An update from our twentienth Weekly Writing Workshop!
A summary of the workshop held on Friday August 14, plus some of the output published below
This week, the last in our first series of Writing Workshops, our founder William Rubel returned to an earlier theme: character sketches. Last time we worked on character (Workshop #14), we focused on giving a sense of character through description of their appearance. In this week's workshop we were less concerned about what they look like physically than who the character really is—who are his or her friends—what is his or her inner self? We also wanted to provide links from the character into the the larger story they are part of. Before embarking on our own writing, William and the group analysed the description of the character Captain Cuttle, from Charles Dickens' novel Dombey and Son, given in an eccentric nineteenth-century encyclopaedia of Character Sketches from works of fiction. In just one paragraph, the writer revealed details of Captain Cuttle's personality, behaviour, mannerisms, accent, clothes and demeanour as perceived by others, and in doing so also revealed parts of the story he was involved in.
The Writing Challenge: Write a character description that tells us more about the character than what they look like.
The Participants: Nami, Georgia, Simran, Ella, Kanav, Maddie, Madeline, Peri, Samantha, Sasha, Shel, Tilly, Vishnu, Aditi, Suman, Shreya, Lena and more…
See below for some of the great writing that came out of this week's workshop!
Peri Gordon, 10
Lila Sale had only a few friends and never made any new ones. Her trademark was a sigh, a sad, downcast sigh. She was the youngest in her family, with three cruel siblings who couldn’t care less about her. They called her “Lonely,” plus other mean names. “Get over here, Lonely!” “You’re a clumsy idiot, Lonely!” Lila would come to school dragging her feet, trudging slowly through the halls, finding those rare friends of hers, who, like her, really only moped. A lot of the other children, the most popular especially, were similar to Lila’s siblings in character, and she was truly afraid of those ones. The worst was when she ran into her actual siblings (who were popular themselves) and paid the price a million times over, embarrassed and melancholy and even lonelier, for her friends would have fled the scene already. “What’cha doin’, Lonely?” “Where’d your little friends go, Lonely?” Whenever Lila saw anyone who was happy, she would always murmur, “I wish I was like that."
Kanav Kachoria, 12
There once was a football coach for the Eastern Shore Eagles named Coach Adams. Everyone at the high school loved him. It was practically impossible for someone in Eastern Shore to not know him, unless they lived under a rock. Coach Adams was a very fun but strict coach. The high school players always used to tease and call him bittersweet depending on his personality. One day he was the jolliest man in the world with his pearly white teeth smile, and then another day out of the blue he was as fierce as a lion. It didn’t make any sense. Coach had some wrinkles on his peach-colored face, but not a lot. He always wore a Nike green cap with the yellow logo of Eastern Shore on top of his head, covering his white hair. Also, he wore a blue and green jacket with the high school’s logo on it every single day. At the Eastern Shore High football games, he chewed his minty Polar Ice gum like crazy on the sidelines, saying that it was the best gum out there. Coach Adams’s main quotes were to “never give up” and to “have confidence in yourself” since that is what you need in football and anything in life. With all the unbelievable actions Coach Adams did, he will go down as one of the greatest football coaches in history and will be remembered as the Eastern Shore Eagles football coach greatly.
Madeline Kline, 12
My brother is extremely popular, being friends with almost everyone. At school, I always notice a huge crowd of people either next to him or behind him, trying to get a chance to talk to him. Obviously I’m his best friend, but he treats everyone at school like a best friend.
He’s very handsome, with dark hair (usually ruffled) and bright eyes. His favorite jacket is worn so often that you can’t even tell what the words on it say, with all the stains. Still, he refuses to let Mom wash it. He’s a huge procrastinator, and whenever he’s asked to do something, responds with “Just give me a minute,” or “Just let me finish this.” He never manages to do what he was asked to do, to begin with.
He also treats me like I’m his equal, even though I’m three years younger. Often he joins me in playing video games and loses repeatedly. It doesn’t matter to him, though. Whenever he asks to play, and I point out how easily I win, he says “I like a challenge.” And that he does. He’ll do anything he’s challenged to do, no matter how outrageous or how much trouble it will get him in.
Therefore, he gives off a “Bad boy” image that makes all the girls his age cling to him like he actually gives them a second thought. Zack isn’t into girls, though. I don’t know how I figured out, or when. I don’t even know if Mom and Dad know. I think they must, but they don’t give any indication that they know.
Someday, though it’ll come out. Secrets never stay secret for long when you’re the most popular boy in the school.
Shreya Sharath, 11
Many people have this fear about being the new student in the class, but this girl walked with her head held up high. Her name was Penolope Fiddlesticks, a strange girl if you ask me. She always wore the craziest clothes everyday. Today she wore a shocking pink shirt with lime green polka dots, and big, baggy, blue pants with red stripes. Whenever she was happy she would say, “Hallelujah,” in the weirdest way possible. Her hair was always in a loose ponytail, and she always wore a headband with feathers of all colors sticking out. Her earrings were long and red while her shoes were black sneakers. All the kids steered clear of her because of her abnormal personality, but in my opinion, she was just like any other kid. She would play at recess, ride her bike (which was super colorful), read, ride the bus, and play on Roblox. Maybe she looked different, but she wasn’t abnormal.