EXERCISE Tell it All, Change it All

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by EmmaLee Rose, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. I had an interesting thought today about changing the past, and I realized that this scenario would really help writers get in touch with the backstory and personality of their characters! Answer each question from the point of view of your character. :)

    You've had more than your fair share of problems in your life, haven't you? What exactly happened in your past? Abuse? Trauma; the death of a loved one perhaps? Were you abandoned, or worse, taken?

    How does it affect you now? Anxiety? Depression? Nightmares? A fear of the dark? Do you look over your shoulder constantly, waiting for some hovering shoe to drop?

    And how does it affect your friends, and loved ones? Do they worry for you? Or worse, do they fear you? Fear explosive outbursts of rage, or fear losing you?

    Once you've answered these questions, tell me. Would you change it? If I were able to go back and change your life from the very beginning, would you allow me to do so? You would grow up, happy and normal, in a two parent home. Maybe with a sibling or two. No abuse, or trauma, or bulling. No more anxiety or depression. No more nightmares.

    Before you answer me though, consider this. Your whole life would change. Any friends you have made, any lovers you have met, would be gone from your memory and life. They wouldn't know you, and you wouldn't know them. Your husband or wife wouldn't even know you exist. Any children you have would cease to be. Of course, you wouldn't remember them either, so you wouldn't miss them.

    So tell me. Would it be worth it? Knowing all of this, would you allow me to change your past for the better?

    One last question before I go: Why? Explain your answer to me.
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  2. Tirian tipped his head in contemplation as he thought back on the years of his life that had been spent in solitude. Memories that had long been repressed quickly resurface as if a dam had collapsed sending the warrior's mind into a tsunami of emotions. His life had certainly not been easy. Being born of Elven royalty and Human peasantry. Durandal, a spartan-like city forced all boys of the age of fiveto kill fellow children at the age of five. Only those who lived through the hellish trials found themselves thrown into the world without even the bare necessity of clothing at the age of ten. The worst memory found its way to Tirian's eyes. Watching his mother scream in pain as his father's blade sunk deep into her heart. It was his inexperience and lack of hatred that led to this atrocity, his ultimate failure.

    "Life is never easy. I've learned that in my travels and in the combat I have engaged in. I'm a monster created by an equally monstrous dictator. Killing is as easy as breathing for me. There are no regrets in taking life from those who deserve it. I do, find myself in a recurring nightmare though..."

    His voice seemed to trail off as his eyes glazed over in a quaint look of horror. Yet, his composure came back once more as he began to explain the dream in more detail.

    "I wake up in a colorless world. Nothing but varying hues of black and white covering an empty field. My eyes seemed to take an eternity to refocus. There are bodies of the deceased around me, faces of those I no longer remember. I step back in fear, as a body raises in the distance. I continue to treat backwards as more and more bodies raise up, an all-consuming wave of death and decay. White flames suddenly consume the bodies as they struggle forward. A tree impedes any progress, allowing a faceless ghoul to grip my jaw. It's mouth opens and the skin tears at the corners seem to rip open as it bellows in agony, and then I wake up."

    Tirian took a moment to allow the details of such a gruesome story to grip the ears of those who where listening. It seemed so surreal, that just a few months ago his brain functioned on nothing more than hatred and revenge. That caravan changed his life forever. The variety of persons and species came together several times in the face of evil and more than ever the sense of camaraderie and even a hint of love brought the warrior's sense of emotion back to life.

    "The group I have traveled with, well. It's hard to say really. Everyone in that group has their own troubles and backgrounds. Each person in our group has demons they want to fight. I can admit, my rash actions and hatred driven revenge has put the group in a few situations. In our world, those born with magic are hated. Despised. Most of us, myself included were born with such a curse. It's this curse that binds us together, while those born without it are understanding and that understanding is the glue that holds us together."

    Tirian broke his monologue and smiled, the group of travelers flashing in his head for a moment, broken by the sound of that ethereal voice asking a question, deeper meaning within it's syllables. He pondered for a moment, the face of a fair-haired maiden that seemed all-too innocent. Sadness gripped his heart at the thought of worrying her. Though his friendship with everyone in the group was important, Tirian surely affected them all. He drew in a heavy breath that quickly resulted in a long and drawn out sigh.

    "There's one person in the group that my actions hurt more than the others. She's an innocent girl in an awful world of war. She's a twin, shy and reserved. I can see it in her eyes. The fear she has when danger suddenly shows itself. It burns my chest to know my choices affect someone so dear to me."

    That purple-haired maiden had burned her image into Tirian's mind. A smile crooked itself across his face for a moment before the voice continued on, asking if he would change his past. Tirian attempted to speak but was silenced and posed with a repercussion from such an action. Everything he had built and accomplished would disappear. His friends, comrades and even a possible future with that maiden would suddenly vanish. And for what? A better life? Tirian closed his eyes in thought. Static noise claimed the air as if time had stopped entirely. A minute passed. Then another. One more minute passed before the man's ocean eyes opened again with a stern look about their glimmering. He answered with a sense of pride.

    "I would never change my past. What happened to me has made me what I am today. The friends I have made in my travels have helped me refine my edges. A special girl has shown me the power of love. I have brothers and sisters through these travelers and I would anything for each and every single one of them. If changing my past meant losing them..."

    Tirian stopped for a moment thinking of the group he had traveled so far with. The group he had slept with by camp fires and shared meals with. A group he had shared anguish and despair with.

    "No. It would not be worth it."

    ((This was an amazing experience and I enjoyed writing it in my character's own voice. It helped me light a good fire of inspiration. Thank you!))
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