Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Future Learn: Challenging Stereotypes

The challenge for this piece was to take a character stereotype and alter it in an interesting way. When ever I think of artists, I think of mess and chaos as an integral part of their creative process, so I decided to write about a painter who didn't like mess:

Hazel brushed a stray blond hair from her eyes to clear her vision, before blinking her bright blue eyes. Leaning back, she was able to take in the image before her: a lilac skyline, a cerise sun and indigo sea. She glanced back to the real, live sunset happening on the other side of the cottage's window. Perfect. 

Paint pots were scattered around the room, the lid of each placed cautiously beside it, with the wooden floorboards beneath them remaining remarkably spotless. Between her pristine fingers she slowly twirled a freshly washed paintbrush before dipping it into a small pot of ruby red paint. She flicked the excess back into the pot, then used it to add heat to the rays of the dying sun. As she lent towards the canvas her spotless white shirt billowed forwards, coming perilously close to an aubergine pot before she glanced down and noticed it. A slight frown on her face, she moved the pot further away. 

In her oasis of clean, Hazel could be happy. The paint could blend and splatter as much as it needed within the confines of the canvas before her. But not on the floor, or on her skin; she couldn't bear the mess. She didn't like the feeling of dry paint on her skin or the constant sight of green matted in her hair. She couldn't even stand to see the old grey floor spotted with colour or splodges on her clothes. 

Everything had its place and paint belonged in its pots or on a canvas. Anything else was a mess and unnecessary waste.  

I'm going to expand on this idea and use this character as the basis for the short story I have to write for the course this week. Coming up with these stereotype-challenging characters is quite fun once you get started and I definitely recommend giving it a go. I also imagines a pianist who only liked listening to metal music and an eco-warrior with an addiction to long, hot baths and paperbacks. I liked the idea so much that I'm trying it out with my creative writing group on Thursday. I'm sure they'll come up with some even better ideas. 

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