#AmWriting – Writing Exercises – Building Your Character

(This is part of the writing exercises for my writing course.)

For this exercise I had to come up with a new character and write two paragraphs about him/her. After rereading some old ideas and notes I’ve returned to an older idea that I had about a resurrectionist. As I’ve only just started on the plot, I don’t want to give away everything. The story’s working title is “The Flower of a Ghost”.

Disclaimer: This is another dark story.

Building Your Character

Aidan Wright left the damp soil of the graveyard behind him, shifting the heavy canvas into a more comfortable position on his shoulder. He shuddered. For all the times he had done this, he still gagged at the idea – and smell – of carrying a dead body through the dark streets of London just after the witching hour. Hands that may, in a different life, have been suited to play the piano, had been hardened by work, the soil of the graveyard worked into his skin so that he felt as if he could never quite be rid of it. As a gravedigger he was as much a part of the graveyard as it was of him. He struggled down the night-black alleys as fast as his limp would take him, an old handkerchief bound over the lower part of his face to try and keep the smells at bay.

When at last he reached the correct door, he carefully put the body down on the ground and knocked twice. Muffled footsteps came closer until an older man opened the whitewashed door, a lantern with the flame turned right down, in his hand. The light lit Aidan’s large brown eyes, making him squint and lift a dirt-covered hand in front of his face.

“Brought him,” Aidan said in a low voice.

“Put it inside.”

Aidan heaved the body into his arm and carried the corpse inside to one of the tables. His hand lingered on the dead man’s brow for a moment, a silent prayer sounding in his mind.

“I’ll need a new one next week.”

Aidan nodded.

“Mister Wright, I do believe you have forgotten something.”

“I –“ Aidan began, checking the canvas in his hands and then realising what the surgeon was referring to. “Thank you for your help,” he stuttered and headed back out into the cold of the early morning, making for home. He wrapped his patched coat around him as the wind tousled his dark hair. In the distance a bell tolled twice.


By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.


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