Solar Systems

Emmy wished she could sit in the courtyard after sundown and look upon the earth’s ceiling, sink into the solar system. She could barley see the sky from her bedroom. Abuela was forever reminding her that she should be grateful for her bendiciones (blessings). The fact that she had a roof over her head was far more important than staring up at an invisible one. More than being told she had to make something of herself, Emmy was constantly reminded by her Mother and Grandmother that she had come from nothing. So the small latch window which permitted only fragments of light and swirls was simply that, something better than nothing.

Growing up she had listened to stories about the days when abuela and mother had scrambled for food, how they had built their home with their bare hands. It was usually on a Sunday afternoon, when all the Feijoada had been eaten and the pack of cards put away. A gentle silence would fall over the room until one of her only two elder relatives filled the space with reminiscent words. Sometimes she felt guilty for all these things she had that she had never worked for, that she often took for granted, somehow they disconnected her from her family and yet still made her different from everybody else. She lived with a generation that refused to accept the world they had once belonged to was gone, yet belonged to one that refused to acknowledge any reality past or present, besides their own.

Emmy rolled over onto her front and reached to the dresser for her sketchbook and favored 525 grey shading pencil that she had stolen from the Art room at school. She flipped to her sketch of the courtyard sweeper, thickened his outline, smudged the patchwork pattern on his flat cap and gently blackened his pupils. She liked to draw on her bed because it was comfy and sitting upright reminded her of being in class. Being proper in any sense of the word was something she was not, and pretending otherwise was too much like hard work. Brushing a handful of canary curls off her face, she led the pencil tip to the top of the page and begun etching above the sweepers head, creating the cosmic world as she imagined it.

© elenaxtina.com, 2015 in Skies over A Shanty Town

Character Building

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If you want to write well then you need to know/understand your characters, there is no better way to ensure this than to write from within yourself, using your own experiences. This article perfectly explains why characters written in this manner will be more believable and sit in more depth than ones that aren’t. I’m having so much fun free writing about characters and experimenting with the trials and tribulations I think they have been through. This really highlights that for me

The gap between what the characters wants and their needs are where the most interesting aspects of your characters will reveal themselves. And both want and need are created in really knowing your characters as if they were you.

How you gonna do that if your characters aren’t in your likeness or the likeness of those you have met/know even just a little bit? That and limitless imagination is in my mind the best combination for a genuine character :D

Read the whole article HERE at writersworkshop.co.uk and feel free to share your own experiences with character building below!

Emmy

Emmy squinted through her thick outlined eyes across the courtyard. As she sat on the wooden bench, legs swinging, she reached for her packed lunch. She bit into the roast beef, tomato and pickled cucumber sandwich that although she detested, her mother continued to make for her.

The courtyard stood in the center of the city. Originally the outside structure of a Catholic Church, a wishing well stood on a green between four crumbling columns. Evergreen had grown plush up and along each of them, moss sticking to the time-worn concrete. Without a ceiling, all day the sun shone in a sphere flooding each corner in light. Wooden sticks had been hand woven into a braided trellis and attached to an outer wall to steady the plants growing along the top. The holes left by broken window were replaced religious mosaics of multicolored glass, an attempt of the local council to preserve the Church’s history and all the stories that it told, if only silently and if only to a few.

Emmy ate her lunch here every day on the hours break from school. Most in her class ventured out to cafes around the city, only to eat a little and gossip a lot, perhaps because discussing the ins and outs of everybody else lives fed her peers more. She would seek the yard’s sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of the city,  where she was guaranteed a spot in the sunshine and a good hour of people watching. Her indifference failed to concern Emmy. She liked to think that she was different for a reason, and this she amplified in many ways. When she turned fourteen, she dyed the jet black hair that tumbled into curls all the way down to her lower back into a beaming blonde. Two weeks later, much to her mother’s dismay, she pierced a hole through her nasal septum and filled with a silver loop. She accentuated her voluptuous form with hip hugging jeans and tiny tank tops and bound golden chains around her tiny waist.

To the left of the largest window a man was sweeping away the Tuesday morning leaf fall. He was dressed in a brown cotton suit threaded with messy strands of blue, and a flat cap balanced on his crown. His sun-aged skin looked almost dirty and when he smiled, his rather large nose appeared almost hook-like. She had spotted him here every day for the past week, humming and sweeping, never uttering a word just nodding to passersby. Emmy took out her foolscap page notebook from her studded black satchel and started to draw. She tried to capture the way he swept, a thought behind every brush. She thought him either someone who had advocated every chance of happiness, or someone that happiness had never found.

© elenaxtina.com, 2015 in Skies over A Shanty Town