Developing a Character from Scratch!
Stacy woke up feeling disheartened and sad.
“I’m never depressed,” she thought. “What’s up with this?”
She hadn’t slept well, so perhaps that contributed to her malaise, but beyond being tired she felt hollow and empty, as though a bit of her very being had been sucked away somewhere. She stayed in bed for minutes, closing her eyes to the intrusive, morning sunlight that unwelcomingly crept around the edges of the window shade brightening the room.
Generally Stacy was raring to go at the break of dawn. She welcomed the sun. Not today.
“I just want sleep,” she mumbled to no one. Myriad, invasive musings prevented her wish, however. Thoughts tumbled, barreling down on one another, an avalanche with no sign of stopping: work, friends, foes, parents, prejudices, tasks, inconsistencies, disasters, loss, self-image, an argument, a crime, a dog, and more than a few judgments. On and on random reflections rolled through. She could not stop the onslaught and was annoyed.
“I just want sleep,” she muttered again, squeezing her lids tightly and focusing on amoeboid shapes and flairs of mute colors dancing in the space captured there. She became aware of the tenseness of her body, her hands fisted, teeth clinched, and her knees drawn up toward her chest. She had rolled to her side into a fetal position that mirrored her absolute sense of helplessness to thwart her current, bewildering state.
“Depression? Not for me,” she avowed quietly although several more minutes ticked by before she moved.
“Okay,” she finally sighed aloud. “This sucks. I hate how I feel right now. Screw it! I’m not giving in to this shit.”
That assertion brought her to a sitting position. She kicked away the quilt and blanket, shoved her sheets aside, and stood so abruptly she felt slightly dizzy. She wandered slowly into the bathroom and stared at her insipid face in the mirror. She forced a smile.
“Pretty silly,” she admonished herself before smiling again. The smile itself made her feel better though . . . and lucky. “Not all people can push depression aside,” she acknowledged. “Guess I’m fortunate. For me, it all comes down to my ability to find perspective.”
I know dealing with depression is not easy for many, many people, so this is not meant to be “flip”. I just began with the first line on the page and then what followed, followed. I do that sometimes. It’s a writing exercise. My point, however, is that I hope this does not offend anyone who deals with depression daily. I see this character as someone who may come to a new understanding if I were to continue with this piece. For now, this is all – simply writing practice.