Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Berta's Music

Tuesday Quick Write for Kate Messner's Teachers Writing Camp

Today, Julie True Kingsley joins us with a writing prompt on character development…


Step One:
* Pull out your magazines and look for faces that you find interesting (You could also do a Google Images search or use Pinterest).   What faces call you?  Pick one.
(Teaching Note: I make students pull a picture from a paper bag)

* Take in the photo.  What do you notice about this person?   Give the person some traits.  Start with physical traits (So easy!), now look deeper.  What do you think this person is feeling?  What makes the person’s heart tick?  Secrets? Yes, they are there.  Find them.  Dig deeper.  Learn more.  Push yourself here.

Step Two:
* Find songs that match your character’s inner and outer character.  Play around with this.  You Tube is your friend.  Go find that song that represents your character.
(Teacher note: Depending on the age group you teach you might need to frontload different styles of music and have them choose between a few specific choices.   You know your kids, do what they do they can deal with.)

See Example on the blog.

Step three:
Start this character’s story.  Go on, try a half a page.  Keep the music on.  Put the beat into your story. See what happens.  If you are motivated try numerous songs.  Notice, how does your sentence structure changes with the beat of the music? Does the beat find its way into your words?

My Turn: 

Photo Credit: Flickr by Donald Lee Pardue CC 2.0 on June 26, 2012

My Fictional Description: 

Name:  Roberta Rhodes
From: Seattle, WA now in Small Town, WA

Physical Characteristics:  streaked blonde hair, pulled back in a rubber band, bangs curled and pushed to each side, brown eyebrows, hazel eyes, slight but strong nose, pointy like her focus; thin lips, serious, even and rounded chin, healthy weight (huggable)

Song:  That Girl Was Me (Drama Queen) by Lindsay Lohan

Internal Characteristics: Takes charge of her life, focused, gets the job done, over works, but when interrupted, just sighs; pleasant, but feisty; doesn't take any crap -- has "tude";

Opuzz Determined to Succeed  - solid beat; instrumental keeps moving


"Bert," I called and snapped the picture.

Roberta just sighed and continued chopping broccoli.

"Get that camera out of here and get your gloves on! Spin that spinach."

We had many more to feed tonight; tons of sandwiches to make. People would be dropping into Bert's Bakery and Cafe all night tonight during the community cancer walk.

Bert's mom had passed away from breast cancer and Berta is a survivor. But you wouldn't know it. She works long hours and helps out whenever she can; all sandwiches are half price today for the community activities.

We've been open five years, and it looks like we'll make it. Just like she did. Life is short, and Bert keeps her cool, despite my continued teasing. I reach over and kiss her cheek. We've been married for twenty-three years.

She smiles and says, "Start another row of sandwiches." She throws a radish at me.

I'm glad she's back.


Your Turn:

Follow the steps above.

For images:
Go to Flickr.com, advanced search, and choose Creative Commons for commercial use and faces. Then type in a word to find; I used determined.

 To search YouTube, just type in your Google Search Bar: "youtube music determined" That's how I found my music.

Link back here with your new character!

1 comment:

  1. OK, Sheri, you are doing such a good job on your writing camp prompts! I've been negligent! I did write about a grandma with Alzheimers, twice now. My latest with a Flickr photo is here.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Sheri. I know these prompts are making me a better writer and a better teacher! I am learning so much about writing and reading this summer. What a blessing.

    Thanks, friend,


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