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Developing a Character

Updated: May 24, 2018

I like to flesh out my characters when they are proving hard to reach. It's funny how they develop in ways I never dreamt of when I started writing. Take Sarah for instance...

Sarah is lost in the woods with a deer
Sarah and a deer in the woods

Sarah eats out

Sarah is having a meal with her boss – it is the final part of her performance management. They are sitting outside the Kensington Kitchens in the late afternoon. 

Boss: Don’t you like your risotto Sarah?

Sarah: It’s fine Dom. I’m just not that hungry you know. Your pie looks good.

Boss: Yes, excellent! I know I can rely on this restaurant for good, consistently good food. Consistently high standards are very important – don’t you think Sarah?

Sarah: Yes, absolutely. I’m really, really keen on having high standards in my work all the time. Really.

There is a pause – the boss looks at her

Sarah: As you know I spent loads of time ensuring the Space’n’Time exhibition was as exciting and brilliant and well presented as possible.

Another pause

Sarah: And I think it really worked with the kids. Lots of the teachers said they thought it helped them understand the space-time continuum better…

Boss: Yes Sarah, your work on that project was very good – but that was nine months ago. I’m a little concerned about what’s happened since. And where we go from here.

Sarah: Well, I was working on the Dark Side of the Moon project with Jez, but then it was cancelled… and the Space Station Uranus project would have been ready last month, but Mark left. The Rings of Saturn exhibition is going to be ready soon. I’m working hard on it!

Boss: Hmm. I know you’ve tried hard Sarah. But the truth is that you need to be a team player to work here, to get these exhibitions on and the visitors in. Consistently.

Sarah: I work really hard Dom and I am a team player. It’s not fair to blame me for all of this. I put a massive amount into my work. Always.

Boss: Sarah, no one’s saying you don’t work hard. But you haven’t always communicated that well – and I think that needs to change.

Don’t look so worried.

You’ve had a difficult year at home and here, and I think you could do with a new start.

That’s why I’m suggesting a move…. Somewhere less stressful. South Devon. It’s a new, small planetarium, but I want you to be in at the beginning.

So, what do you think?

Sarah: I can’t believe you’re doing this to me after 5 years. You’re just letting me go – just like that. Well, don’t you worry about me. I’ll go. Right now. 

Boss: Sarah, don’t get upset. Listen.

Sarah: I’ve done with listening. I’m out of here. Goodbye.

Sarah grabs her coat and storms off. Then returns to pick up her bag.

Boss: Just take some time to think…. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Hey, this is an opportunity, not the sack!

Sarah rushes off clearly upset. A loud sob is heard just before she turns the corner.

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