Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wednesday Writing Workout: Characterization, from the Feet Up

As I promised on Monday, today's Wednesday Writing Workout is courtesy of the amazingly prolific Debbie Dadey. This exercise sounds deceptively simple. If you give it a try, do let us know how it works for you. And when you're done here, don't forget to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Debbie's latest chapter book, Treasure in Trident City (Aladdin), from her Mermaid Tales series. 

Wednesday Writing Workout from Debbie Dadey:
Characterization, from the Feet Up

I was lucky enough to attend one of the Highlights’ Chautauqua experiences many years ago. I’ll never forget author Pam Conrad’s workshop about characterization. One exercise stuck with me. It’s easy and that’s probably why I remember it:
  • Simply think of your main character and look at his/her feet. What do they look like? Barefoot? Shiny? Polished? Scuffed? 
courtesy of jdurham at morguefile
  • Then go up to the legs. Socks? Dirty? Ruffled? Keep going up.
  • Do the knees have scabs on them?
  • Keep going up until you’ve completely visualized your entire character.

This exercise helped me realize that I was approaching my first novel, Cherokee Sister,
from the viewpoint of the wrong character. I hope it will help you.

Thank you, Debbie!
Happy writing, everyone.
Posted by Carmela


Linda B said...

I've had students 'draw' their characters, but never starting at the feet! What a great idea! Will use it! And thank you!

Carmela Martino said...

Hi Linda. Do let us know how the exercise works with your students. Thanks for stopping by!

Diver Daisy said...

Great use of my pic :) I'll have to keep this lesson in mind for next school year!

Diver Daisy said...

Great use of my pic :) I'll have to keep this lesson in mind for next school year!

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for stopping by, Daisy, and for letting us use your photo. It felt "just right" for this post. :-)

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thank you, Debbie, for this exercise!
I can't wait to share it with my writers and students, especially this summer's Young Writers.

Franny Stevenson said...

Nice exercise! I'll keep it in mind!