Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sketchy Characters - Maureen

I take the train to work each day. It's excellent fodder as a writer because I see a huge range of people and there are very few repeats. Thus I've invented a little game for myself, to help hone my description skills. I select a random person and describe them as though I'm putting them in a scene. Sometimes I give them a bit of back story. Sometimes I just jot down appearance descriptors. Either way it's a good exercise. I thought it might be fun to post those brief character sketches on occasion.

Today, I'd like to introduce Maureen:

Maureen’s dark hair was caught in a short ponytail at the back of her neck and a headband secured the front. Black rimmed reading glasses were lost against the dark tone of her skin. Arms like ham hocks rested on the back of the seat and her shirt stretched too tight across her large stomach and chest. She had three bags, straps tangled together on her shoulder:  a laptop case, a canvas shopping bag and a cavernous purse that could have held not only a kitchen sink, but possibly a full bathroom set as well. The skin on her cheeks was rough and pocked, darker than the surrounding skin. Wide lips that stretched into a smile as easily as a frown.

It ain't perfect but like an artist furiously dragging pencil across paper, sketching in a model's exact position before they shift, these written character sketches are fast and messy, ready to be cleaned up and refined later if I need them.

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