Writing Exercise #4
This exercise is one I picked up from “Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques” by James Hynes. He credits “What if? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers” by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter.
Pick a character from a story, novel, whatever. Describe everything you know or can guess about that character.
Beware, some potential spoilers below. I am taking Cameron Jeffry Jaclyn from Into the Fire as my subject. I will reveal things about him that are revealed in the book, but also some things that are not revealed in that book, but in book two A Dollar Short which I am currently working on.
Okay. Here Goes.
- Cameron Jeffry Jaclyn is 30-ish.
- He works in the financial industry as some sort of analyst. He is not to top-level quant, but is somewhat skilled in his arena.
- He works for a smallish firm.
- He is valued by his co-workers for his ability to swiftly run new “numbers”.
- He is not wealthy, but is reasonably well off. He is not living hand-to-mouth. Probably upper-middle class.
- He has modest computer skills, focused mainly on his job.
- He is about average height.
- He is not much of an athlete, and fits in neither the “fighter” nor “lover” categories.
- He is unsure of himself around women, and easily gets flustered.
- He is often in his own head rather than deeply engaged in the world around him.
- He does not always plan ahead or think things all the way through before acting.
- He only recently acquired a cell-phone, so might be seen as a slight luddite.
- He drives an average car (Toyota sedan).
- He lives in an apartment building/condo.
- His apartment is smallish, but has a living room, kitchen, small dining nook, an upstairs with bedroom. Presumably it also has a bathroom.
- He has a checkered past. He has been on the wrong side of the law, has done some breaking and entering, and owes his current job, as well as his status as a nominally law-abiding citizen, to Ben Marshall, a man who helped him out of a scrape with the law when he was younger.
- He is not particularly political.
- He dislikes law enforcement officers.
- He would like to be in a relationship, but is not.
- He likes the outdoors, especially the mountains.
- He lives in Denver, Colorado.
- He feels a deep sense of obligation to people who have helped him.
- He has no family to speak of, is possibly an orphan.
- He has a small circle of friends.
- He is truly close to Clifford Kelly. Perhaps his only truly close relationship.
- He knows JC Schwittenhausen, and does not particularly like him, though he might be counted among Cameron’s friends.
- His friends call him Cam.
- He is a social chameleon, adapting his speaking patterns, attitudes, and whatnot to the current situation.
- He is dogged in pursuing things he believes are important. Personal risk, physical or otherwise, will not deter him.
- He is something of a loner.
- He likes wine, and dislikes beer, especially cheap beer.
- He recently discovered he like some whiskeys.
- He is willing to break the law in pursuit of things he thinks are important, but only to a certain point, and always with some forethought about consequences.
- He recently met Kelly Davis, an ex-cop, and actually likes her even though she was a cop.
- He is willing to bribe people for illicit information.
- He has a moderate social life, going out with friends to drink or watch a movie from time to time.
- He likes fast-food, Thai (particularly a lamb dish), and pizza.
- He likes peach pie.
- He dislikes strawberry-rhubarb pie.
- He drinks coffee.
- He tends to follow a routine, often eating at the same places, taking the same route to work, and so forth.
- He prefers to confront problems with subtle solutions rather than brute force. He likes to trick his opponents into missteps.
- He has a lawyer, seemingly on retainer. His lawyer, Mark Falstaff, is a trial lawyer. This is possibly a hold-over from his younger days as a petty criminal.
- He is somewhat familiar with the law, but lacks direct knowledge of police procedure and detailed terminology.