Lesson 3 -- My Characters

Grade: 45/50

Character Sketch 1
Kyle Phillips is a nerdy 26-year-old assistant manager at a video store who wants some direction in his life. He’s been working at the same store for almost four years. He’s been working up to the manager position for half that, with no luck. During all this time he’s been trying to figure out what he really wants to do with his life. Kyle knows that he doesn’t want to be an assistant manager or even a manager at a video store for the rest of his life, but he doesn’t know what else to do. He’s been attempting to go back to school for the past few years, but every time he starts he loses all motivation and wants to quit. He always remembers this saying his dad told him once; it’s stuck with him, “find something that you would do for free and that’s how you know it’s something you enjoy.”

Character Sketch 2
Derrick Hendricks is an ambitious 27-year-old web designer and blogger who wants to be successful. As soon as Derrick graduated from high school he went to school for web design and also took multiple writing courses. Since then he’s been creating and running multiple websites. He’s also been building websites for other companies as his main source of income. He loves what he does and he’s good at it. Derrick has a lot of sites where he does co-blogging with other writers. Another large source of his income is from advertising that he’s done on all of his sites and co-blogging sites. He likes to share his knowledge of blogging and web design with everyone and tries to better himself at it while doing so.

Create a Story

It was just a normal day in hell; that’s what Kyle Phillips calls his job as an assistant manager at a local video store. He’s been stuck at the same job for almost four years. Kyle always imagined himself doing bigger and better things once he graduated high school. Instead he’s dropped out of college multiple times and stuck at a dead end job. Kyle can’t seem to figure out anything that he would enjoy doing.

While at work he saw a man walk in that looked extremely familiar, but he couldn’t place where he remembered him from. As the man was walking around the store looking at the movies it hit him; they went to high school together. His name is Derrick Hendricks and he was one of the smartest guys in his high school.

Once Derrick was done wandering around looking at the movies he headed up to the counter to check out. Kyle was working the registers because the other employees were stocking the shelves. Derrick set his movies on the counter; Grandma’s Boy and 40 Year Old Virgin. Derrick was a fan of comedies.

When Derrick noticed the man behind the counter he noticed right away that it was Derrick Phillips from high school. He immediately struck up a conversation with him; “Hey! It’s Kyle, right? Remember me from high school? I’m Derrick Hendricks.”

Kyle was surprised that Derrick remembered him at all. He wasn’t nearly as popular as Derrick was. “Hey! Yeah, I remember you! How are you doing?” Kyle said to Derrick.

“I’ve been really good. I’ve been running quite a few of my own websites and doing a bunch of web designing. What about you? How have you been since high school?” Derrick was genuinely interested in how Kyle has been. He wondered why Kyle was working at a video store. He remembered Kyle in high school and knew that he’d been a pretty smart kid and great with computers.

“I’ve been doing alright. Just working here, there’s really not much else to tell. I’ve taken a few college courses, but there’s nothing I’m really interested in yet. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do.” Kyle laughed at his last statement. He was so envious of Derrick. He seemed to have his life together. He was doing something he enjoyed; that’s what Kyle was most envious of.

Derrick could tell that Kyle didn’t seem too thrilled with where his life is right now. He’s been looking for someone recently to start helping him with his computers. “Hey, you’re good with computers right? I know you were in high school. I’ve been looking to change out a bunch of my systems. I’ve also wanted to build a new computer. Do you think you would be interested in something like that? I was also looking for some to start a new website with.”

Kyle’s mouth practically fell open out of shock. “Yeah, I’m still pretty good with computers I can definitely help you with anything you need. Just give me a call and I can help.” Kyle wrote his number down on the back of a handout from the counter and gave it to Derrick. “Thanks, man. I really appreciate the opportunity to help you. You don’t understand how much this means to me.”

But little did Kyle know Derrick did know how much it meant to him. This experience was going to change his life and get him out of that video store for good; just like he wants.

Teacher comments:
I like the characters, especially the guy in the store. You did well staying in his POV. Watch your verb tense -- you slipped just a bit at the end of the story into present tense. Work on making your dialogue smoother and more natural. Guys usally talk (even in fiction) in really short sentences. This just takes practice on every writer's part.  Try to open more into the action and save the backstory for later.  Good grammar!! Looking forward to your revisions.


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