Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Hi all! I've been asked to make a homework assignment, so here it is:

Tell me about your character (real, made up, major or minor, family pet, anything goes).
But don't make it a list.

I am curious about their happy place.

H-A-P-P-Y. Even if they are drooling and sedated in a padded cell, they must have had a moment of joy at some point in their lives. That moment / place / person / event that would be pure bliss. If they have 1,000 such moments, you may pick the one YOU like the most.

So here it is:

  • How (if at all) does / did your character prepare for this Happy Place (or did it just happen)
  • The first moment of their Happy Place was...
  • How did (or does) the Happy Place play out?
  • How or why must they leave this Happy Place?
  • What do they think of when they are on their way to the next 'place'?

Again, I don't want a list. Make it a scene. Play it like it is a TV, Movie, or event caught on someone's camera phone. Set the scene. Make us smell it, hear it, and see it (as your character does).

Post the scene below!

Yes... that means I have to do one as well...


  1. Runny eggs and cold coffee was the love coming from Aaron Wessel’s wife this morning.
    Hell of a way to start a long day. Heh… weekend. As the chief of police on a Friday before Memorial day, the weekend was going to prove to be a nasty one. He finished up, gave the kid a rub on the head and his wife the peck on the cheek.

    Check and check.

    The squad car was parked in the drive. He had brought it home after topping it up at the yard. Holiday weekends were never quiet for the force. He liked to be able to be a presence at whatever was going to happen this weekend. That meant making his on-call office as mobile as possible.

    Prior to making it into the office, he had to run back-up at a high school party ‘morning after’ bust. Then it was off to the church for a heads up to some of the kid’s parents. Politics and more politics.

    After checking in downtown, he got back into the cruiser. One block over, he got back out.

    There was a bus parked around back of the town hall. One of the smaller ones. He noted that a basement window had been opened a few inches. Soothing rhythms of piano jazz whispered from it. The speakers must have been set up right underneath the window, because the murmurs and sudden outbursts of laughter wasn’t drowning it out. He heard a voice say “Looks like the Chief is here…”

    The voice might have been Jimmy’s. Could be his brother Jack. A year apart, but those two could be twins. Wessel smiled as he took the steps two at a time. Jimmy’s voice sounded happy.
    For almost an hour, Wessel had a second breakfast with his other family. Five kids; all orphans, victims of tragedy and personal horrors that had taken their families away from them. He played a few hands of poker with the older ones, always making sure to never let anything other than a pair end up in his hand. He left that table with handshakes all around and a wallet that was twenty-three bucks lighter. He sat with Sandra for a bit and watched her draw in the small sketchbook that he had brought along. She was into portraits these days. She talked about shading verses hard lines, off-set eyes to add realism, and (quietly) whispered her concern that she felt kind of weird drawing ethnic groups outside of her own. It wasn’t a racist thing; more of a sense of invaded space, she felt she was invading a personal space because of her need to study different ethnic details. Wessel suggested that she pick up some National Geographic’s and copy out a few of the folks from that. He couldn’t help but smile as a light of inspiration sparked behind those soft hazel eyes. The phone beeped and vibrated.

    He blinked at the sound. The smile never left, but the warmth sure did. Aaron was pulled back into the real world. It was a text from the matriarch of Blocgarten, Gaam Onondaga.

    Before leaving, he collected the billing invoice from Mrs. Sommers (looking at the total, he figured that he would be eating runny eggs for the next week).There were hugs and handshakes all around. A second text from Gaam pulled Aaron out of the building, making him put on his Chief face. Some hippy had been slaughtered by a beast out on her property.

    The chief was glad he packed extra bags in the back of the cruiser. Yes sir, it was going to be a busy weekend.

  2. This actually turned out to be a nearly impossible bit of homework for me. If anything, my characters are on a constant search to find their "happy place." In fact, I fear a lot of my characters are at the point in their lives where they are convinced that such a place may not exist. Must be the Russian Jew in my background, always fleeing the Cossacks, that sort of thing.

    However, in pondering this assignment, I did come to the conclusion that the happy place for my characters (and possibly for us all) is indeed the journey to find said happy place. It's a journey fraught with peril, pitfalls, and potholes but shit...

    ...that's life!

    So I must ask for either an extension or an incomplete on this particular assignment!!!

    Sigh...some things never change....

  3. No worries! Let's all move onto a new page...

    1. I wrote mine the last time we met, but then I didn't enter it into the computer. I've edited it a little, and of course I'm not happy with it. The homework did get me thinking about other parts of my story, and it helped me go much deeper into character and place than I originally did. See below for my attempt:

      None of the boy's friends in town had a machine shed. The long side hugged the west end of the barnyard, separating it from the fields. Three sets of doors stood in contrast to the blue metal siding in the afternoon sun. The boy walked through the one in the center and lost himself.

      He inspected pieces of old wood and scrap metal that his father picked up over the winter. He wrote his name in the dust that covered the floor, then erased it with one breath. He climbed into the seat of the bucket tractor, then jumped down to the floor. This didn't thrill him. He already knew how to drive it.

      In the workshop area, he gathered two pieces of pipe to weld for a project. Then he opened a wooden drawer and rooted around for the box of matches. He knew more about fire than most fourteen-year-old boys. He thought about this as he stacked logs in the metal stove, lit a match, and positioned the flame at the edge of the dry wood where it caught and the fire came to life.

  4. Love it, Jennifer! Great hooks all over the place. I find myself asking where his dad is, what time of year it is (part of my mind thinks early spring, part thinks the cooling days of autumn), what his welding project is going to be, and why he knows so much about fire. Ironically, it isn't until typing this that I begin wondering about his mom, siblings, and his friends (if any)... I tend to be a trusting reader, allowing the author to guide my mind by what is mentioned rather than looking for what is missing. Great immersion. I can hear the wind gusts rattling the sheet metal siding! Thanks.