Three Ways to Make Your Protagonist More Realistic (and More Lovable)

by The Magic Violinist | 73 comments

The sign of a great character is when you can't believe the character isn't real. Your protagonist should most certainly be just this realistic, especially since she's the star of the show!

The surprising truth is that if you make a character realistic, she'll also be more lovable. People relate to characters with depth and humanity more than an alien robot with no emotion.

Here are three ways to make your protagonist more realistic…

October Tarantula Migration

Photo by goingslo

1. Remember Flaws and Weaknesses

Nobody's perfect, not even Superman. If your protagonist seems like he can do anything, it's not realistic for the readers. Have him lose just enough battles so that when the final showdown comes around, the readers are biting their nails and furiously flipping through pages.

What's your character's Kryptonite? Spiders? Water? Ketchup?

2. Give Your Characters Quirks

Everybody has some silly habits. What does your character do? Maybe she's redundant. Maybe she wears kooky clothes or mismatched socks (I do). Does your character have a funny way of speaking? Does she use made-up words? Make sure you include that in your story.

3. Focus On Hobbies

We all have hobbies, and your character should, too. Does he read or write? Does he play video games? Does your character like to make arts and crafts? You could even turn one of your character's hobbies into a key element in your story. Maybe the fact that your character is the captain of the swim team at his school will come in handy when he has to cross a large lake to reach the treasure chest.

What do you do to help make your character more realistic?

PRACTICE

Choose one of the three tips above and focus on that while writing for fifteen minutes. Show off your character's flaw, hobbies, or quirks in your Practice. Post your Practice in the comments and be sure to give some feedback to your fellow writers, as well. Have fun!

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The Magic Violinist is a young author who writes mostly fantasy stories. She loves to play with her dog and spend time with her family. Oh, and she's homeschooled. You can visit her blog at themagicviolinist.blogspot.com. You can also follow The Magic Violinist on Twitter (@Magic_Violinist).

73 Comments

  1. Dan Erickson

    My character struggles with paranoid fear and writes songs, books, and journals.

    Reply
    • themagicviolinist

      That’s great that you’ve gotten to know your character! 😀

  2. Davidh Digman

    One thing I do is what I have also done (occasionally) to prepare classes for my students; and what I used to do in amateur theatre: I rehearse. I get into a bit of acting, trying to ‘become’ that character. I will sometimes carry on a conversation between two characters, becoming first one, then replying as if the other. If an accent is indicated, I use that. I find that this process – actually articulating langauge the way my character must, I can better experience what it is to be them and to be inside their respective heads. It works beautifully to flesh out character interractions and sometimes I have been excited to realise that there were problems with the ways each character relates to the other. I shudder to think about what I may look like doing this, but in the quiet of my own home, it is okay. That is also a pretty good reason to live alone, as do I!

    Reply
    • Margaret Terry

      I like this idea, David! Will have to try it one day – Thx.

    • themagicviolinist

      Wow, that’s a really cool idea! I might have to steal that. 😉

    • Winnie

      You’re spot-on. Some of the best advice i’ve heard in a long time.When I read my piece out loud I find I’m also acting it out. That way the flaws are exposed.

  3. Mirel

    Haven’t been here in a while. Just knocked this off on the spur of the moment. My character in my WIP has other problems, but this is what the moment inspired;

    Kevin looked at everyone in the park yelling and having a
    good time, then buried himself in his book.
    When he read, he could hear all the characters come alive in his head and
    carry out their dialogues smoothly. None
    of them had his problems. He shifted
    uncomfortably and re-immersed himself in the story.

    Thlump! Kevin was pulled out of the story by the sudden thud
    right next to him.

    “Hey, you! Toss
    us the ball!”

    Kevin looked down at the ball next to him and back at the
    group of teenagers.

    “Come on, just toss it back.”

    He picked it up uncertainly, and hesitated before tossing it
    toward one of the players. The lanky
    blond with the goofy smile he’d noticed before caught it easily.

    “Good arm, dude.
    Wanna join us?”

    Kevin smiled and shook his head. It was pointless.

    Just as he was about to sit back down he heard some heavy
    breathing and turned around to notice another one of the group near him. He caught a flash of green eyes, before the
    guy leaned over, hands on thighs to catch his breath. Green eyes straightened up and grinned. “Man, I’m so out of shape. I’m Nick, by the way.”

