Peeking Behind the Myth

imagesHere’s one of the 10-minute exercises from a writing workshop I just did for the Knoxville Writers Guild on using real people in fiction or memoir. In this exercise, we looked at making a more rounded vision of a historical figure. Several people used the prompts with great results for someone in their families (living, dead, or long dead).
There are only two rules: 1) Don’t overthink. Finish this in 10 minutes; and 2) Be bold. Make up what you don’t know.

1. Name a historical/famous person (or family member) with a strong persona or image.
2. What quality stands out?
3. What other quality (perhaps a weakness, dark side, or unlikely ability) might s/he also have?
4. Name a little-known quirk, behavior, or dream.
5. A deep memory/scar/loss.
6. A secret ambtion.
7. One day, your character wanted . . .
8. But . . .
9. So your character chose to . . .

Have fun and if you had good results with this, please share in the comments section.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Writing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Sunday, May 6, 2pm reading from latest work at Hexagon Brewing Company, Knoxville, TN.

Thursday, May 10, 6-8 pm presentation on research on the historical novel, Blount County Library, Maryville, TN.

When We Were Strangers, Italian translation, to be presented in Pescasseroli, Italy, August 2018.

Recent Review
“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts.

Join 2,018 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: