starting to write your story

Character Profile

Physical/biological:
age – 38
height – 5ft 6in
assets – large chest
flaws – skinny legs
sexuality – hetero male
gait – stride
voice – deep.

Psychological:
intelligence – well above average
temperament – skittish
happiness/unhappiness – prone to mood swings
attitudes – thinks he knows it all, but doesn’t
self-knowledge – flashes of insight occasionally
unconscious aspects – deep reservoir of peace with huge continents of war.

Interpersonal/cultural:
marital status – single at 21, married by 38
profession – lawyer
family – both dead
friends – tries but it’s not easy for him (or them)
colleagues – many, varied and shallow
birthplace – Tanzania
education – degree level in Tanzania, Masters in UK
hobbies – breeding worms and collecting bonsai trees
beliefs – forest spirits
values – loyalty
lifestyle – British with Tanzanian hangovers.

Personal history:
major events in their life (including the best and the most traumatic times) – coming to England for the first time (best and most traumatic), graduating, being accepted into the work environment.

Character’s Inner Life

I can’t say that I feel much like a lawyer. When I get out into the court I don’t feel that I’m impressive. I don’t feel like I have a loud voice; I know it’s deep and it carries and people listen when I talk, but I’m really just being myself. Maybe I have something of a presence?

My mom would always place her hand on my chest – above my heart and tell me that I would do great  things with my life – that such a big chest contained a big heart – that she loved me with all her being. She spoke just like that – loving and clear. The thing I remember most about my dad on the other hand is that he would always try to race me everywhere. ‘Last one to the shop is a clown,’ he would say and the set off at a sprint – his big strong legs pumping. I wanted it and gave it my all, but I always felt like I was the clown in his eyes, with my straw legs and defeated eyes.

So I always wanted to live up to my mom’s dreams and live down my dad’s disappointment. Moving to England for my Master of Laws was a part of the plan, and it was terrifying and gratifying at the same time. I had heard how in England everyone was as pure as the sky and white as mlungu and this combination puzzled me greatly but in no way prepared for the electrifying reality.

Character’s Behaviour

For the flight, I wanted to wear something that would be cool enough for Tanzania, yet warm enough for England. I also wanted to look normal enough for departure, but also for arrival. I thought through the various options and took on the suggestions of friends and family, but gave up in the end and just wore something casual – slacks and a shirt. As a concession to climate I packed a sweater folded around an extra pair of socks for this I was most grateful – the plane was freezing! It was a night flight and after the obligatory, almost tasty, almost identifiable meal, the cabin was darkened and blankets deployed. Solitary pools of light stood starkly against the dimness as readers made their sleeplessness known. I tried to sleep, but even with my sweater, socks and an extra blanket I was just too cold. It started in my fingers and toes then gradually crept deep inside my bones, where it set up camp for the night. In the end I got up and prowled down the aisles, shivering. Moving from pool to pool I read a few lines of this book and that as I slowly passed. Their eyes scanned back and forth between the lines, paying no mind to the cold shadow that I must have been to them. That was, until I came into her light.

Character’s Speech

Hair like ripe corn, eyes like lavender, skin like milk, voice like cream – ‘sit with me’ – sounding more like acknowledgement of action past than prediction future event.

I sat.

She had no boundaries to speak of. As she leaned into me, her touched my arm and … such heat! A glow sprang to life and spread into me. Bones defrosted in an instant. I was 21.

My English was impeccable, my accent more Oxford than Oxford. I was precise and exact. Her voice was music, and all my painstakingly accumulated knowledge, all my supposed superiority was washed away by the tide of her mellifluous tones.

‘Hi,’ I said – all feign and confusion.

‘Hi, she said – summer and sunshine as she smiled up into my face.

‘What are you reading?’ – first of the tangled thoughts to make it from my mouth.

‘A book,’ as if she were saying ‘up, down.’ As if she were telling me to try again. Giving me another chance. First of many chances.

Character’s Vivid Description

Looking back now at the boy I was then, sitting in a pool of light a mile above the world, letting this girl unfold my life layer by layer from my unprotesting mind, I marvel at the love I feel for him. Short cropped hair presiding over smooth brow; skin as sweet as chocolate, and that smile – teeth shining out of a face as friendly as a rainbow. And for all the love I feel for him – still more I feel for her as she melted me into her world.

Character’s Contradictions

For how could I have known then that for all my fears and confusion about the people I would meet in England, every single one of them would only become bit players; minor characters in the drama of my life. And that in fact I would only truly meet one person – and it was she.

My world had already exploded and contracted into her. My heart became full. She was my Alpha; and as she sits beside me now – watching me typing these few words – waiting for me to be done so that we can run laughing into the garden for some childlike game of her devising, I know that she is also my Omega.

(expanded into a full story at editing your story)