    He stuck out his hand, and Kevin reluctantly grasped it in
    return. “Kkkkevin,” he said.

    Reply
    • Karl Tobar

      I like Kevin’s attraction to the world of fiction–none of them have his problems. I know I can relate to that feeling, as I’m sure most readers can! What’s Kevin reading, by the way? 😉

    • Mirel

      I’ve been busy lately with the Story Cartel course and writing, but this site is definitely my first love. And when I read the prompt, the idea just came.

      Thanks, Emma Marie and Karl.

      As to the book he was reading- good question, but since this was a 15 minute pantsing effort I didn’t get so far. Probably something like “The Hunger Games” where no one has any problems 😉

      Have any suggestions?

    • Emma Marie

      Good job, Mirel! I liked your descriptions and hope Kevin and Nick become great friends!

    • Winnie

      Don’t all readers have this problem of becoming too immersed in the fiction world of what they’re busy on at the moment?

    • themagicviolinist

      This could almost read like a poem: the way it was formatted, the way it was written. I love being immersed in a good book.

    • Mirel

      Thanks, MV! This is actually the way the site formatted what I wrote, not the way I formatted it, but glad you liked it. As for loving being immersed in a good book: don’t we all? Don’t know how anyone can write if they don’t love to read…

  4. Cathy Hemsley

    Thanks. I decided to give my characters hobbies, and it was surprising what it revealed. And it’s opened up a whole new theme and subplot.

    Reply
    • themagicviolinist

      Hobbies are a great thing to have!

  5. Emma Marie

    “Lil? Can you help me for a moment?”

    Mom’s sweet voice called from the kitchen. Lilly was hunched over the computer, typing furiously. She was in the middle of a scene including sword fighting and poisoned darts. The main character was about to rescue the princess. He was climbing up the tower but a dragon would stop him before he could embrace his sweet maid.
    The smell of apple pies and brown sugar glazes was enticing though, so she left her post, but did not forget Agar and Serena.
    Mom grinned when she entered the stuffy kitchen. There were four pies on the stove already, and she was rolling out another batch of pale dough.
    “Mom, you made a mess.”
    She just grinned and kept rolling out the dough.
    “Would you stir the glaze and cut up some more apples, Lil? Or should i say, Serena?”
    Mom never could keep Lilly’s characters straight.
    The glaze was bubbling sweet aromas into the whole room. Lilly bent over the hot stove and stirred the delicious, golden mixture.
    “Serena’s the snob, Mom. Agar doesn’t know that yet. He just wants her because she has good looks and the King has a huge reward for whoever rescues her.”
    “Oh, I see,”
    Lilly watched her mother carefully place the dough in the ready pans. Her capable, strong hands gently smoothed it in place.
    “You got the apples, Lilly?” She looked up. The fine flour coating her face really brought out her bright eyes. She was beautiful, even when she was hot and sweaty.
    “I love you, Mom.”

    Reply
    • Mirel

      Great job, Emma Marie. I loved the baking in middle of the story. Also how mom could never keep Lilly’s characters straight, and the “fine flour coating…hot and sweaty.” Well done! You’ve got sights and smells vividly portrayed.

    • themagicviolinist

      I can almost smell the pies now! Lilly reminds me of me. 😉

  6. Elise White

    First of all, I want to say that I’m really impressed that someone so young wrote this post!

    Here’s my practice:

    Zilla sat at one of the tables bordering the dance floor. She could feel her bones begin to quiver as she watched the dozens of smiling people moving on the dance floor. Nestled into the crowd of her friends, sitting and eating graduation cake had been easy. But now they were getting up. To dance.

    “Come on, Zilla. You have to dance!” Nancy said grabbing her hand.

    NO! Zilla wanted to scream, but her rubbery legs carried her relunctantly to the dance floor.

    Tall and slender, Zilla felt awfully awkward as she tried to appear like she had an ounce of rhythm. Where could she hide?

    Just as she thought she was starting to blend in, the song changed to something more up-tempo.

    Her friend Jeannie’s feet and arms were moving much faster than Zilla could ever imagine hers being capable of moving. Their whole circle of friends were moving to the music effortlessly, except Zilla.

