Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Character Description/Gentleman's Agreement

Mark Richard has an incredible way of creating a loaded character description, without stopping to take a breath- I read the following passage and was inspired by the intense tonality that would not pause for a moment- in hopes to truly illustrate the intensity of this character.

"His father in his dirty, roughened-up denim, of all days to come home, mud and ash, machete on the hip and the snake pistol, timber boots laced with wire that wouldn't burn, the blackened shanks of ankles, the boot soles cracked by heat and desperate shoveling, his father footprinting crazy mazes of topography across the clean wooden floors."

My imitation of this tonality/style:

"Her sister in her visionary, transparent white blouse, of all the days to come home, powdered and porcelain, skinny belt hugging her waist, mini skirt lined with lace that cannot rise, the perfectly shaped face, shining from the reflection of her sweet summer sweat, her sister floats by me, leaving patterns of seductive scents all over my body."

Ok, so I took a shot at this...and it was hard! Not exactly on, but I am liking this approach - a sort of run on character description that brings the intensity with the notion of no periods. I am focusing on character development right now in my personal writing, and I enjoyed Richard's piece in that his style truly emphasizes this.


  1. Andi

    Your take on Gentlemen's Agreement was inspiring. It was helpful to give a quote from the story to help me remember the story. Your rendition mirrors what Mark Richard's intendid to portray. "her sister floats by me, leaving patterns of seductive scents all over my body" This here is a powerful line and has the feeling of what Richard's was creating.

    Jason Yelland

  2. I agree with the previous comment. You took on a challenging task and, in my opinion, accomplished what you were trying to do. I particularly enjoyed the juxtaposition of the original (dirty father) with the new (ravishing sister)

  3. That was also one of the things I too noticed and really liked in the short story, Richard's use of long, continuously and overtly descriptive lines.His descriptions seem to go on forever and I agree with you that it does create a feeling of tensity in the character. I also liked your piece and using Richard's super one line descriptions really work in you piece to capture how the sister leaves one in a trance and breathless until the end when she leaves.

  4. I liked your response a lot, especially the line how her skirt "cannot rise". I felt like the original description told us something about the characters intention and purpose, yours seems to incorporate more about the narrator as well.

  5. It's true that this particular author has a way with character description. the quotes you chose made it easy to understand why this was one of the greatest things you recognized in his piece.


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