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An update from our forty-seventh Writing Workshop

A summary of the workshop held on Saturday September 18, plus some of the output published below

At this writing workshop, we looked at some classic art: grotesques by Leonardo da Vinci and portraits by Vermeer and Rembrandt. With these art pieces in mind, William asked the participants to think about the concept of an outline or sketch for characters, and how we might flesh them out later in the writing process. William emphasized how the choices that authors make in describing characters impact the story as a whole and how the reader understands a character.

The Challenge: Write a description of a character, beginning with an outline of their face. Then you can move on to other physical characteristics or clothing descriptions. Lastly, if you have time, you may build a story around this character.

The Participants: Faiz, Peri, Aditi, Lena D, Nami, Jonathan L, Tilly M, Rachael L, Madeline K, Elbert P, Sierra E, Marissa L, Kate P, Kina S, Liam


Peri Gordon
Peri Gordon, 11
(Sherman Oaks, CA)

Defined by Suffering

by Peri Gordon, 11

What to do with such terrible eyes? They were wide, wet, bloodshot things that stood out even in a crowd of a hundred, and the right one was black and swollen. Below the eyes, the man’s nose, pale and slender, rose from his face, then dipped back down into it only a few centimeters below, unnoticed. The lips were cut up, chapped, and ruined, as the man felt like his heart was. The chin was small and pointed, and the rest of the face was only a bit wider.

Around his shoulders was a tiny cloth, which had once been a large rag, which had once been a ripped coat, which had once been a fine coat. What were once smooth, silken pants had had a similar fate. The man was barefoot and gloveless, and his hands and feet were a deep shade of purple from the punishing cold of winter. His fingernails were reduced to nothing, for the man had bitten them anxiously day after day. A once successful businessman, now injured, rejected, and homeless, he thought about standing up straight but no longer had the will even to accomplish this simple task.

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