The Stranger in the Room

Hi wonderful readers. Following is a great post about character building that mirrors many of the comments I have made in the past, including my post on The Pool. I hope you enjoy it.

Posted by Richard Ridley on CreateSpaceBlogger on May 7, 2014 5:03:22 AM

To truly know your characters, you have to spend time with them outside of the book – away from the plot and surroundings they are used to. You have to pluck them from their cozy storylines and throw them into an unfamiliar situation to understand what makes them tick.

One of the most common character-building exercises when I was taking creative writing classes was to imagine a setting where your character is a stranger in a room full of people. As he or she progresses into the scene, others will make judgments based on appearance and awkward interactions. How will your character respond? What will he or she say or do? How will your character judge the others in the room?

The most common setting for this exercise is a school lunchroom. Many of us have memories of entering the cafeteria for the first time and getting a lay of the land, both physically and socially. If you’ve ever been a new kid at school, this memory is likely especially etched into your brain. It borders on traumatizing for some, while others find it exhilarating. Where on the spectrum would your character fall?

It doesn’t have to be a school cafeteria. It can be the break room at work or a party or wherever. That’s your call, but to truly flesh out your character and dive deep into his or her psyche, make sure he or she is the only stranger in the room. The stress of being unknown is a great way to see your character from a new perspective.


Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

About R Scott Boyer

Scott Boyer grew up in Santa Monica, CA and still resides in the Los Angeles area. Graduating from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley in 1996, he started writing Bobby Ether And The Academy with the goal of blending YA fantasy with spiritual fiction. Nowadays, Scott splits his time between helping his father manage an insurance brokerage, playing with his Shepherd-mix rescue dog Patch, and writing the sequel to his first book, the soon to be released Bobby Ether and the Temple of Eternity.
This entry was posted in Creative Process, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Stranger in the Room

  1. Pingback: How Writing Taught Me to be a Better Friend | R Scott Boyer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s