In my last post I started an exercise of coming up with characters based on a description of wearing a trench coat and a cowboy hat. I’m continuing it here.
The spotlight suddenly illuminated a figure wearing a trench coat and spiked heels, her back to the audience. As she turned around the cowboy hat kept her down-turned face in shadow. The noise level in the bar dropped a bit as more of the patrons turned their attention to the stage. And then she started moving, and the fluidity of her dance hinted at the body hidden by the coat and suggested that she was way better than this cheesy club.
A dancer in a club.
The straw cowboy hat on her head was frayed around the edges and had a small tear at the peak, as if it had seen too many rodeos, been knocked off and picked up too many times, and was ready to be replaced. Nevertheless she held it on against the biting wind, her other hand holding closed the lapels of her trench coat as made her way across the yard to the paddock where the herd was standing. Every horse was facing her and away from the November wind.
A rancher. I’ve got one more this morning.
It was like a scene from a cop show, one of those scenes that you never see in real life, or if you see it you never pay attention because it clashes with your middle class, suburban existence. A wide alley between commercial buildings lined with dumpsters, with people wandering from one to another, checking each one out and occasionally adding a find to their meager collection of possessions.
The smell in the alley was at odds with the bright June day, but it only got worse as I approached my target, a man wearing a battered trench coat over several other layers of clothing in spite of the warm sunshine. His hat kept falling off every time he looked into a dumpster, so he was constantly picking it up and replacing it on his head. It was clearly too big for him, but that proud Stetson was a part of his identity. It was also how I knew he was the one. The rest of his outfit was molded to his body, as if he’d been wearing it since last September. Which, considering the smell, was probably the case.
A homeless guy.
This exercise has revealed something to me – I think visually. The seeds that character generator I posted about earlier are harder for me to flesh out because I don’t get as strong a visual impression from them. Clearly something I need to work on.
I hope you enjoy my quick character sketches. Feel free to include your own in the comments (hint! hint!).