    She couldn’t take it anymore. “I’m going to go sit down.” she said.

    “No, you can’t sit down!” Her friends said in unison.

    Jeannie yanked her arm, bringing her back into the dancing circle and the nightmare continued.

    Reply
    • Karl Tobar

      Good job. How many of us have been in this exact situation?! You did a great job making a likable character. I like your phrasing–“an ounce of rhythm.” Great practice!

    • Elise White

      Thanks for your comment, Karl – the situation is based on my own (sadly recent) experience.

    • catmorrell

      Oh to be an awkward teen and have social friends. Glad they were including her and trying to pull her out of her shell. Also totally felt for her too. “The nightmare continued.” was a perfect ending.

    • Elise White

      Thanks for the feedback! I’m hoping to tie this into my WIP.

    • Winnie

      Good YA writing. I was also forced to attend dances as a teenager where I ended up a wallflower.

    • themagicviolinist

      This had great writing. My best friend is like Zilla. She doesn’t like being the center of attention at all.

  7. Karl Tobar

    Violinist–great post! TERRIBLE PICTURE! -shudder- Nobody should ever be that close to a spider. Not without a beekeeper suit and a flamethrower, anyway. Hoooooo! Here’s my practice:

    Dead to the world a fraction of a second, and a fraction of a second later he opened his eyes and the ceiling was right there. The window was there, too, and the walls of his room surrounded him. Stillness, motionlessness, and dead silence engulfed him. Only for a fraction of a second, though, and then he realized what woke him up. His parents were arguing again.

    What time was it? Gray pallid light passed through the glass of his window by his head and a glance at the clock told him it was almost six in the morning. He found it amazing that his mother’s voice carried such ferocity, such power and intensity this early in the morning. Who uses such profane foulness this early in the day? His father’s voice boomed just on the other side of the wall. They must have had another late night. They must have been carrying on an argument that formulated hours earlier after the bars had closed and the only place for the argument to go was home. He sighed.

    In the ironic silence, as he called it, of his bedroom, he reached under his bed with a tired arm and felt around for the guitar case. He called it ironic silence because silence meant quiet, and it was quiet—dead—in his room, but just beyond the wall a major world war raged in the form of four letter words and accusations.

    His room was like a photograph in its quiet–a stillness that so resembles something dead. In an instant he envied the dead. He wasn’t so much jealous that the dead were just that—dead—but that they didn’t have anything to worry about. If he could share that carelessness and stay alive, that would have been “something splendid.” “Something splendid” is how his Gramma described things that pleased her–mainly her old-timey T.V. shows and baked goods, and he had picked up the term spending so many Saturdays at her place. He wondered if terms, like intelligence, skipped a generation—never had he heard his mother expressing her thanks for “something splendid.”

    He dragged the case from beneath him and stroked it with his fingers for a moment. This was the best part of playing a guitar. The best thing about playing a guitar is the moment before you pick it up and you know you have the power in your fingers to drown out anything you don’t want to hear.

    His father’s yelling voice slipped through his closed bedroom door. Something about an abortion. He didn’t hear that though; the guitar was already in his lap and he’d begun to strum a C minor—his favorite chord.

    Reply
    • catmorrell

      Okay, now I want to drag out the accordion and escape with your guitar playing protagonist. Even though I had a charmed childhood, I totally empathized with the young man. Music does soothe the soul and blocks unwanted noise. Loved also that he recognized and contrasted Gramma’s acknowledgement of good VS his parents self indulgent behavior.

    • Karl Tobar

      Thank you. So you’re an accordion player? I always thought playing an accordion looks like one of the most difficult things in the world. I always had respect for you guys even though most kids probably don’t. “Hey, isn’t that the kid who plays accordion? Let’s pull his underwear up over his head and stuff him in his locker!” I can almost hear it now at the school I went to.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment. This was one of those practices where the timer went off and I thought, “Aww, but I’m not done yet!” Those are my favorite ones 🙂

    • catmorrell

      Yes, I was one of the biggest nerds going. By the time I started playing the accordion no one messed with me, because they couldn’t get a reaction. I loved the sound of the accordion and couldn’t care less what other’s thought. I have not been able to lift the thing in years, but found a good home for it with my young cousin. Hope to take keyboard lessons in my retirement. For now I am hooked on writing. (My current nerdy endeavor.) Did you write some more about your young man? Are you going to?

