The idea behind this task is to use a character from a literary text that you have read this year and use him, or her, as an inspiration for a piece of your own writing. But the first question can sometimes, be the question that ends this task. You end up befuddled.

Let me explain what I mean.

Imagine for a moment: you have read Woman in Black, by Susan Hill [you may have, if you have been searching this site] and you think to yourself that there is only one main character, Arthur Kipps. He is such a dour character. He seems to be so dry at times, so unable to think for himself. He is, in a word, boring! [As an aside, I saw the play the other week and Kipps was nothing like that].

So what do you do with Mr Boring?

In a word, nothing. You opt for someone or something with some life in it. Mr Sam Daly? The solicitor? Kipps’ boss? Or Spider, the dog [yes, the dog]? All except one will be difficult to do, apart from the dog, but then you are sorely tempted to wander off into what I might call a “silly language” style of writing. Do not do it! Do not go there! You will most likely get a U grade.

Instead, think wider. Think about something or someone you have read. You may have read some poetry this year. You may have read the poem called The Clown Punk, by Simon Armitage. If that is the case, there are three characters there who you could choose. There is the driver [Armitage himself] or his daughter in the back of the car, or the Punk himself.

You may have read the poem called The Horse Whisperer. There are two types of character there to choose from. There is the man with the skill and then there is the sort of person who is bigoted and does not wish to allow such ‘witchcraft’ to exist in the world any more. You could get some really interesting ideas from that.

So, you then make your choice. You have it sorted in your head. But what next?

In yet another word, planning.

Planning is vital for this to work. Using a diagram, you need to think of all the possible things that person might say. Then you can begin work. Imagine for example, you did this on the Clown Punk. You may just do this like you see below:

  1. People call me names
  2. They have no idea who I am
  3. My story is a different one
  4. I am a clown, yes. But…
  5. I have many faces as a clown
  6. These faces make me who I am
  7. I am a denied father
  8. I am a long lost son
  9. I am damaged goods
  10. I cannot keep a relationship
  11. My childhood was an abusive one
  12. I gave as good as I got
  13. I went into care

Just a few ideas for you. They took me 90 seconds to write down…. Free thinking. If each was one paragraph of a half a page, there would be 6 pages [far too much!] of writing.

Imagine then you rearrange them to make your account, from the point of view of the Punk himself and you get a thought provoking commentary on life in the modern age, a piece of writing that criticizes the social care system, the education system, the way we deny fathers their rights as parents, and so on. All these things can find their way into your piece of work.

So, with all that in mind, go on…. Have a go at one. Have a go at this one if you like. But above all, there is one thing I can say and it is this; enjoy the process.