Character Sketch & Whatnot

Since being on the new medication, I’ve found my fervent muse. It was lurking in the murkiness of my mind waiting for my body to give it the ratification to leave its sanctum. My gut is actually and truly behaving itself these days. It’s such a change for me. For months upon months, I was having to gauge my life by hours and sometimes by minutes all because of my digestive system. The feeling of freedom is astounding.

Below is my attempt at a character sketch of the protagonist of a new project idea I’ve had rolling around in my head for over a year. I welcome all questions and opinions you may have.

Marla Callahan

I met Marla long ago. I was new in town and she was one of the first people to talk to me. It’s weird how people can become friends while doing the weekly grocery shopping. Intrigued by her amenity and simplicity from the beginning, it didn’t take long for me to want to be her friend. I’m not enticed easily either. Before moving to Spring Hill, I rarely talked to anyone in public. I find most people I come across as being self-serving, boring, and trite. Marla, however, seemed to be above all that rubbish. She provided a practical perspective about life in its entirety. If she had a question, she’d express it in lucid terms and expected an answer. She was refreshing compared to what I was used to.

Her hair was what I considered dishwater blonde that she usually wore in a sloppy bun at the back of her head. In fact, the only time I saw her wear it in any other way was when we were at her parents’ house, one of the many season holidays. She wore it clipped in the back with a barrette and hair fell down her back. There were only two times during the vastness I knew her when she wasn’t in jeans with a pitiful t-shirt. At the parents’, she wore jersey pants with a brushed cotton top. The other time was at her older daughter’s wedding. She looked cumbersome in the green patterned ensemble of a rayon dress with a jacket.

Marla’s eyes were an azure blue, way too dark to be considered clear blue. When her temper flared, which seemed to be often, they almost looked black. Her husband, Lucas said he never would have married her if he had known about her surliness. It just didn’t show up until she was released from the army due to pregnancy two years after their matrimony. Even at that time, she could usually keep it hidden, only letting it loose when she was alone.

How was I supposed to know that she’d transform into someone who could be so deranged, so unhinged? It was as if someone had pulled on a string that turned off the light of reality in her.

She insisted on everyone knowing she was five feet and six and a half inches tall. The half-inch had to be included because five-foot-six was average and she wanted to be sure everyone knew she was not ordinary. I can only gather that Lucas thought of this peculiarity as being trivial or even cute. To me, it was obvious, something to scrutinize even before she began to change into the atrocity that ravaged so many lives.

I’m still working on another project that is in the first part of the first draft. [Will I ever get to the middle?] It’s slow going because there are so many segments to the main plot and the protagonist. That’s the way psychological drama is sometimes.

“People who have survived atrocities often tell their stories in a highly emotional, contradictory and fragmented manner.”

Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror

Don’t be afraid to comment on my character sketch. I need the input.


10 thoughts on “Character Sketch & Whatnot

  1. I feel like the narrator. I started out planning to begin this comment with “I think I like Marla” (great name). Now, she scares me a little. My experience (almost ancient history now) with people with hidden tempers, is that it was never all that well hidden. The temper may have been less focused, but I think there would have been signs. Maybe Marla was different.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would add a few more examples of Marla’s behavior and possible more detail on her past – say before the army or during. In a character study you always should include more details than you need for the story. This is a great start, keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, this sketch really isn’t done. The story will include flashbacks to cover most of her life before she left and army. Albeit, a summary of that past should be in the sketch.

      Thank you for your input. It helps me stay motivated. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The insistence about her height is one of the flaws about her that she just can’t seem to hide. Of course, it isn’t her height that’s the flaw. It’s how she feels she must be better than average at all cost that is one of her flaws.


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