Saturday, April 5, 2008

Writing and Visual Imagination: Narrative Preparation

Select an image for the basis of your 3rd narrative of the semester. We're doing a nice job of "showing vs. telling", but we can do more. Today, we'll strip down the process and prepare for our 3rd story. This time, I am asking you to focus on a specific task: developing characterization through imagery.

1. Study the image.
2. Characterization: Create your protagonist. List several qualities of this character. What drives him or her? What fears does he or she have?
3. Write a passage which describes the physicality and psychology of your character. Reveal these qualities through detail so that the reader is left to determine them.
Here's an example: avoid: "Johnny was a roofer from the Midwest who worked really hard. He was sick of his job." The problem? The reader is disengaged from the get-go. Everything is revealed; there is no puzzle, question, or curiosity to compel the reader to move forward. Try something more like this: "His fingers, seasoned by the unmistakable breath of the Dakotan winter, clutched the dusted chrome of the handle. His red '76 Chevy, tinted a faded pink by the glow of twilight, groaned and coughed to a start. He sighed and plucked a cluster of bills from his mottled dungarees and tossed them into the passenger seat among the pile- rusty tools, foam coffee cups, faded receipts. He popped the truck into drive but his boot remained heavy on the break. An orange sliver of the fading sun pulled his gaze to the top of the roof, its shingles a crisp mosaic of sparkling grey. And on this night John sat for a moment, his flesh and bone drooping slowly into the torn fabric of his seat."
4. Post your brainstorming results and a draft of your passage here.

12 comments:

Sands,Kevin said...

Page walked into a room where all eyes immediately fell onto him. His well calloused hand lay upon the scabbard of his sword, wary eyes looking for threats in the small crowd. He found none they were all there for the same reason, an end to the monarchy. They knew the time to lay long set up plans into action was upon them. Death or success there truly no other options for the men in this room, many of whom were already in hiding from the crown struck nobles.

Nicole N. said...

Five more minutes and I’m out of here. Thank god its pay day, Marie will want to go out tonight. I honestly don’t know how I can afford to stay with her sometimes. As much as I want to go to college, she’ll always be my first priority. Ma’ will get mad if I don’t get home on time to eat. Probably meatloaf again, ugh story of my life. If I don’t work later this week I won’t get enough money. Ouch, another burn to add to my collection, I’m surprised I’m not dead yet.

Jess M said...

Days had pasted and soon months. He laid there helplessly. His body as white as snow. His hands cold as ice. He hadn’t ate in days and it started to show. I could count each rib one by one. His bones where seeking through his skin and he began to look more like a skeleton than a human being. Every breathe was a struggle. His time was coming to an end.

Anonymous said...

The protagonist is Timmy and he is determined to learn to ride his bike. His desire to ride like his older brother Mike and be as big and as cool as him is what drives him. He is afraid of failing and never being able to ride without his training wheels. He is also afraid of being made fun of!

“His hands gripped the bright, shiny handle bars of his new Schwinn bicycle. It was another step up from his old, rusty tricycle. When it was brought out with the big red boy on it he got the biggest smile on his young, carefree face. As he climbed on, a big gust of wind blew through his thick curly hair. The young, high voice screeched out with a happy shout as he sped down the long, gravel driveway. Untied and frayed, his shoelaces bounced against the side of the riding device.”

Taylor M. said...

Her golden hair was blowing in the wind; her face was glowing despite the coldness of her skin. It was as if the tears of her mother had deeply saddened her, you could see the pain that she felt for her mother. She was too young for this, only five years old and she knew already where she would ultimately end up. Her mother wept tears of unadulterated heartbreak that not many could understand; losing a part of your soul is not an easy loss to handle. Her daughter was in a better place, a forest filled with fairies and joy. Never again would she worry about being hungry, sad, or hurt. She could play her golden beautiful harp for the rest of time.

kayla said...

Protagonist:Mary
-strong
-intelligent
-annoyed
-angry
-She is locked in the tower and questions if she should run. She came to England for refuge and ended up getting thrown in prison.
-From sitting in prison for 19 years she has come to fear she will be executed.
-Distraught because she will never see her son again. He is now 19 an dshe has missed so mcuh.
-Sky terrier her affectionate dog.
-Looking at her one may say she isi beautiful for an older woman.One could tell she was once a beauty no one could ever compare to. She wears a wig of auburn. She looks sickly, paler than one should, with deep purple circles under her eyes. Her eyes are blood shot like she had been crying. She looks malnourished like there is nothing but skin and bones under her dresss. She is doing well for someone who is going to be executed.

Nicole W. said...

David
Devoted father and husband
on a mission of god
deep believer
never gives up

As much as the tears streaming down their faces tore me to peices, I had to do what was intended and expected of me. I must believe, and follow through with the plan. To surrender the duty ahead of me from my higher power for my family would be incredibly unfaithful, as much as they meant to me. I lifted my son's tiny limp body from the ground and placed him on my shoulders. We must all follow through with the plan, I said aloud. I felt a powerful grasp pulling me towards the long journey ahead.

Dom S said...

Nothing but ash remained after the devasting "Plan Z" destroyed half of the east coast where the plague was strongest. The few people that were able to survive the holocaust were forced to succumb to starvation and the severe winter that would soon come.

Tess R. said...

2. Emmanuel – na├»ve, optimistic, middle aged, religious. Basically thinks that everything
is fine in the world and if only people could be as faithful as himself and his friends and neighbors then the world would be a much better place. Has tons of hope for the human race and the controversial world he lives in.
3. “Emmanuel kneeled before his bed, dressed in his business suit, ready to brace the day except for one formality. He clasped the golden cross from his chest and held it between his finely manicured fingers as he asked God to bless him and his friends and family throughout the day and to further protect his loved ones from harm. Now he was really ready to face the day. Going down his spiral staircase down into his newly renovated kitchen Emmanuel was welcomed by his family, all sitting down, eating breakfast before they went off to school and yoga. After kissing his family goodbye, he got into his 2007 Ford Focus and got onto the highway, turning the volume up on his favorite soft rock tune on his XM radio.”

Sara. said...

Wake up, wash, get dressed, smoke a cigarette, drink coffee. Joanne’s been following the same schedule since…as far back as her memory goes. Smog encircles her like a halo, trailing farther and farther into the confines of her house, washing over the piles of unwashed clothes, used utensils, lost bills, etc. She hears the creaking of a bed in the other room; Marielle must be in the workings of waking up. She sighs, stamps out the burning filter in one of many ashtrays lying about, stands, and goes to wake up her daughter.

C. Easingwood said...

His muscles cramp, his limbs worn by hours of the deep blue Pacific. He glances from eye to eye to the water ahead, focusing on the variety of blues and silvers reflecting off of the water. His feet and arms flail at the water beneath him as he scurries on his way to the finish. He glances at the competitors nearing his lead and then pressed forward. In one sudden motion a rush of adrenaline shot up his leg and through his body. As the behemoth of the sea, the great white, carelessly detaches his leg off with one sudden jerk. Jake was left wading, bobbing in and out of the water, waiting for his drift back to the beach. Jake’s career is changing, forever.

krodss said...

There he sat in the dim lit room with his three best friends some dice, beer and his pipe. His is skin in a corrugation with his withering sight. All heard are the aimless words, that seem through the convexity that has become of his mouth, a never ending story, or just a simple concoction of words. His weary bones and thickset appearance made it seem almost impossible to move. Battered and beaten, all he felt was a gargantuan weight on his shoulders that made it most difficult to move. Miles speaks with the only responses heard by himself and anybody else who may be listening to him.