This is a fun ice-breaker exercise to engage a group with writing fiction. It encourages students to develop a new fictional character through a focus on descriptive detail, mixing imagination and creativity with observation skills.
Prep and resources
Students will need a blank A4 page each and a Sharpie (or similar).
Exercise: the ‘sole’ of a character
Ask each student to take off a shoe and draw around their foot.
Starting at the toe, ask them to create a fictional character in their mind and to imagine that character’s feet. What are the feet like? Big, small, calloused? Long toenails? What sort of shoes do they wear?
Next move up to imagine the character’s ankles. Are they strong? Weak?
What about their knees? Do they have scars on their knees? Why?
Carry on moving up the body, encouraging students to think about the clothes that their character wears, the way they hold themselves, the expressions on their face, what their hands are used to holding, etc. Finish at the ends of their hair.
Suggest that students imagine getting inside their characters’ shoes, walking around in them…
Finish by writing for ten minutes about where this character was at 9am today.