I find it difficult to construct a character on a whim – it’s significantly easier to base them on somebody, whether that’s someone you know or a complete stranger. I wrote these character sketches while riding public transport (in 2013). People are sitting ducks for your creativity, all you have to do is sketch them with words to get your thoughts moving.
1. Faded brown lace-up shoes, a leather jacket wrapped snugly around his shoulders and under that, a navy blue button-up shirt. He carried a sturdy looking brown bag over one shoulder and held a fresh copy of Treasure Island in his other hand. A sticker on its cover read “buy two get one free”. I wondered what other two books had struck his fancy.
2. Her hair was dark and shortly cropped. She stared at the floor, her chin angled down, to hide her tired expression. Earbuds were wedged into her ears, though if music was playing she showed no outward enthusiasm about it. The way she sat was delicate, her legs crossed and her back straight, one arm resting on a bulky bag shoved up against her side. She stared out through the dirty glass of the train window, her eyes flickering with the images outside as the train rushed past them, her thoughts elsewhere.
3. Her face was angular, almost angelic. Her hair fell in a cascade down her back, swaying along with her skirts as she moved. She walked with a graceful, practiced ease, the bracelets around her wrists jingling lightly like the soft chime of bells on a cat’s collar. Her skin was smooth and flawless, her eyes dark but soft in their gaze.