Friday, 25 September 2015

Character Profile: Smudge

After watching the recently released Aussie movie, The Last Cab to Darwin, I developed an idea for a character to feature in a new story. 

The story would have two requirements.
  • It would be Australian with a rural character as the lead, a man who struggling to achieve an impossible goal.
  • His life is turned upside down when a woman leaves town and dumps Charlie, her 11 year old daughter with him for a few days. Charlie becomes his ward.
Flying to Darwin last week I made a few notes about Silas. It is from those notes I now have a picture of who he is and how he sees himself.

Here are those notes.

Smudge owns a business across from the pub. Not a drinker himself, he knows what goes on over the road and is glad not to be part of it. He lives in a loft above the old showroom and is often in bed when the last patrons leave. Married in his early twenties his wife left years ago, she had hoped for more, but Smudge loved the town and its people. She wanted bright lights and shiny things, he couldn't afford.
     Years of battling the bank and chasing debtors has left him jaded with the system, but he races cars to take his mind off things. Psycho is his V8 powered, open wheel, dirt circuit race car and he loves it. The thrill of racing satisfies most of his desire, but not enough to scratch the itch of proper tin top circuit racing and he dreams of racing at Mt Panorama, Bathurst. A chance encounter with a race team offers an opportunity to see an event live and he is hooked.

Over the past few months I have wondered about how to write a screen play and for this book I have only written dialogue. I can complete the description later and until then I'll explore the techniques used to write screenplays.

Let me introduce Smudge, I think you'll like him.

NAME:                                               : SMUDGE         Silas Mudge
Position in story:                                 :  Main CHaracter

Socioeconomic level as a child:
Socioeconomic level as an adult:
Mechanic Owns his own business
Current residence:
Mezzanine above the workshop
Can do anything
Magician with mechanical devices
What’s in the till

Birth order:
Only child
Siblings (describe relationship):

Spouse/partner (describe relationship):
Wife: (Ruby Staynes)  - left 23 years ago took what she could. Divorced and disappeared
Children (describe relationship):
Parents (describe relationship):
Grandparents (describe relationship):
Grandchildren (describe relationship):
Significant others (describe relationship):
Relationship skills:
Excellent, but won’t suffer fools
Physical Characteristics

187 cm
Eye Color:
Hair Color:
Greying from red, salt & pepper beard when not shaving.
Glasses or contact lenses?
Glasses to read
Skin color:
Freckled & tanned (leathery)
Shape of face:
Narrow, spruces up quite well
Distinguishing features:
Killer grin
How does he/she dress?
Combination overalls with a rag hanging from the hip pocket
Always twitching and looking around.
Habits: (smoking, drinking/drugs/addictions etc.)
No, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke after his dad threatened to beat him for smoking when he was a kid.
Any physical illnesses?
Loves cars and racing
Favourite sayings:
Speech patterns:
Nothing discerning
Style (Elegant, shabby etc.):
Shabby but can clean up hasn’t bought  new going out clothes since his wife left. Wardrobe clean but old fashioned.
Greatest flaw:
Best quality:
Personality Attributes and Attitudes

Educational Background:
Year 12 and then trade school
Intelligence Level:
Any Mental Illnesses?
Learning Experiences:
Life, parents died wife walked out and bank threatened to foreclose. Normal for a bush mechanic.
Character's short-term goals in life:
Character's long-term goals in life:
Be happy
How does Character see himself/herself?
Confident a bit maudlin at times keeps busy to forget past dramas
How does Character believe he/she is perceived by others?
Honest good at what he does, committed to the job the town and its people
How self-confident is the character?
Has some doubts but keeps them hidden.
Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof?
No, makes all decisions with thought. Constantly runs through different scenarios in his mind.
What would most embarrass this character
Being naked in public
Spiritual Characteristics

Unsure about an afterlife ready to accept death if and when it comes
Does the character believe in God?
Not sure
What are the character's spiritual beliefs?
Cannot comprehend an afterlife
Is religion or spirituality a part of this character's life?
His town is his spirituality, his tribe.
If so, what role does it play?
Keeps his belief system to himself.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Toby Farrier another rewrite.

I am editing my manuscript for TOBY FARRIER and as the words are beginning to run together. I thought I would share a passage from late in the book where Toby is keeping his promise to a dying man. I look forward to hearing what you think.

Toby wanted to say something. He’d seen priests deliver the last rights in movies, and could almost remember the words, but he would feel a fake if he said them. A prayer for Larry needed to be something more original. He lifted Larry’s hand and clasped between his.
Using his legs he dragged the chair closer, rested his elbows on the bed and thought about what he needed to say. Sure he could say the words in his mind, but that wouldn’t be a real prayer. No, he would say them aloud, and if others could hear, then maybe Larry’s God would too.

‘Dear Heavenly Father.’ No that sounds too corporate and, Larry was by no means that he thought.
Toby started again. ‘God if you can hear me, I’m praying for my friend Larry, I don’t know much about him Lord, but I’m sure you’ll have a record of his life up there somewhere. Well, I’m asking you to overlook any of the bad stuff Larry may have done, and to tote up his list of good stuff, please. I only met him yesterday and yet he showed me how to offer compassion to a stranger. I never fully understood that before.
When he asked me to hold Jock’s hand yesterday, I didn’t think I could do it. Right then, he taught me how to value the knowledge of a life well lived. Larry gave me that opportunity and I’m stronger because of it.
Even when his lungs were filling with fluid, he would con someone to take him out for a smoke, seeing the way he did that, I now understand the power of persuasive negotiation.
Larry showed me, that by taking a cigarette to his lips in his last days, that no matter how weak you feel, you can stand against popular opinion. I’m not saying I wish to smoke, I don’t, but. Larry cared about people, not their opinion of him. He knew exactly who he was and his body art defined him. He was proud of who he was.
Most of all Lord, I understand from teachings and what I’ve read, that you are a caring and forgiving God. In one day, Larry taught me to put others first. He has shown me that you go out of life with nothing. I learned that when he gave his ring to me. You see, Lord he couldn’t be sure I’d come back, but he wanted to give it to me anyway. So he showed me the value of faith. By asking me to sit here with him, Lord he’s taught me the value of trust and through my prayer, humility.’
Lord, Larry’s had enough trouble in his life. I’ve seen this in his drawings they show enough pain and conflict to fill the MCG. I don’t know if he has any family. Even if he does, he chose me for this, and I am humble.
Lord I’m asking you to take this ragged, painted angel, my friend Lizard into your arms and treasure him as a gift. When you receive his soul, thank him for me. I will never forget him.’
Toby paused and while he waited, his eyes moistened and he wanted to wipe them, but resisted, he still held Larry’s hand.