Faber Session 3 – Kidnapping A Character (or permission to stalk)


I never thought when I arrived at class this morning that I’d be asked to do some stalking lol

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The ground floor Faber hallway.

But that’s exactly what Tim asked us to do today. We had an hour and a half this morning to go out, find a character (somebody we found interesting), and follow them. We had to make notes on their clothing, the way they walked, talked (which meant if we had to resort to asking them directions so be it!), what they looked like…. Everything we could possibly observe about them, to build up a picture.

I found a guy in the British Museum who walked in a very distinctive way. I followed him and his family around the museum, out to a book shop, and then through the streets until he got into a taxi. I learnt his name, who the other members of the family were, plus got most of the physical details Tim was looking for.

When we got back to Faber everyone admitted they had initially been apprehensive about the task, but most of us had loved it. It was really good fun! One girl even got on a tube to follow her character! There’s dedication!

Tims advice had been “try not to get busted” ha ha ha! And there was me wearing a bight red coat! Lol. I’m sure my guy was thinking “why is that woman in the red coat everywhere I go?” ;)

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My classroom

The afternoon was spent doing work on our characters, including pairing up and creating scenes where our characters met for the first time.

So I had a good day, which included Sushi from Wasabi mmmmmmmm :)

Back home relaxing now….I’m shattered :)

I just can’t wait to go stalking again :)

Would you do it?

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41 thoughts on “Faber Session 3 – Kidnapping A Character (or permission to stalk)

    • Ha ha ha, our tutor did say that in the past students have been rumbled….his advice, just say you’re a creative writing student and your tutor has asked you to study people.

      Not sure if that excuse would definitely wash though lol

      I was very careful ;)

      Xx

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  1. I’m not sure I’d be willing to follow someone. It feel intrusive to me, but maybe it’s because I wouldn’t want someone to do it to me.

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  2. What a great idea! Sounds like a blast. I was just in London and wish I had thought of it. There were so many chacacters! I settled for people watching, but wish I’d thought of following one or two. And, isn’t that what the boys do in Dylan Thomas’ short story The Followers? It’s one of my fave stories :)

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  3. We should have a badge: I’m not nosey – I’m a writer.
    Never quite gone this far with students (close but not this close). I should have more courage & go for it – or get them to go for it.

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    • Ha ha ha, nooooo.

      It wasn’t a typical family. It turns out it was brother & sister with their dad and her teenage son. The guy of the group who I was using was about 50. I thought they were husband and wife at first but the woman, old man and boy were staying in a hotel, my guy, lived in London. He went home in a taxi and the other 3 went back to their hotel ;)

      I don’t think they spotted me ;)

      Xx

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    • Ha ha ha!

      See my answer to Elliot above Lisa for the “family” set up ;)

      Even though I was wearing the brightest coat possible I really don’t think they had a clue. One of the girls in my class was following a young bloke round the museum. He clicked straight away and started ducking and diving around til she lost him. She was sooo embarrassed. She thought he thought she fancied him! Lol

      Xx

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  4. I think it would be OK to do this for a very short time where there are other people about (say watch someone in a cafe and try to overhear them a bit) but wouldn’t want to follow anyone so long they became uncomfortable*. Besides, if you learned too much you’d be writing a biography, not creating a character.

    * I’m sure you didn’t do that.

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    • Oh gawd no Patsy! The last thing I’d want to do is make anyone uncomfortable, so I kept my distance ;)

      I understand what you say about a biography, but, I think the main thing I learnt from the exercise was/is to be observant. I went through the physical description I’d written down in class, and then the tutor asked me about his ears…..damn, I hadn’t even noticed them! It made me realise what small details I often miss ;)

      Xx

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  5. Im watching football (well sort of- actually reading – hubs is watching) but instead of looking at their legs, all I can see is ears!!!

    Never thought about following someone, not too sure about that, I dont think I would like to be followed, could be quite dangerous – well I am reading James Patterson and I centainly wouldnt want to follow one of his characters.

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  6. Following someone like that would make me really nervous! I think I could do it for a short while, but I would probably chicken out once the person moved out onto the street.
    Good for you on getting so much info!

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    • I was Kirsten! Seriously lol

      It was amazing the different approaches people had. One lady in class chose a guy who was sketching in the museum. After watching him for ages she decided to go and talk to him, interview him. Another guy decided to head straight to a coffee shop and strike up a conversation with the barista. He found out so much about this girls life.

      Thanks honey :)

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  7. What a fantastic exercise. I absolutely love this! It would be kind of scary worrying that you might get busted – but (my writer side kicked in) – I immediately thought of this being the basis for a story. “Vikki goes out to do this exercise and gets more than she bargained for, etc.” Hahaha – I just can’t help myself! :D

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  8. It worries me that I would enjoy doing this so much! Sometimes I get so involved in other peoples conversations on buses that I have to stop myself chiming in! lol. Does being a writer excuse this?

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    • I know EXACTLY what you mean Pauline ;)

      I overheard a conversation recently when I was standing outside a hotel having a fag. I was so eager to get it written down that I just had to stub out my cigarette and rush back to my writing group to write it down.

      I think it’s the nature of being a writer….we’re constantly aware of picking up ideas ;)

      Xx

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  9. I’m not sure I could stalk someone, but I have been known to sit in a coffee shop and people watch, so I suppose it’s only the next step lol. Sounds like your having a load of fun while working hard :) x

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  10. It’s a brilliant exercise for observing characters. Everybody you see in the street could be a character in a book. Except some people are so weird a reader wouldn’t believe you. I followed a 30 something guy along Oxford Street thinking he could be a hero in my story. He looked (and either touched his hair, put up his coat collar, or just posed) in every shop window. And there are a lot of shop windows along Oxford Street. He ended up in my short story as a vain, arrogant, selfish character. Strange thing was, he wasn’t that hot to look at.

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  11. Pingback: Which Comes First? The Story or The Character? | The View Outside

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