Looking At The Sunset


Character Reflection

It has been a long story and your character finally has some time to look back an reflect on what has happened. They probably have some vodka in hand as they look out at the sea and the sunset.

Or not.

Character reflections are often used to portray a certain response to the plot, when a character comes to terms with what they have been struggling with. Often placed after a crisis, a reflection also slows the narrative down so that the readers can breathe before the next conflict.

Consider An Astrologer’s Day by R K Narayan.

After dinner, sitting on the pyol, he told her : ” Do you know a great load is gone from me today? I thought I had the blood of a man on my hands all these years. That was the reason why I ran away from home, settled here, and married you. He is alive.”
She gasped. “You tried to kill!”
“Yes, in our village, when I was a silly youngster. We drank, gambled, and quarrelled badly one day. Why think of it now ? Time to sleep,” he said, yawning, and stretched himself on the pyol.

Writing Character Reflections

The reflection piece is slow and often happens through dialogue or in the character’s head. The character often brings up something that they have kept hidden for a while, or talk about events by looking at them in a new light.

A character reflection may also become the mouthpiece for the author to talk about the story.

Exercise

Write a short entry (max. 1000 words) which has a character reflecting. The entry must be complete, which means that cliffhangers and rants are a strict no.

A few tips:

  • This is an exercise in pacing and statement. Slow pace and understate, and that shall set the tone.

  • Places like this are good opportunities to develop your character.

Prompts

Here are a few prompts to get you started. You can choose to ignore these and write your own ideas.

  • After his wife’s death, Ravi threw himself into his work, until one day, perched in his highrise balcony, he thinks…

  • The pizza wars in Indiranagar have seen carnage, until the lockdown happens and the heads of both pizza families get a chance to ponder upon their actions.

  • Eating breakfast and then reflecting on it.

Further Reading:

  • Malgudi Days by R K Narayan.

  • Saving Private Ryan

Author: Ayush

I love writing, and this blog serves as a slow growing collection of all my writing endeavours.

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