EXERCISE (NARRATIVE VOICE)
photograph from the file of "solitary characters." (If you don't want
to do photos, just skip directly down to Variation 4, below.) Any
magazine photograph of one person will do. It usually helps if the
person is looking in the direction of the camera, but this is not
essential. Gaze at the photograph, and begin writing what it is the
person/photo subject wants to say. Write from the mouth of the photo
subject, whatever needs to be said, without thinking of a story,
without organizing the narration in advance to be certain it makes
sense. Just write and become the voice of the photo subject. After ten
minutes, stop, unless you're cooking along, in which case, don't stop.
Let it run as long as you keep the energy.
[Try each of
variations 1 through 3, and go with the one that works best for you.]
Variation 1: Now
that you know the photo subject, have him/her narrate the episode that
was happening at or immediately prior to the taking of the photograph.
Have the photo subject recount a recent sad or happy or touching story
about someone dear to him/her.
Have the photo subject recount a touching episode from a long long time
ago. (If the subject is an adult, you can go back as far as you want
to. If the subject happens to be a child, six months ago can be a long
long time ago.)
Forget the photograph. Try variations 1 through 3 without one. Come up
with a character in your mind. You might base the character upon your
memory of a real person you know or have known. It might be a person
you have encountered but never met. It might even be a character or an
actor from the cinema or from television. You might create your
character out of an amalgam of people.