    • Karl Tobar

      I haven’t, not yet anyway. Ideas like this go in the bank though.
      Keyboard lessons are a great idea. I could teach you myself but I’m afraid I would have to charge you a lot of money 😉 I’ve gone through a lot of hobbies growing up but I’d really like to stick with writing. I’ve let art supplies diminish and sometimes my guitar sits in its case for months without being touched.

      But when I write it’s the only time I don’t feel like I should be doing something else, you know?

    • themagicviolinist

      The writing in this was beautiful. 😀 I loved the ending. It really showed how much he loved playing guitar to be able to ignore something like that.

    • Karl Tobar

      Thanks so much!

    • Mirel

      Hey Karl, strong piece. All the “fraction of a second”s in the first paragraph jarred on me a bit, but the rest of the piece was very good. I like the reference to his gramma and when he strokes the guitar case, Well done!

      I’m envious of how much everyone gets done in 15 minutes!

    • Karl Tobar

      Thanks Mirel! Thanks for that input. I try to experiment with repeating certain words and phrases but I guess this one was a no-go. :] And for the 15 minutes I think I was able to write so much this time because sitting in my room alone with a guitar is something I’m all too familiar with 😉 Other times I struggle and end up with something maybe half this length, and of much lower quality. And don’t even get me started on the 5 minute Wednesday practices. 🙂

  8. catmorrell

    Annabeth pulled her hand knit socks on. The warmth was wonderful, but a couple places where they were darned irritated her feet unless she turned them just right. This reminded her, “Charles, be sure to change your socks and put your warm ones on.”

    “Bethie, I’m already dressed.” Charles whined, pulling up a pant leg to show off clean warm socks.

    She turned her attention to the sounds in the other room and wondered if her older brother had fed Apache yet. “Ben, don’t forget to feed Apache.” She called.

    He growled back at her. “You know you are a bossy pants.”

    *******
    I just came to a blinding halt. My 12 y/o old girl from 1932 is a bossy know it all. I will need more time to think on this aspect of her personality. I think I would like to drag the knitting into the story more. Thank you for this prompt.

    Reply
    • Winnie

      Keep on teasing it out and a great story will emerge!

    • catmorrell

      Thank you for the encouragement.

    • themagicviolinist

      Keep trying and I’m sure you’ll get it! I love the name Annabeth. 😉

    • catmorrell

      Thank you for the encouragement. Annabeth is a character from my WIP. These assignments help me to get better acquainted with them.

    • Karl Tobar

      You’re off to a great start. I have a theory about your character. Maybe it would be fine if she was a bossy know-it-all as long as there are some redeeming qualities, too. Some inner monologue that shows her softer side or some memories that give us an idea of why she does act like that. Something people can relate to. Just a thought, good luck with however you choose to move forward!

    • catmorrell

      Thank you for making me think about this. Why does she have the bossy personality? I think because she is the only girl with one very much younger brother and several older, and expected to study more so is the smarter one at school. She is used to tutoring the farm boys who had to work the fields in Kansas and were late to start school. She is used to watching her younger brother. I will need to get all this information into her diary.

    • R.w. Foster

      I like bossy folks sometimes. They kind of remind me of me a little. 🙂

    • catmorrell

      Thank you. I like this character too. Bossy people keep moving things forward.

    • ariel

      I think this is a start to a great story, I think you should also explore the more caring side of a big sister. Keep writing because I know you will have a great story.

    • Nita

      That though she may be.bossy, she is the glue keeping things together.

  9. R.w. Foster

    A large dark shape plummeted to the ground in front of me. I leaped backward instinctively. Lightning flashed rapidly, illuminating the newcomer in staccato bursts. It was one of the largest demons I had ever seen. It was crouched in front of me, black wings furled over its massive muscled back. It had four long, thick arms, the lower two of which were planted on the ground and two hugely muscled legs, coiled and ready to launch it into action. It had long and sharp looking horns sticking out of its skull-like head. An elongated, heavy tail swished back and forth like a cat’s. It watched me with glowing silvery orange eyes, licking its face occasionally. Its wings unfurled and began to lazily flap, stirring up a surprisingly pleasant breeze. The wings were black near the demon’s shoulders and gradually faded to red near the primary feathers. There was a stripe of yellow at delineating the covert feathers. Keeping its eyes on me, the demon slowly raised one of its arms from the ground, carefully moved it forward, and then lowered it. This movement was followed promptly by a matching step forward by its opposite leg. ‘This thing is stalking me,’ I thought with wonder.

