Writing Exercise

Characters seem real to us when they are specific. If they simply embody a type, we might recognize them from TV, but we do not recognize them from life. People we personally know seem complex and full of nuance while strangers seem typical. It stands to reason that, if you want readers to feel familiar with your character, you must give your character specificity. One way to achieve this sense of specificity is through self-contradiction.

Write a story in which a character is revealed to have a unique or unusual habit, trait, or past-time that sets them apart from other characters, specifically one that is unexpected, or that defies the reader's first impression. Such as a pretty secretary who spends her weekends shopping for antiques rather than clothes; an amateur boxer who plays Dungeons and Dragons every chance he gets; a successful politician with a profound sense of personal inadequacy and chronic anxiety to match.

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