Create Believable Characters - Holiday Exercise

Creating Believable Scenes and Characters:  Develop a scene and situation from the holiday picture - (Another “Engage the Reader” Exercise)

The sooner you can engage (involve) a reader into your story, the more they will like it. Whether you use the senses, the scene, the characters, or a combination of all three, something needs to draw the reader in so he/she want to turn the page.

Christmas Morning

The ceiling and walls glow with red, green and white shadows. Paula and Chase look over the loft railing at the Christmas tree below. The smell of fresh pine lingers in the air.

“It’s beautiful,” Paula whispered.

“Shish,” is Chase’s response.

Paula jabs her elbow into his ribs. “Shish yourself.”

“You do that one more time and you’re in big trouble.”

“You touch me and I’ll tell mom.” Paula ends the discussion by sticking out her tongue.

Chase just shakes his head. “What tine do you think it is?”

“I don’t know, but it’s still dark outside.”

Chase points at the mantle. “Look, there’s only one cookie left. Santa must have already been here.”

Paula starts clapping, so Chase grabs her hands. “Jeez. You just wanna wake up mom and dad.”

They both turn back to the railing and study each gift under the tree. “I bet that is my Erector Set.” Chase points at a large package in the right corner of the room.

“Nah-uh, that’s my Easy Bake Oven.”

“Well, I’m gonna go find out.” Chase starts down the steps.

“Wait for me,” Paula whispers as she grabs Chase’s hand and falls in line behind him.

When they reach the bottom of the stairs, Paula’s eyes glow brighter than the tree’s lights. “Look at all the presents.”

Chase puts his finger up to his lips. “Shish. If you can’t keep quiet, just go back to bed.” He reaches up and grabs the last cookie. He looks at the cookie and then at Paula before breaking it in half. He hands her half the cookie and stuffs the other half in his mouth.

“Gross.” But after she takes a bite, she smiles. “It’s good. Thank you for sharing.”

Chase licks his fingers and then squats down. He crawls forward on his hands and knees, carefully navigating his way through the dozens of gifts while eyeballing each one. “Clothes–shoes–yuk, more clothes.” When he arrives at the large package in the back, he flips open the tag and mumbles, “To Paula – From Santa.”

“Told you so.” Paula grins then sticks out her tongue.

Chase searches through the packages to his left and right, but none are his gifts. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a large package sitting upright next to the fireplace. He slips under the tree branches and comes up on the other side. Reaching out, he flips open the tag and reads. “To Chase – From Santa.”

He lifts the box and finds it heavier than expected. Gently shaking it, he hears a cacophony of tings and chings. “Yes. It has to be the Erector Set.” With practiced precision, he slides his fingernail along the edge of the package separating the tape from the wrapping paper.

Chase flips the end flap up, but before he can look inside he hears, “Just what do you think you’re doing?”

Dropping the gift, Chase peers around the edge of the fireplace and sees mom and dad standing in the kitchen with their hands on their hips. "Oh-oh." He then notices the smirks on their faces. "Whew."

Paula knows they are probably in trouble and she panics. She recovers quickly, however, and bursts into tears as she runs into her mother’s waiting arms. After a moment, she looks up into her dad’s eyes. “I told him not to do it, but he just wouldn’t listen.”