    Trying to show that I wouldn’t be intimidated, I twirled my sword before me, then snapped it down to my right. Outwardly, I was bold, ready to fight. Inwardly, I was nervous and scared as hell. The demon lowered its body, ready to pounce. I dropped my right foot behind me, turning to that I would present a smaller target and so that I could put more power behind my first swing. I brought my sword up into my left hand and gripped it lightly, yet firmly. The demon took another slow step forward, this time moving the opposite arm and leg from last time.

    The demon launched into its attack. My swinging sword was tore from my grasp. Sword flew in one direction, I in another. I rolled a few feet, and lunged upright. The demon was on me in an instant, ripping and clawing at my flesh. I frantically threw up my forearms and knees to block its unrelenting assault. After four frantic minutes, I saw an opening and took ruthless advantage. It swung both of its right arms at my head. I ducked under the upper fist, blocked the lower one with my forearms and launched my right knee up into its jaw, staggering the monster. It roared in frustration and swung both its left arms. I landed in a crouch. When both left fists whistled through the air over my head, I slammed my left elbow into its right knee. The demon’s knee buckled as it bellowed in pain. It crashed to the ground. I rose to my feet and raced for my sword.

    I reached it, and took it gladly into my hands once more. I turned to the demon, ready to resume the battle on more equal terms. Moving faster that I thought possible, the demon charged. When it reached me, I found myself lifted in the air. The demon had each of my limbs in one of its colossal hands. It roared in my face and then flung me. I flew on a short, hard trajectory and crashed into a wall. My skull bounced against it, sending sparkles of light shooting across my sight. The impact knocked the wind from me and caused my vision to go blurry. My ears rang, and I felt nauseous. I wasn’t sure of where I was, or what had happened to me. I slowly pushed myself upright and saw two four-armed demons charging at me. I tried to get to my feet, but couldn’t seem to get my limbs to work together. The demon yanked me up and slammed me against the wall again. It began to batter me with its free fists. My body twitched and swung from the thud of its fists. It was interesting: I was able to feel the impacts, but I felt no pain.

    The demon flung me away from it again. My flight was once more short, and remarkably, pleasant. The landing, a lot less so. Fortunately, the jarring landing served to clear the cobwebs from my mind. I rolled to my feet just as the demon landed hard where I had just been lying. Instinct had me rocketing my fist up to explode against its jaw as I shoved my feet against the ground to provide extra force. The demon’s head snapped back, and it crashed to the ground. Pain raced up from my damaged hand, grabbed a dance partner in my shoulder and did the tango in my skull to the tune of a throbbing headache. I tasted copper in my mouth and spat to one side. Blood and a tooth hit the ground.

    Reply
    • Karl Tobar

      That was intense.
      One line confused me, paragraph 3. “I landed in a crouch.” that sentence seems off a little bit, doesn’t really fit IMO. I had to go back, thinking, “What happened that would make “land” an appropriate verb? Was he falling? Did he jump? I’m still not clear as to what he was doing that made him “land.”
      But other than that I was right there with him. Feel free to tell me to shut up, btw.

    • R.w. Foster

      I’m glad you liked it. 😀 He did jump. It was when he brought his knee up into the demon’s jaw.I think I mention just before this takes place (like a couple lines before) that the demon is much bigger than he. If not, I’ll definitely add that now. Thanks for reading.

    • themagicviolinist

      This was gripping. You described the battle very well, though I think it might’ve been easier on the readers’ eyes if you had broken up the paragraphs a little bit more.

      One technical thing I saw was this line: “My swinging sword was tore from my grasp.” Did you mean to say “torn?”

      Great job! 😀

    • R.w. Foster

      Thanks. Glad you liked it. Good chatch. That was supposed to be “torn”. I have to remember to edit a bit before I sub, even if it is the first draft.

  10. Puja

    “Hey Izzy!” say the couple at my front door.

