As part of an in class writing exercise I had to write a short non-fiction piece from a sympathetic and a non sympathetic perspective. It’s an exercise for those of us writing the long form pieces in our advanced writing class specifically. Here is what I wrote. Names have been changed.
Character Development Writing Exercise
Mark heard the excitement of the dogs as his mom came home. The excitement quickly turned to growling. Within seconds, aggression broke out and the two puppies were attacking each other. Mark hastily made his way to the dogfight. He stood over them. He grabbed one by the hind legs, pulling the pup away from the other. This usually worked, but for some reason, they were still going at it. He let go, and the fight continued. He started getting frustrated. His face contorted with anger. He was getting fed up with the pups fighting. He didn’t have the money to get both pups neutered, and this was the third fight that had happened so far today. Add the lack of sleep on top of it all; having to clean up after everyone else’s messes, baking and cooking for the family every day, and the job search coming up with nothing yet again, Mark had had enough. He grabbed both pups by the scruff of their neck and held them at arms length away from each other, as they growled and tried to break free.
“THAT’S ENOUGH!” He yelled, as his mom stood idly by. “I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF THE FIGHTING! BOTH OF YOU ARE DONE!”
He waited until they were both calm, and then let them go.
Amy came home and heard the sounds of the TV from the living room. She decided she would join her family – whoever happened to be there. She grabbed her laptop from her bag and took a seat at the kitchen table. Remembering that Mark – her brother – had been baking, she quickly ran to the basement to grab the chocolate pecan squares from the fridge.
She brought them up and placed them on the table, grabbing a few plates for herself, Mark, and her mom. Mark came over as she placed three squares on her plate.
“You’re having three?” He asked, smiling.
“Well everything you make goes so fast, I want to make sure I get more than one.”
“So it doesn’t make a difference that I do so much around the house, but I don’t make enough food for people. Thanks,” he said angrily. He sat down on the couch, crossing his arms, clearly agitated.
“That’s not what I meant!” she exclaimed. She tried to speak calmer, lowering her voice. “I mean everything you make is so good that people just devour it. It gets eaten so fast. It’s a compliment.”
“No it’s not, it’s an insult. Apparently there’s no way of pleasing anyone in this house.”
“Forget it,” said Amy in irritation. She grabbed her plate and her laptop and isolated herself in her room.