A Fun Game In Your Head – Part 1

About a month ago Ozlem Yikici came up with a theory about writing and posted a challenge on her page. I agreed to take part in this challenge to see if it confirmed her theory. Here was the first challenge:

Setting:  A small quiet village approx 200 miles from the nearest city adorned with thatched cottages and surrounded by vast empty fields.  Not much happens here, except for their festival –the festival of colour, this happens once a year; tourists and families from afar visit, no one misses this event.  This is the highlight of the year for the villagersthey prepare for this the whole year. now I want you to devise a short dialogue of about 200-300 words -this can be in any genre you feel comfortable with.  Ok so far?  Excellent, now listen carefully, do not post this little exercise until I say so -or else the fun will be lost.  The key point of this game is your character(s), I want you to build them as you would any other character, get to know them inside and out, their likes, their hates etc -jot it all down and keep this for the second round of this game (that’ll be in two weeks time).  Great, now that you know your character(s); write them in into that 200-300 piece of writing, make sure the following points are included and acted out within the dialogue (this is still in line with my theory):

  • No children live in the village.
  • A child hides in a barn and stays after the festivities.
  • Your character(s) interacts with the child.
  • The child has a secret.
  • Add a surprise of your own -in keeping with your character(s) profile

Try to keep away from stereotypes -if you cannot then add a quirky character trait; this will help the game be more fun and hopefully challenge you all.

These are the characters I developed based on the above guidelines.

Character Profile
Name:  Alistair Henry Darlington
Nickname: Hank
Age:  28
Sex: male
Date of birth: June 19th
Place of birth: London
Ethnicity: British
Language: English
Religion: non believer
Relationship status: single
Occupation: unemployed

Height: 6’
Weight: 188lbs
Attractiveness: fairly
Physique: athletic
Complexion: fair
Hair: sandy
Eye color: sea blue
Handedness: right
Clothing style: casual outdoors

Nobody knows much about him

Keeps to himself except for during the festival of colour then he sells colourful painted exotic animals that he carves from wood at one of the booths.
His cottage is very small has no electricity, no running water, he has an old pump well for getting water, he uses candles he makes himself from the wax from his bees for light.
Has outhouse instead of indoor plumbing.
He grows and preserves his own foods
He has chickens for eggs and one cow for milk.
He doesn’t eat meat.
Burns wood for heat.
Literature degree from top university earned a year early due to his rapid study habits.
One room of the thatched cottage is completely lined with shelves that have nothing but books on them and he has read every one of them at least twice. Most of them are considered classics but many have utopian themes.
Goes for a walk along the country lanes for an hour in the morning, an hour at mid-day and an hour at evening time with the border collie that adopted him which is called Dog.
Secret – family are actually royalty and responsible for the baby ban put on the country which occurred when he was only a few years old. He shuns the royal lifestyle. Family thinks he has committed suicide because he staged it to look as though he had drowned in the river near the family’s estate. He paid cash for his little cottage to an ailing man he met on a train once. The man was going to live with his daughter. All the legal arrangements were made by a good university friend who is the only one who knows his real whereabouts.
Character Profile
Name:  Lucinda Hale
Nickname: Lucy
Age:  24
Sex: female
Date of birth: November 6
Place of birth: small remote village 200 miles outside Dublin
Ethnicity: British
Language: English
Religion: catholic
Relationship status: single
Occupation: planner and top organiser for festival of colour events

Height: 5’ 5”
Weight: 130lbs
Attractiveness: very
Physique: athletic
Complexion: pale
Hair: red
Eye color: green
Handedness: left
Clothing style: casual

Round face
Bow shaped lips
Curvy body
Down to earth
Always smiling
Loves people
Loves life
Easy going
Doesn’t hate anything but dislikes injustices
Never has left the village partially due to feeling like she owes something to her father who is the town leader.
Only child and was the last child to ever be born into the village before the baby ban came into place.
The child: He is about four years in age with dark hair and skin. He is quite clever but very rarely speaks. Parents are festival performers. He does not trust adults and is aware of the baby ban which is why he has always had to live in hiding.

From these characters I developed the following dialogue:

“Listen Hank, can I get you to come with me for just a moment? I kind of need some help in the barn.” Lucy pushed a few renegade red curls to reveal deep green eyes.

Hank always found himself a bit mesmerised by Lucy. He finally collected his thoughts and asked, “What type of help?”

“I can’t really tell you here, I’d rather just show you. Come on.” Lucy grabbed Hank by the arm and dragged him towards the barn.

“What is your hurry?” Hank asked but then he focused on the small dark haired boy with wide brown eyes staring up at him from where he sat huddled on a pile of hay. “Whoa, where did he come from?”

“He says he belongs to the performers. They were using this barn as their dressing room but they have all left already. He doesn’t look very old does he?” Lucy whispered.

“I don’t think he is but the last time I saw one up close was a long time ago.”

“I am the youngest person in this village Hank, I have never seen one up close, until now. You have to do something with him and quick before someone else sees him.”

“What do you want me to do about him?”

“I don’t know, I just sort of figured since you live so far out and keep to yourself so much, he might be safe if he stays with you until we figure out what to do with him.”

“This is crazy. What if I get caught with him?”

“You won’t get caught. Nobody ever goes out as far as your place. Look at him Hank, he is terrified. Hey kid do you want to stay at Hank’s until we find your people?”

The kid looked up at Hank a small smile spread across his face. Hank knew this was a bad idea but he couldn’t stand the thought of what would happen if the child was found and besides Lucy might come and visit.


Tomorrow I will post the second part of A Fun Game in Your Head.



About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three who doesn’t really know what she wants to be when she grows up.
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6 Responses to A Fun Game In Your Head – Part 1

  1. yikici says:

    Billie Jo I love your characters and the dialogue sets the scene and characters into play nicely 🙂 I am now extremely curious how Cynthia E. will work your characters into the dialogue and if the same voice shines through. This is exciting! Thank you for taking part.

    I’ll keep an eye out for part two 😀

  2. Thanks Ozlem, it has been fun. I am curious to see how it all worked out too.

  3. catwoods says:

    What a fun project! Thanks for sharing your part in it. I can’t wait to follow this through to the end.


  4. Pingback: Yikici’s Character & Voice Experiment « BeKindRewrite

  5. I like yours. I like that it’s going somewhere; how they already have a plan, and how I can already see how adorable the friendship between the awkward, solitary guy and the little boy is going to be, and how you work in the romantic subplot.

    Suberb job on writing the character sketches, too, by the way.

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