    “Heeeeeey!” I stretch out the word as long as possible because I can’t for the LIFE of me remember their names. “Come in, come in, wine’s over there.” *Please save me three bottles.*

    The doorbell goes off again and, pushing my uncooperative bangs out of my face, I answer it.

    “Izzy! Hi!” says the curvy brunette standing at my front door.

    I smile as wide as possible, till my mouth hurts. Oh shit, oh shit, what is her name, what is her name? Uh okay, my brother Danny has a crush on her, says she has a nice rack (typical), that she’s at least a—

    “Hey Deedee,” I greet through my smile. Satisfied, she slides past me, nearly whacking me with her namesakes.

    Just as I’m shutting my door, fervently regretting inviting more than four people to this party, the skinny Indian guy who sits two cubicles down from me appears in the hallway of my apartment.

    “Hi Izzy, how’s it going?” He waves awkwardly, hand jammed into his pocket.

    *Why* do they all know my name? Damn them for remembering who their host is. At my college parties, no one knew the host and they were too drunk to care. I miss that.

    Okay, he’s staring, hurry up. I know that he’s frustrating to work with because his Zimbabwe health stats are always in late. Since I’ve been overseeing our South Africa clinics, the boss gets on my case for it. Okay so…Zimbabwe Notes Are Never Done…

    “Hey Znand!”

    He continues to stare. That was wrong wasn’t it? I bite on my lip.

    “Uh, Anand!” That’s right, it’s supposed to be Africa Notes Are Never Done. “Sorry, there is *too* much alcohol at this party, haha.”

    Eyebrows still raised, he enters the apartment and heads straight for the food. I exhale and drop onto the couch. I could do with a nap right now.

    “How’s it goin’?” says a voice at my elbow, and I want to cry. I start to go through my jumbled catalogue of names and acronyms. I must look tense, because the guy says, “Geez, Iz, relax.”

    A fresh glass of red wine appears in front of me. I look over to see Mark.

    “Finally, a name I remember,” I mutter.

    “What?”

    “N-nothing.” I take the glass and smile over at him in thanks.

    “You look worn out,” he says with slight concern.

    “Gee, thanks. I only took two hours to get ready.” I chug, more than sip, the wine. My peep-toe heels are squeezing my feet, and I’m pretty sure Double Dee’s best friend got ranch dip on my red dress.

    Mark smiles, and his green eyes look me over. Not in a pervy way, just with a brief, approving glance. “I just mean, I think you need a break. Let me answer the door now, huh?”

    I don’t do a good job hiding my relief. “You are a godsend.”

    Mark goes pink. “Yeah, I can let in Zophie and Znadine, no problem.”

    It’s my turn to be embarrassed. “You heard that?” He nods, trying not to laugh. “I’m so, so awful at names. It’s a wonder I remember my own.”

    Mark rises when the doorbell goes off again. “Thank you, thank you, thank you Mark,” I say. He seems to pause for a second before greeting Danny’s crush from three weeks ago.

    Reply
    • Emma Marie

      Love how she used acronyms to remember the names! Good job

    • Elise White

      I like how she used acronyms to remember, too. I might have to use that trick myself in my own life 🙂

    • themagicviolinist

      This was hilarious! 😀 I could really feel her panic. The acronyms were a nice touch.

  11. Grace Blaze

    “Hey… Sara? Can I talk to you for a moment?”
    I turn around to see Bug looking at me expectantly, the nervousness obvious in his bright blue eyes. Just seeing his face, I can feel a blush creeping up my neck, and my palms begin to sweat. I switch my books to my other arm, backing away from my English classroom to stand by his locker.
    “Yeah, of course, Bug,” I say. “Hurry, I don’t want to be late for English.”
    Biting his lip, his eyes shift toward mine, just to turn away a second after. I’ve known and had a crush on this boy for five years, and never before have I seen him this nervous. He runs a hand through his light brown hair, looking anywhere but at me.
    “Bug?” I say, messing with a torn up peice of my binder. “Are you okay?”
    He nods a little too quickly, I guess I could say, finally looking at me. “Well, you know how the dance is tonight, right?… the last dance?” he starts.
    It takes everything in me not to freak out. Could he possibly be asking me to the dance? This boy I’ve loved for years, who has ignored me since seventh grade? I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my life. Not only is this my first ever conversation with him, but he also might be asking me to the dance. My face turns tomato red– my trademark quality that always gives away my feelings.
    I decide to make him more comfortable, by bringing up warm conversation.
    “Why is your name Bug?” I ask.
    “Oh, well… My real name is Brady. But when I was a kid, I had this pet bug, that died when I overfed. My friends began calling me Bug. I’ve alwyas loved bugs, I still do.”
    I smirk. “Aww, that’s cute!” Right to the point, I tell myself. “So, what were you going to ask me?”
    “Oh, right. You know Miranda?”
    “My best friend?”
    “Yeah. D’you, well, do you think she would go to the dance with me? I’ve liked her for a really long time now, and I waqs just wondering…”
    My face fell. My blush returned, realizing my foolish belief in thinking Bug would actually ask me to the dance. I did my best not to scowl or break out in tears.
    “Yeah,” I whisper. “I think she would really like that.”
    And before he can respond, I run into class, trying to forget everything.

