Character Exercise

Going to try character development NOT through exposition. I’m going to try and describe a character’s appearance and temperament through action and dialogue. Here we go.

 

WHACK! The sound her toe made as it hit the corner of the table sounded like a carrot snapping and the small cracking echoed through her toe and leg. Her whole body clenched, preparing for the pain even before she felt it.

“Goddess’s tits and arse!” she swore, hopping up and down clutching her foot, only to lose her balance and have to set down said foot, putting pressure on the offending appendage. “Fuck shit and damn!” she bellowed, tears popping into her eyes as she lifted her toes up and walked on her heel to the small settee, practically falling on it.

She lifted her foot, and glared at her toe.  “You are NOT broken!” she told it sternly, too angry to embarrassed about speaking out loud to an empty room or addressing a toe. She tentatively touched her pinky toe and moved it. Slightly. Her breath hissed in as pain lanced through her. Yep. It was definitely broken.

“Blast it all,” she muttered. It had to be the day her father had gone to the next town over for a delivery. Why they kept the bandages on the shelf in the entry closet was a mystery to her and a problem she was going to resolve as soon as she got the damn things down.  She hobbled over to the small closet and pushed aside the curtain covering it and then stood staring up at the shelf.  Uninjured, she could just reach the bandages if she stood on her tiptoes, but that was completely out of the question at the moment. So, she glanced around and limped over to the dining table, grabbed one of the straight-backed chairs, lifted, and began to walk back to the closet. It took two steps to convince her that it was going to be harder than she expected.

She was so short that the top rung of the chair back came to her neck when flat on the ground. Lifting the thing only gave the legs an inch or so clearance and she had to shuffle her feet to move forward. With a broken toe, that proved to be very painful. She stared at the chair, a frown on her face, eyed the distance to the closet, and swung her green eyes back to the chair. Suddenly, her face brightened.

“Got you now, you blasted chair!” she crowed. Grasping the chair, she lifted it up onto one leg and twirled it so that it landed back facing her side, seat the wall, and she put her arm over the top. Grasping the lower rung on the ladder back chair, she pulled the chair to her side and, using it as a crutch, lifted and walked, lifted and walked, back to the closet.

Getting up on the chair was easy, grabbing the bandages was easy, but climbing down from her perch took gritted teeth, balance, and determination. Still, she sat on the settee, bandages in hand, panting from pain, but victorious.  She lifted her injured foot onto the opposite knee and leaned forward to start wrapping the broken toe to the whole ones. Her black hair kept falling into her face and getting in the way of her hands, causing her to toss her head and puff air out of her mouth, but she was determined to wrap her blasted foot.

Finally, her foot was wrapped and she allowed herself a moment of sitting still before she rose and rummaged in the closet for her summer sandals. She strapped one on her injured foot and then put her boot on the other foot. She stared at her mix-matched feet and grinned. There. Now she can get some work done.

When her father returned home that afternoon, he found the garden weeded and hoed, ready for winter crops, the animals fed and watered, and the rugs strung on the line ready to be beaten free of dust. Inside, Aella was standing at the stove, stirring something, humming.

“How did it go today?”

“Father!” She turned and grinned at him, her green eyes brightening. “Welcome back.” She frowned slightly. “Take off those dusty boots and stamp off some of that road dust. I just dusted in here AND swept. And wash up! It’s only toasted sandwiches for dinner, but you don’t want grit on your bread.”

He laughed. “You’ve been busy!” he called back as he stepped outside to follow directions.

“Yes, well, I wanted to get as much done before it starts getting dark at four in the afternoon. Come on, you must be hungry.”

He smiled at her as he walked in his socks into the kitchen to grab a sandwich and a cup of water. It was his turn to frown as he saw her limp toward the dinning room table.

“What happened to your foot?”

“Hmm? Oh, yeah, I banged it on the table this morning. I’m pretty sure I broke my pinky toe.”

He stared at Aella, speechless for a moment, before taking a deep breath. He sometimes loved having such an independent daughter, but other times patience was a necessary commodity. “Aella..” he started, only to be interrupted.

“Don’t worry, Father, I’ll get the rugs done tomorrow!” Aella said brightly, biting into her sandwich.

He groaned and dropped his head into his hands.

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Why my Toddler was in my bed last night.

It happens occasionally, very occasionally in my house, but it does happen. Sometimes there’s a kid in my bed at night. I’m pretty protective of my sleep and once the young’uns are old enough to sleep in a crib/bed at night, they do so. Every move, snort, slap in the face or kick in the stomach is very disruptive. BUT. They are still young and occasionally, they end up in my bed. Last night it was the first time the 2 year old successfully slept in it; she usually just pokes me in the face and giggles at me until I give it up and put her back in her crib where she cries until she falls asleep. Last night was different.

