MT. SAC will be holding its Writer’s Weekend soon and I wanted to share a quick write from a previous Fiction Workshop: Starting your Own Story with Pamela Arterburn.
The prompt was as follows: Write an introductory paragraph using first person point of view that reveals something about the character.
To do this exercise, you had to create your character, describe them, give him/her a background on their family, education, reason for being at the circus, etc. You made a sketch of this character and their antagonist before you started drafting the first paragraph. Oh! This was done through a brainstorm with a partner. I had a great partner in which I neglected to store her name to memory, but she was helpful in putting all our ideas together.
If you do the exercise, try it with a partner, sketch the characters and add small details about them around their heads. These details about their background will help in leading your character to make the types of decisions faced with, etc. For example, the main character is Bobo and he is a young man with dark hair who was orphaned. His rival is a man who knows about Bobo’s parents. There are more brainstormed ideas, but I think you get the concept =)
Here is the attempt:
For the first time since joining the circus, I finally had the opportunity to see the inside of my eyelids, but before I could drift off to sleep, still wearing the elaborate clown costume, I was awakened by my boss with a nudge.
“Hey, Bobo, go bring the piano in.”
“What?” I yawned.
“Go get the piano.”
Grumbling, I got up and pulled on my collar, which turned red from the itchy fabric. Dragging my large feet off the bed, I yawned again, and walked over to the piano at the center of the ring, careful not to bump my head on the roof vents of the tent. When I closed the lid, I heard the piano keys tinkle and scrambling feet behind me. I turned and spotted a great big lion heading my direction and I somersaulted up on the piano!
I realized, that was a mistake. The lion continued to charge straight at me, its paws scraping the dirt underneath and its wide head wrinkled. As it reached me, I fell back and used the piano like a barrier…