Ian explained that this exercise was all about improvisation and that the essence of any good story was good, believable characters.
Members would be given 10 minutes to create a believable character. This should not be just a physical description but also contain background info including any mindset etc. Because of the timescale the description would be basic but that over the coming weeks could be "layered". Whatever was written should be retained as this would be used in further workshops.
These exercises had been used previously in OU Creative Writing Courses.
The following is a "flavour" of what the members created.
Gerry A New York policeman who doesn't play by the rules yet is extremely loyal to his friends.
John E Frank & Jim, 2 single brothers who are farmers.
Rob An ex-university male, single, flashy dresser who is a wheeler/dealer.
Alan G George who is an ex military man now retired and living in a forest with his family.
Heinke "The Inspector" who is an astronaut come to inspect the bubble unit where Raffe lives
Jenny "Leeanne"- a young girl of Irish/Italian parentage.
Christina "James" who is a man's man as well as a charmer but who also has a darker side.
Judy "Oscar"- a single,eccentric , almost theatrical person who lives with his two cats.A
Anne G A deaf CID Inspector who has a jaundiced look on life. Nicknamed "Charlie Chan".
Avril "Max"- a self-adoring body builder.
Betty "Zak" who now lives on the Isle of Wight and is a Polish refugee from World War II.
Anne B A male tramp who is ex army but now an alcoholic/drug addict and lives in cardboard city.
Chris "Gladys"- a 5ft 5ins woman who appears as mutton dressed as lamb.
Anne F "Cecil"- a dapper little man, religious funeral director and failed thespian.
John M "Ray" is an ex rugby player with demanding personality and a passion for gardening.
Brenda "Annie Bailey " a young girl born in the 19th century.
Alan W A retired army officer whose family and others around him are a complete mystery to him.
Douglas "Herbert" - a small chirpy lorry driver, light fingered and not keen on authority.
Cynthia A loud- mouthed ex Merchant Navy man called Billy who is a rough diamond.
Mary M "Maura", a young catholic girl who is resentful of the nuns who raised her.
Jayne "Audrey", a 46 year old spinster living with her mother and who loves the local vicar.
Tommy "Carmen", a 13 year old Spanish girl who is a loner as well as being lonely.
Kathy "Elizabeth Boyes" born in 1825 one of 10 children but is unlike any of her siblings.
Margaret "Trevor", an over sentimental character who once met will never be forgotten.
Ian "George", a retired bricklayer, now widowed, who lives for his grandson.
As you can see there is a wide variety of characters with plenty of scope for development.
Ian ( Chair)