Character Sketch

Here’s the Creative Writing Assignment from this week: character sketch. The catch? Rely primarily on the environment, not physical features. Not as easy as it sounds.


Gingerly, as if frightened of splitting the haunting silence, Hunter pushed open the door to her bedroom.  The hall light spilled in, illuminating the beige carpet.  He’d never understood why she selected that particular rug; the color didn’t suit her.  Too bland.  He took a careful step forward, his toes brushing the white stain where she’d spilled Bleach while applying it to spaghetti sauce on her favorite blouse.

He inhaled deeply, unintentionally inviting her raspberry scent to his nose.  She adored raspberries; all of her feminine products featured their smell: perfume, shampoo, air freshener, ever her deodorant.  He’s questioned her about it once.  She responded without hesitation that the scent calmed her.  She could keep her Irish pride in check so long as she smelled raspberries.

He flipped on the light switch to see better.  How could those lime green walls have ever slipped his mind?  Why lime green, Holly? He recalled voicing his confusion to her when she’d asked him to paint the room for her.   Well to match my hair of course, Hunter! Everyone knows green and red fit together best. Besides, it’s different.  Her musical voice echoed in his mind, clear as a bell, like she stood by his side.

Music.  He tip-toed past her bed topped with a purple quilt that had been in the Italian side of her family since 1888 when they came off the boat.  His fingers brushed the netted canopy hanging over it that made her feel like a Disney Princess before he halted in front of her oak desk.  What a mess!  The drawers rested half open, many a time he had acquired a bruised shin when walking by them without paying attention. Several were stuffed to the brim, overflowing with useless trinkets she could never bring herself to discard.  Mountains of loose sheet music and uncapped pens completely obscured the seldom used desk calendar.

How many times had he seen her mulling over those original Holly musical compositions? How many countless times had he casually leaned against the doorframe watching her flit from her perch at that desk to her keyboard beside it and hum to herself while she scribbled a flat on the paper or plunked out a few sharps to make the piece just right?  She freed the melodies trapped in her head at that desk.

Those haphazardly strewn sheets of music she labored over so meticulously were all he had left of her.

Copyright Aspiring Novelist. All rights reserved.


About Miss Rosemary

is a recent college graduate from NY hoping to complete her novel of ten years. Stop by her blog, Miss Rosemary's Novel Ideas at or contact her at with comments, questions and suggestions. She'd love to hear from you! View all posts by Miss Rosemary

4 responses to “Character Sketch

  • krisceratops

    What a great exercise! An awesome way to give a description without sounding terribly contrived. (Although the red hair portion jumped out at the editor in me a bit–a little less subtle than the rest of the imagery you’ve used.)

    There is more than just physical description as well here… the reader really gets a sense of the relationship between these two despite the brevity of the piece.

    • Aspiring Novelist

      Thanks!! This was my favorite exorcise we’ve done in class so far. I usually hate doing descriptions so anytime I can use them for a double purpose it makes me happy.

      And yeah, the red hair part could come out but it’s a compulsive problem I have to make all my favorite characters fellow gingers 🙂 haha!

  • moniquejblog

    Great story! You write very good descriptions of the characters. The description of Holly’s room also says a lot about Holly as a person. Good job!
    Polite Society, a new online novel!

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