Task #15: Generating Characters from The News  

Task #15: Generating Characters from The News  

Many writers take influence from current affairs and the news. I am going to introduce you to a simple task to generate characters from a news story. Your starting point needs to be choosing an event in the news that interests you.

Do not just choose the overall story but an event inside it.  

For example, if I chose the royal couple Harry and Meghan’s war with the tabloids, I would be being too general. So instead I might choose a specific event like the moment that Meghan and Harry announced they would be stepping back from royal life on Instagram.  

Once you have chosen the event, you’re going to write three lists of people you think might be impacted by the event. List one is who is immediately impacted by the event. List two is people who aren’t impacted immediately but will be at some point affected and the third is anyone who might be impacted in a smaller way later on down the line.  

There is no right or wrong place to put people on this list. It is just your opinion. It is worth remembering that people can be impacted by events positively and negatively, don’t just focus on the negative. 

Here is my list:  

List One: Immediately impacted by the event 

Harry and Meghan  

Their immediate families  

 

List Two: Experience secondary impact from the event 

The wider royal family 

Staff who work for the Royal Family  

Journalists reporting on it 

The charities they represent  

 

List Three: Impacted in smaller way later down the line 

People are fans/followers of the Royal Family and their news  

A property agent selling them North American property  

Obviously, the above the list is not exhaustive and you have to use your imagination about who may be involved. Also, you can be more specific than I have been. I wrote “Staff who work for the Royal Family” but I could say “Harry and Meghan’s chauffer” or their “press consultant.”  

This list could give you an idea of the sort of dramatic conversations that may have taken place after this event.  

The Task  

Write a scene featuring characters from the list you have created. Imagine what dramatic moments may have occurred in the aftermath of your chosen event. Remember to keep your scene dramatic using ideas that we have spoken about in previous blog posts.  

Note: Please be sensitive and careful when writing about events that have affected real people. You could open yourself up to legal issues if you publicly share work about a real person without their permission. I would consider fictionalising your work to avoid offense or harm before sharing.