For our final meeting of 2018, following up on our character discussions of the last couple weeks, each of our writers brought in a character, major or minor, to introduce to the group. Some came with lists, while others had chosen to stage interviews with their characters. Pooled together, we had a range of internal and external details—family dynamics, educational background, personality quirks, physical appearance, religion, favorite foods, full family history, personal traumas, professional history, social skills, etc., and how some of those traits inform the others. It sounds like everybody came out of this exercise knowing more about our characters than we knew going in. Those who had chosen difficult characters were able to root out the things that make them as compelling as we knew they could be, and some found that exploring a character’s background made their future that much clearer—their choices, reactions, overall arc, etc. In presenting our characters to the group we were able to make a case for why they were important and identify work yet to be done, and seeing where our character studies overlapped and diverged was enlightening as well. We finished up the session with a game of Story Cubes, churning out a long, convoluted, and hilarious story that really tested our ability to improvise wildly without breaking the thread.
We’ll keep blogging over the holidays, and meetings will resume with the new semester in January.