This week’s writing challenge: Tell us about a character in your life. It could be your best friend, your partner, your child, or even your third grade teacher. With as much detail as possible, make this person real for us. Tell us more than what they look like or how you met. Let us know what their laugh sounds like, or that oddball quirk that makes this person so unique.
Need some ideas to get started?
- Do a character sketch, drafting up a detailed list of their special characteristics and traits.
- Tell us about a specific memory you have of this person that highlights their personality and the singular way they approach life.
- Write a post from their perspective, matching your narrative voice so that it sounds just like them when we read it.
The goal is to make this character of yours as real as possible for your readers, as if we had known them all along ourselves. Each character in your life is unique, and we want to see their individuality shine through.
Mr. Rockstar is: tall with a bit of a lanky frame, medium brown hair that is thinning at the top (he has a small bald spot right at the top in the center of his head), bright sparkly blue eyes that light up when he’s happy or up to mischief, in his early mid-thirties with a great sense of humor and just enough kid in him to enjoy humor and find the funny in life. He’s smart but definitely a hands on kind of person. He has wit, charm, and an easy laid back personality, but woe to anyone who hurts or harms someone he loves, or children or pets. He’s compassionate yet stubborn, affectionate but a bit shy, strong yet gentle, and he’s passionate but a bit conservative. He’s talented but extremely humble. When people ask about his voice or guitar playing, especially when they compliment him, he says “I’m alright…” He’s way better than alright.
It was May of 2010 and I’d gone out to a local bar to hear a friend of a friend’s acoustic show. We’ll call my friend B___ and his friend P____. P’s acoustic show was awesome. I sat with B’s wife, who is my friend A___ and P’s wife C____ sat by her. We were having a great time, laughing, listening to P___ sing and play the guitar. Halfway through the show in walks Mr. Rockstar. He and C___ automatically start joking around with each other. Mr. Rockstar has been friends with P___ for a long time, and he and B__ and A___ have also been friends for quite a while as well. I’d never met Mr. Rockstar though. Ever. I asked who he was. He had such a great personality, His laugh and humor were genuine. His face was honest and he had smile that lit up his eyes. That kind of smile that says he loves life, is truly laughing, the genuine thing. My friend A__ says “Oh, that’s just Mr. Rockstar.” So I ask, “Who is that?” and she says, “He can sing.” So I say, “And?” and she says, “He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.” He and I aren’t introduced (Mr. Rockstar and the majority of our friends suck at that–they know EVERYONE around here so they figure everyone knows everyone, but some of us aren’t from around here…)
A few weeks later, I see Mr. Rockstar, who can sing and is one of the nicest guys I’ll ever meet out again. So I walk the long way around the local bar, where my friend B___ works, so that I can say hello to him. I say, “Hello. What’s up?” to Mr. Rockstar, and if I remember correctly, he says, “Hello.” and nods and smiles at me. Well, over the course of the night I watch as I mingle, as I take photos of the people in the bar playing darts or shooting pool or just having a good time. I took pictures all the time. As a matter of fact, I got a pic of Mr. Rockstar sitting at the table with us that first night I saw him, but didn’t realize it until later on.) We still aren’t actually introduced, and he leaves and I wonder about him. He’s definitely someone I want to get to know. He wasn’t hitting on women, he wasn’t drunk, he was just hanging out with his friends and having a good time–they were laughing, talking, and listening to music.
A few weeks later, my friend A___ text messages me that Mr. Rockstar is having an acoustic show at the bar and I should come hang out with her because B___ has to work that night and she’ll be sitting by herself. So I make plans to go. Once I’m there we take a seat at the bar, and we talk a bit. Mr. Rockstar is there. He comes over to us and talks for a short bit. We’re finally introduced. He sings and plays his guitar and I realize just how right my friend A___ was—this man can SING and play the guitar. WOW, what I voice, I think. During his breaks he kept coming over to us and chatting, even though there were quite a few women in the bar who were trying their hardest to get his attention, even through unsavory attempts. If they weren’t his friends, he was polite but pretty much kept to himself. Towards the end of the show, or what was supposed to be the end of his show, he and I were joking and laughing, and he says to me, “I think we should spend some time together.” And he asked me to meet him out the next night to see his friend P___’s band who was playing at a different bar. I said sure, I’d meet him there and listen to the band and hang out for a while. Mr. Rockstar and I met the next night, but there was so many people he knew, and the music was loud, that I didn’t stay long–about an hour and 1/2 or so. Mr. Rockstar was disappointed, and wanted to ask me to stay longer but didn’t. He thought he’d ruined his chances because he’d been busy for quite a bit of the time I was there being pulled over to talk to this person or that person he hadn’t seen in a while, or so and so came over to him and began talking, or whatever. But he called me the next day, anyway, and asked me out to dinner. We met at one of the local bar/restaurants and talked for 2 hours over drinks and then ended up going somewhere else to eat. By the end of that date, we helped my daughter move 3 bookcases, then he’d taken me to a friend’s house who has having a big backyard birthday party with one of those large waterslides that people can rent, which he couldn’t resist, even though he was in dress clothes, and once he got to the top he did a somersault on the way down, not once but twice. He also sang and played the guitar with a towel draped around him because his friends begged him to (this was before dinner), then he stopped by his house to change into dry clothes–I waited in the truck, then we finally went to dinner; then, we went to Karaoke with my friends B___ and A___ and had a great time, then on our way so he could drop me off at my apartment he got a flat tire about a mile from his parents house and we had to walk that mile, then he took me home in a different truck, then he went back and changed the tire and finally went to bed.
We’ve been together since and he’ll tell you that part of it’s because while on the date, once we got the flat tire this is what happened:
Mr. Rockstar: I can’t drive it anymore without messing up the rim.
Me: Not a good thing.
Mr. Rockstar: Do you feel like taking a walk? It’s not that far.
Me: Sure. I like walking.
Mr. Rockstar: Sorry about the flat tire….
Me: It’s okay. Life happens. It could always be worse–it could be raining.
Mr. Rockstar: You’re right.
He reaches for my hand as we begin walking toward his parents house (there’s no jack in the back of the truck)
I take his hand and we walk the mile to his parents hand-in-hand as we talk. We laugh, joke, making fun of the situation, and get to know each other even better.
Mr. Rockstar: I’m so sorry. What a horrible date, huh?
Me: No. I had fun. The best date I’ve ever had. (And I meant that.)
He pulls up in front of my apartment and we talk for about 30-45 minutes more, but he’s getting really tired and it’s about 4 or 5 in the morning by now, so he walks me to the door and kisses me on the cheek and goes on his way–he’s got a tire to change on the other truck, the one we left at the front of his parents neighborhood. He gets there, and of course, just as he starts changing the tire, it starts to rain.
The next day, I text message him when I get up and thank him for a wonderful date, and I look forward to spending some more time with him.
He didn’t think I’d want to go out with him again, but he really hoped I would. He was impressed with my reaction to the night in general, but especially to the whole flat tire ordeal.
6 months later we got engaged, and then 9 months after we got engaged we got married. 😀
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