First there was a Man. Then a Woman. Then in quick succession, two cats, a confused dog beast, and two kids. I stay at home with them. I'm the Man

Friday, February 5, 2010

Character as Desire/ Sheila and Paulie

I need to learn how to write a story by tomorrow.  I've got something due by sunday at the latest and I don't really know what I'm doing.  Also, I hate homework. My wife offered to help and I accepted because she is an English teacher and an excellent writer.  And my wife.  She has given me a writing exercise called Character as desire.  The story I wrote follows.  The exercise will be at the bottom of the post for those who want to try it.  We almost had a fight over this because I didn't want to do it right away because it felt like homework.


Sheila and Paulie

"Hey Paulie,"  Sheila the Giant Clam said to the sperm whale drifting by, letting the current carry him.

"Where're you going ?"

"Huh? "Oh, I have to go to choir practice."  Said Paulie.

"That sounds awesome."  said Sheila

"Eh," said Paulie.  " I'd rather be doing above water jumps or giant tail splashes with my friends."

"Well, that sounds fun too" said Sheila as she shifted minutely on her sand pile, "but I love listening to whale choir practice.  The songs you sing are so beautiful. And you have an amazing voice, Paulie, I've heard it."

"Yeah, well thanks, I guess.  I mean most whales are pretty good singers.  It's nothing special.  I'd rather burst out of the water near passing ships and get my picture taken." Said Paulie.

"But, Paulie, the whole ocean loves the songs of the whales.  Even humans think they're beautiful." said Shiela.

"Huh?"  said Paulie, twisting his giant body back to face Sheila. "Oh yeah, look I gotta go Sheila.  I'm pretty sure I just saw the bottom of a cruise ship go by.  If you see the choir master, we never talked!'  Said Paulie as he swam off.

"Paulie, don't skip choir practice.  Paulie you have a gift . . . Goddammit Paulie, you ungrateful . . . I'm telling your choir master everything, you little prick!"  Sheila screamed after him.

She started opening and closing her shell, propelling herself from her sand pile.  "Fuck!"  She said through gritted shell.  It would take her forever to get to the chorus hall.  "Fucking ungrateful whale punks."  She muttered as she settled back into the sand.  "First adult whale that comes by, I am ratting his punk ass out,"  she thought to herself.   The quiet of the sea enveloped her as she sat, and sucked in algae, and fumed.

The End,

Character as desire writing exercise:

Write 5 sentences like this:

My character is a _____ ___ year old ______ who wants _____

Examples:  My character is a blue 6 year old monster who wants cookies.  Or:

My character is an angry 72 year old mexican man who wants power.

Then pick the one you find most compelling.

The actual character sketch I used was:

My character is a beautiful 25 year old sea clam who wants to sing.

Try not to do something like: My character is a mild 38 year old white man who wants a sandwich, because who cares?

Then write down these emotions in list form


This is what I wrote for mine.

Laugh- My character laughs at seal pups playing.  
Angry- My character feels angry when whales take their ability to sing for granted
Afraid- My character feels afraid when she sees a giant with an enormous tub of tartar sauce
Lonely- My character feels lonely when she realizes no one knows about her dream to sing
Tender- My character feels tender towards other artistic mollusks with no outlet.

Then write a story based on one of the above emotions.

Good Luck.


  1. Yep, that sounded like homework. Whatever it is that you are working on, it will be great. :)

  2. That was an excellent exercise; and the story you wrote is cute. (But I've got to say I like the Dr. Seuss piece more! lol)

  3. Emmmm, Good Luck with your homework! Sorry, my brain just isn't working too well today!

  4. Ha, too funny. Hope your story goes well!

  5. Oh, so that's how Tolstoy managed to write War and Peace. I had always wondered about that.

  6. I think your character seems tender when steamed for a while and then basted in a buttery sauce.

    Now I'm hungry, dammit.

  7. fricken sperm whales....bad lots all of em.

  8. Dude! Where's your Knucklehead post from this week? :(


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