wide and wicked. ”We should leave now, before someone discovers the threatening looking yet completely harmless surprise I left in the girl’s bathroom that should be starting to smoke any minute now.
“Your first lesson,” she advices, jimmying the window open enough to slip under. ”How to run.”
Parker grins, just as wicked, matches her tooth for tooth. ”I already know that one,” she says, and flings herself out the second story window, surprised laughter echoing in her ears over the racing staccato of her own heart as she braces for the hit.
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- tildecowscomehome said: Have you seen Aim for the Sky! ? It’s a little old now, but it was an attempt to make a fandom without an original source text, and I thought it was a lil related to this project (which is, btw, super duper cool! good luck with it!).
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