  1. She wasn’t crying. She was fake crying to get attention, but stuck in what I call the two year old loop. This is the loop of wanting and not wanting something at the same time. She was exhausted but wouldn’t lie down. If I lay her down, she screamed like a banshee. Once, I put a blanket on her and she sounded like I was trying to kill her. So, she sat there, fake crying but unable to fall asleep because she WOULD NOT LIE DOWN.
  2. The sound she was making weighed on my ears. It sounded like the most annoying sound in the world from ‘Dumb and Dumber.’ Ok, probably not, but that’s what it sounded like to my ears at 3 am. I would have done anything to make it stop.
  3. My four year old needed sleep. She was hanging in there like a trooper, but when your kids share a room, one or the other is awoken by the other when there’s a problem. Elizabeth needed sleep. So now, one kid or the other was going to be in my bed regardless.
  4. I was cold. It’s winter and it’s 3am. We have the heat on, but it’s chilly and my feet were slowly turning into ice cubes.
  5. I was tired. Did I mention it’s 3am? Actually, by now it’s probably almost 4. She’s been making that sound for almost an hour.
  6. I tried being in the room. I put a pillow on the floor next to her and lay there, patting her, shushing her, singing to her, trying EVERYTHING to make her lie the fuck down and go to sleep. Nothing doing.
  7. She’s sick. This is probably the biggest reason. If she wasn’t sick, I’d leave the room (my presence was obviously only encouraging The Sound), and make her go to sleep. There was nothing wrong with her other than she wanted my attention. If she had been well, 15 minutes of her crying with no attention would have seen her fall back asleep and all would be well. But I challenge even the most stoic mother among you to ignore a sick child who obviously wants you and is coughing intermittently and can’t self-sooth because her nose is full of snot.
  8. She’s sick. Yep, it gets listed twice. All sick children want their parents. Who am I to argue?
  9. When I picked her up, she melted into me with a contented little sigh that melted my heart into disgusting goo. I stepped in it and caved. I totally caved.
  10. Once placed in our bed, a little hand drifted up out of the darkness and patted my arm and my back, the same way I do to sooth her, and then she patted my cheek.  Jesus, she’s so sweet.

Yep, I caved because I love her so dang much and it was so worth it for the baby snuggles. She’s my last baby and the only one who really likes to cuddle. She fell asleep there with her tiny hand in mine and it was amazing.

Star Wars: The Characters Awaken

I’ve seen it twice now and I’ve loved it both times. It is one of the best films I’ve seen: entertaining, humorous, dramatic, and tense. The characters were all believable, no matter what some nay-sayers say. So, let’s talk about them, shall we? THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS SO YOU ARE WARNED IF YOU READ THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

(if you are outraged at spoilers you read after this point IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT YOU’VE BEEN WARNED)

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Rey

There are SO many pieces dedicated to Rey, so I’m just going to write what I think about her personally. I think she’s awesome. She’s resourceful and smart and strong and brave. She’s also got some emotional issues to over come, not the least of which are abandonment issues (well earned as they are). She and Jessica Jones need to get together for some coffee or maybe a nice strong drink. The second viewing of the movie led to an epiphany: the force awakens!!!! She is obviously strong in the force and she’s been using it unknowingly, much like Anakin did with his pod racing. The thing that really brought that home was when she was chasing after Finn while dodging tentacles as if she knew where they were going to be next. OH WAIT, SHE DID. I loved how she was learning from Kylo Ren, just watching and picking up his tricks, and then realizing at the end that HOLY SHIT THAT’S THE FORCE.  She faces her fear of missing her family’s return and decides that she wants Luke to train her. And it’s because of Finn and Han Solo and all of the trials and battles that she’s experienced since she met BB. She wasn’t untested in survival and conflict, but she was in regards to relationships and family.

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I feel like he makes this face a lot. Hang in there Finn.

Finn

I love Finn, too. His character makes one of the biggest journeys in the movie. Unlike Rey, who’s been in a challenging environment since she was left on Jakku, Finn experiences his first battle, his first conflict, his first act of independence in the film. He goes from one of a mob, to a coward, to a friend, to a hero. He, like Rey, has no biological family, but his comrades were family of a sort, people he could bond with and hang. It was the loss of a friend that led to his defection. BUT he was trained from birth to disconnect, to follow orders and adjusting to a life where he can make his own choice and facing TOUGH choices like what he wants to do versus what he SHOULD do is challenging for him. The fact that a good person survived his conditioning and training as a stormtrooper is really rather remarkable, but it’s also an indication of holes that are still present in the First Order, not everything is a seamless operation the way the Empire was.

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PLEASE LET ME BE GOOD ENOUGH.

Kylo Ren

Oh boy. First, his parents named him Ben. My poor heart! His mother stated it clearly for us: he has too much of Darth Vader in him. The fear that lives in Kylo is what drives him into the arms of the Dark Side. His fear that he’s not strong enough or good enough, that he’s not as strong as Darth Vader, it’s what powers his every decision. He thirsts to prove himself, not to himself, but to his parents and Luke and Snoke. He wants approval while desiring independence. He’s YOUNG. And holy shit is he strong in the force. He is way stronger than Darth, from what I can tell. He stops the blaster ray and holds it there without any seeming effort. He can pull information out of a persons head like nothing. He doesn’t just walk off a shot from Chewie’s crossbow HE GOES AND FIGHTS FINN AND REY. It takes him being wounded and against two people, one a trained Stormtrooper and one who uses the Force, to beat him. AND Snoke admits his training is incomplete. HOLY SHIT GUYS IT’S GOING TO GET REAL. Yes, he throws some tantrums. Yes, he’s emotional. That’s what makes him so damn terrifying. He wants, desperately, to train Rey, to become a leader and a mentor, TO MATTER.  The surprise on his face when his grandfather’s lightsaber flies past him to Rey is key. One, that she figured out how to do that and two: SHE’S STRONGER THAN HIM. He was weak, injured and tired, but she was strong enough, untrained and after a blow to the head, to move it past him and out of his grip of the force.  His tells her she’s using the force and she connects all the puzzle pieces to go on to win the game.  Rey is watching his every move, learning from him, even as he’s fighting her. It’s his fear of not being good enough and his arrogance that he’s better than her that is his downfall. I cannot WAIT for the second movie to see how these two develop and move against each other.

Character development is so awesome. I love character driven plots. LOVE THEM. I cannot imagine how strong Rey will be as a trained Jedi. How will Kylo deal with murdering his father? Will Finn and Poe be a team? How will THEY grow and change and how will that determine the path of the plot. When is the next movie coming out?!