    Reply
    • Emma Marie

      I like the torn up binder detail. I could really feel her disappointment, too. Nice job!

    • themagicviolinist

      Very nice mix of description and dialogue. The flow was smooth and I could really feel what she was going through. Nice job! 😀

    • Winnie

      Agree. Nice natural flow of dialogue.

    • Puja

      I agree, I like the torn-up binder mention, and though I kind of expected it, felt awful when he brought up Miranda. I also like the narrator’s last lines.

  12. Kaylin R. Boyd

    This served as a good quick reminder to use during my upcoming editing. Thanks!

    Reply
    • themagicviolinist

      No problem! 😀

  13. Winnie

    Tom had lost himself in the pulsing embers of the campfire. It was that time after sunset when the night became a solid presence punctuated by the rhythmic background sounds of the wilderness around him . The pink-blue tongues of flame curling off the glowing embers drew him in, teasing out dreams pushed aside and long forgotten. .
    A cough from the other side jerked him out of his reverie.
    “Coffee?” asked Tracey. She gave him a look. “You’re much too quiet.”
    “Blame it on all this.” He waved his arm around him, taking in the camping site, the forest surrounding them, and the mountain peaks beyond. “It does something to you.”
    “I’m not falling for that. You were brooding over the past.”
    He shook his head. As a detective he had to be ‘objective’ about his work, as
    their chief always warned them. But after twenty years it had started getting
    to him.
    “How are things with Verna?”
    “Fine,” he snapped. “Couldn’t be better.”
    Tracey stood up and came to sit beside him, nudging up close. “Relax, Tom. Let go, just for these few days.”
    The warmth of her closeness melted him inside. He could feel the tension oozing out his feet and fingertips. “Actually, Verna and I aren’t talking anymore.” He felt guilt well up as he uttered her name.
    He shouldn’t be here, alone with Tracey. As work colleagues they’d become much too close.
    She grabbed his arm and shook it. “Pull yourself out of it.”
    He felt hot tears behind his eyes. The top detective in the force, his name was
    being bandied about as the next commissioner, and here he was, cracking up.
    Tracey, and the whole station, must know Verna had already left him.
    The tough exterior he’d shown to the world was flaking off, layer by layer, exposing the sensitive soul it had hidden for so long. Verna had always seen beyond this tough mantle. Yet he’d refused to acknowledge his real self.
    That was the Tom she’d married.

    Reply
    • themagicviolinist

      The ending was particularly good, though I would’ve liked to know more. Why did Verna leave him? How close were Tracey and Tom exactly? Great job! 😀

    • Winnie

      Thanks. The details are revealed over the rest of the story. This passage would be say, the opening of a WIP.

    • themagicviolinist

      Ooh, that would be a good way to start a story.

    • R.w. Foster

      I like! I’d love to read more. Need a beta reader?

    • Mirel

      Great job! Wonderfully descriptive writing.

  14. Yvette Carol

    I just read the opening line of a fellow writer’s first page, and it began with a guy in knee-socks and shorts. I thought that was brilliant, something different and refreshing as a description. Yes, it made me want to read further.

