I've been thinking about great characters, and what small details authors use to bring them to life. So, during my yoga class this week, I paid close attention to the differences in the way each person grows in their practice.
This is what I found:
This is what I found:
- The older woman next to me had to keep leaving to get fresh air. She was flushed, but not breathing too heavy.
- The younger woman in the front kept a beautiful smile on her face through the whole hour and a half class.
- The older man to her left had yellowed-cracked feet, and grunted loudly each time we changed postures.
- Two young men, looking muscular and strong, could not hold the poses and seemed disappointed in themselves - or competitive with each other.
- The man behind me kept making horse-sounding breathing sounds - I found it very annoying and odd.
- The woman in the far back left during our relaxation poses - disrupting the class with the bang of the door.
- The rest of the room faded away - and those characters were barely noticeable.
After reading through this list of characters, which one would you like to talk to? Which one would you like to know more about?
I chose the horse-sounding guy. I mean, what is that? Why does he breath like that? Is this some sort of new animal yoga? I'm intrigued. He's a true character, right?
During a power yoga class once, there was this yogi that kept going upside-down. The rest of the class followed the teacher, but she did her own thing. She did headstands, back bends, dolphin - while we were in warriors and triangles. She mesmerized me. I mean, why was she doing this? Was it to show off? She was pretty amazing. Or did she just want the warmth of the room to practice her own style in? She was a character. I wanted to know more about her. Don't you?
So the next time you are in a yoga class, pay attention to the yogis around you. Who is the main character in the room? If you can't find one, maybe it's you. (smile)
Exercise: Things to notice for good character building:
- breathing sounds: odd? fast? deep? croaky? raspy?
- clothes: interesting yoga gear? shorts? pants?
- mats: what type of mat is the yogi on? old? new? thick? thin? bright? dark? dirty? clean?
- jewelry: does the yogi wear bracelets? earrings? nothing? a watch?
- feet: good shape? nails painted? chipped? cracked feet? band aides?
- accessories: does the yogi need things like towels? water bottles? eye covers? yogi toes? double mats?
- props: sandbags? belts? blocks? blankets?
- poses: do they hold the poses? do they fall over? are they trying or just relaxing? arms straight? legs? Straining or enjoying?
And if you are a writer, not practicing yoga, I suggest you sign up for your first yoga class today! Not only will you find some great characters, you'll get the much needed stretches for your writer's body. You know who you are, hunching over that keyboard. Get up and move!