I’m not easily distrac … ooh, SHINY thing …

Dinner Date

Authors, critics and experts on writing have identified various models for the creation of characters. One particular model offers four ways to create a character: purely from the imagination (the “ideal” character); by the author basing the character on themselves; by the author basing the character on someone they know (or have observed); or by a mixture of the above three methods.  The purpose of this short piece is to introduce a new character who has been created using one of the above methods.  In my case, this is a mixed character, but based on a number of people I have known.

Louise stepped out of the shower and grabbed a clean towel from the rail. She placed it over her head and began to dry her long dark hair as she walked through to the bedroom. Her hair had always been one of her most striking features and even now, as she entered her fifth decade, it was still rich, full and long enough to reach her waist. Of course, the deep, almost raven black colour was now streaked with the occasional stripe of silver but the overall effect was even more eye-catching than the long dark mane of her youth. Not that she thought of it in those terms. She had never been afflicted with the curse of vanity and was happy to grow old gracefully, taking the years as they came. Secure in her knowledge of who she was and what she wished from life, she had no need for insecurities or self-deceptions.

The bedroom was warm and she stood in front of a full-length mirror for several minutes. Taller than average, her figure was slim but with pleasing curves at her breasts and hips. Had she put on a little weight? Perhaps, but her stomach was still smooth and, with her long, smoothly shaped legs, the overall impression was one of lithe suppleness. Slowly, she checked her breasts, searching with her fingers for any tell-tale difference in shape or texture. This had been a habit ever since her mother had succumbed to breast cancer fourteen years ago. If the same thing was going to happen to her, she was going to catch it early and stop it in its tracks. So she checked carefully at least once a month. Satisfied that nothing seemed to be out of place, she turned from the mirror and began to dress for the evening.

Less than an hour later, she was taking her place at the conference table. Scanning the room, she saw familiar faces from her own department mingling with delegates drawn from organisations all over the world. She closed her eyes and listened to the background hum of a hundred polite conversations. In some ways, these events were tedious in the extreme, but they were also a place where she could come alive and really be her purest, clearest self.

She was still pondering that little puzzle when everyone began to take their seats and the small radio receiver tucked away inside her left ear crackled into life.

“OK everyone, it’s show-time. Stay alert.”

Settling back into her seat and offering her most enigmatic smile to the handsome young man on her left, Louise quietly hoped that this would prove to be an eventful night for all the right reasons.

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  1. OK brilliant opening, when do we get the rest. Love the build up here and a great start. Definitely want to learn more about this character…

    • This was an interesting exercise because I knew how I wanted to create the character, but I didn’t know what I was going to do with her until I got to the end. I was so wrapped up in taking bits and pieces of different people and trying to put them together into some kind of coherent whole that it was only towards that end that I thought “Hang on? What’s actually going to happen!?”

      All I have to do now is work out what happens next. (And why and who and how and…)


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