    Reply
  15. ariel

    Lex was sitting on her bed, which was usual practice when she was tired of her homework. She had just finished her five hundred word essay for Mr. Rosenthal’s class and needed a break before starting the rest of her homework. Needing that pick me up, she put on her headphones and turned her music up. The first beat dropped and instantly she was dancing and singing to her favorite song. She forgot about her worries as she turned her room to her own personal adventure. At that moment , she was no longer in her room, but on a stadium filled with hundreds of fans or on the streets of her small town doing crazy things, like it was summer all over again. She knew that she probably was too loud , but she didn’t care, she was having a great time.
    So with this I wanted to show listening to music as a hobby and as something that Lex is passionate about. I also want o show how happy music can make someone. Anyways, enjoy!

    Reply
  16. Thewritergurl

    I lied on the damp ground, my back starting to grow cold. The sky was now dark, letting the stars find their light amongst the night. There was a light breeze, letting the leaves sway smoothly. Music played faintly from my house behind me, probably Johnny Cash, because my Grandfather is here.

    I pulled at a string on my sweatshirt, until it ripped. I suddenly heard the door swing open.

    ” Cassie, come inside please.” my mother’s voice echoed out.

    ” Okay.”

    Reply
  17. Robert

    Christopher was terrified. He knew that everything was going to go wrong since his girlfriend had told him that they were going to the pool. Chris had hated water all his life. His brother had drowned, and while Chris got over it rather quickly, he was never able to watch a pool without remembering.

    “What’s going on, Chris?”, his girlfriend asked. The look on his face revealed his fear, but he smiled anyways.

    “Nothing, I love water”, he said. Christopher usually used sarcasm as a defense mechanism when he didn’t know what to do, but he could see in Sarah’s eyes that she did not like the answer. He still hadn’t told her about his brother’s accident.

    “Fine, don’t tell me”. Chris knew that she was mad. And when Sarah got mad, she usually did something about it. Not even when his coach yelled at him at a basketball game caused the same panic.

    It’ll be a lovely surprise, he thought. Sarah sat on the border of the pool, and Chris sat behind her, on a chair. They talked about their lives, as they usually did.

    “Come here”, Sarah said. Chris sat by her side and she kissed him.

    “You know that I love you, right?”, she said casually.

    “Yes, I do”

    “Then you know why I’m doing this”, she yelled as Chris fell on the pool. When he touched the water he thought that he was drowning. He waved his arms like crazy, trying to stay on the surface.

    “Help me!”, he screamed. Sarah pulled him out quickly. Chris knew that if she was a guy, she would have received a punch in the face. But since she was Sarah, he broke down and started crying.

    “What happened?”, she asked while putting her hand on Christopher’s back. He put his head between his legs.

    “Do you really want to know?”. The girl nodded.

    “When I was a kid, my whole family went to the public swimming pool. My parents and my two brothers. It was all going well until we saw that my older brother wasn’t moving. We tried to wake him, but…”. Chris couldn’t keep going, but Sarah understood everything.

    “I’m so sorry”. Chris knew that she really meant it. She didn’t know until then.

    “It’s fine, you didn’t know”. They stayed silent for a bit. Sarah proposed something.

    “You know what? We’re getting out of here. Let’s go somewhere you can relax and not think about that”. Chris thought it was a great idea, so they stood up and left the place.

    Reply
  18. Quinn Archer

    Chapter 1:

    Blythe scanned her surroundings warily. A single step in the wrong place would alert them to her presence and she just couldn’t have that. It’s clear. She silently thanked Queen Mab for her telepathy. The little pixie really was turning out to be a big help. She cautiously set down one foot, letting out a sigh of relief at the fact that the noises of the marketplace muffled the echo of her boot hitting the stone road. (Note- Rewrite, too wordy.)
    Oh, forgive me. I haven’t even introduced you! Meet Blythe Williams. She’s an angel (literally) and an expert in earth magic. That character Queen Mab? She’s not really a queen, but I suggest you just go along with it. Humor her, will you? She’s just a little fairy- Pixie! Alright, geez, pixie. Forgive me, Your Highness. Forgiven. Back to the story!
    The pair moved quickly across the marketplace, Blythe keeping her cloak pulled tight to her chest. She had to hide her wings- they were a dead giveaway, since they were looking for an angel.
    Oh dear, you still haven’t got a clue, do you? Well, that’s all right.
    The people moving around her forced her forward and her cape snagged on a crate of tomatoes.

    (Starting a story! Thoughts?)

    Reply

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