Character exercise

Task one:

Answer as many of the following with a short answer as you have time to answer. If you feel more inspired by some questions than others, than you can write more for those. These questions are taken from The Dramatic Writer’s Companion, by Will Dunne.

You can either answer the question in your own words, or find a short quote from the novel that you think answers the question nicely. Use a quote when you can think of an appropriate one to use.

In this case, the words “the character” refer to Henry.

Henry’s physicality. 

  1. How would other people describe the character’s physical appearance?
  2. Good or bad, what is the character’s most striking feature?
  3. How would you describe the character’s strength, endurance, and coordination when it comes to physical activity and sports?
  4. Does the character have any permanent physical defects, such as nearsightedness, or temporary ones, such as a broken leg? If so, what are they?
  5. What is the character’s greatest physical asset?
  6. What is the character’s greatest physical weakness or liability?

Henry’s inner life.

  1. How would you describe the character’s intelligence?
  2. How would you describe the character’s imagination?
  3. How does the character rate in terms of common sense and sound judgment?
  4. How would you describe the character’s outlook on life?
  5. Does the character tend to be dominant or submissive with others, and why?
  6. How does the character usually approach major problems?
  7. What is the character’s greatest talent?
  8. What is the character’s greatest lack of talent?
  9. What is the character’s biggest success in life so far?
  10. What is the character’s biggest failure in life so far?
  11. Up to now, what has been the character’s main ambition?
  12. What is the character’s biggest delusion?
  13. In order of importance, identify the character’s three greatest fears.
  14. In order of importance, name three things that make the character really angry.
  15. What would make the character feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty?
  16. How would you describe the character’s moral standards?
  17. What are three things the character most values?
  18. What are three things your character least values?
  19. What is the character’s greatest virtue?
  20. What is the character’s greatest vice?
  21. Identify something unusual the character might do–but only if people would not know about it.
  22. Name three things the character would never, ever do.
  23. What is the character’s biggest secret and why has this stayed hidden?
  24. What turns the character on sexually?
  25. What is the character’s greatest psychological strength?
  26. What is the character’s greatest psychological weakness?

Henry’s life with others.

  1. Where did the character grow up and in what kind of home?
  2. What is the character’s social class and how does this affect the character?
  3. What do the character’s parents do for a living and how much do they earn?
  4. What is the greatest strength and weakness of the character’s father?
  5. What is the greatest strength and weakness of the character’s mother?
  6. In a nutshell, how would you describe the character’s childhood?
  7. What kind of schools does the character attend, and how well does he do?
  8. What do you imagine are the character’s best and worst subjects in school?
  9. How popular is the character?
  10. How would you describe the character’s home life?
  11. If the character could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
  12. Positive or negative, what were three of the most significant turning points in the character’s life and how has each affected the character?

Task two:

Now answer the above questions, but about yourself. Answer as many of the above questions as you have time to. This is being posted on the blog, so don’t answer any questions you don’t feel comfortable being seen publicly.

Task three:

Start brainstorming for your final essay. Reread the instructions.

If you like the novel, start freewriting about why you like it and what you might possibly relate to in Henry’s character.

If you dislike the nove, start freewriting about why don’t like it and why you feel you can in no way relate to Henry’s character.

Task four:

Go through the pages you’ve read so far. Gather as much evidence about the things you’ve written so far about Henry’s character as possible. Look for passages that give us info about Henry’s character, and note them here. Just note the page number and first few words. You don’t have to recopy the whole passage.

Voyage in the Dark example (these are made up quotes. I don’t have the novel with me):

Anna’s sense of doom:

  • page 123: “Never have I found life so heavy…”
  • page 86: “Life is a rowboat with no oars…”

 

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