Your main character is at a party with a hundred people. What does he or she do?
Practice characterization through action for fifteen minutes.
Here’s my take on this exercise:
I take a sip out of the paper cup in my hand. The spiked punch is tasteless. It’s like drinking water with just a different color. I check my watch. Twenty minutes. That’s how long I’ve been standing in the same spot. I’m the only constant in a party that never stops moving. Bodies bump into me and voices pass through me. In front of me, the band finishes their third song with an amazing guitar solo. Everyone applauds and shouts and cheers—some with their cups raised high, some with fists up in the air, while some have their eyes closed as they try to “feel” the music. I remain standing with my cup of colored water in hand. The vocalist announces to everyone that they’ll just be taking a short break. Everyone cheers again. From the periphery of my vision I see someone walking towards me.
“I just had an eargasm,” March says. He has his shades on, like always, even though the field is clad in darkness. “Did you hear how Duke played the guitar on the last part?” He asks me with a wide grin on his face. “A-mey-zing.”
What kind of question is that? I think to myself. Of course I heard it. EVERYONE heard it. Instead of putting my thought into words though, I just answer him with a nod. Then I take another sip of my water / punch.
“Come on, admit it, you’re glad I forced you to come,” March tells me.
“I’m glad March,” I answer him with a flat tone, “reeeaally glad.”
March laughs. “See? I told you you’d enjoy this part! It’s the biggest party of the year! Why wouldn’t you enjoy it?” March says.
Aside from him missing the sarcasm in my voice, March is right. This is the biggest event of the year. December has a gift when it comes to throwing parties. Every party she throws becomes the biggest party of the year. But this party is different. This party puts to shame all the previous parties she had done. Let’s do a checklist shall we?
- The Poets R’ Us, arguably the best band in existence today. Check.
- Party attended by the most popular in Calendar High? Check.
- A seemingly unlimited supply of booze? Check.
- A party…
“Hey June! Are you listening man?” March asks. He gives a sigh. “You just blanked out again didn’t you?”
“No I didn’t,” I answer him.
“Yeah? What was I telling you then?” He asks with a smile.
I look at him and I see his shades are raised. Girls. I look at the crowd and I see three girls by the makeshift bar. One of them is subtly looking at our position. “You’re telling me about them.” I tell March.
March looks at the girls. The subtly-looking-at-us girl sharply looks away. March looks back at me with his trademark grin. “She’s totally into me,” March tells me.
“Yep, totally into you,” I answer him nonchalantly. I try taking another sip from the cup only to find that it’s already empty. I crumple it in my hand and drop it on the dark, wet grass.