Over the holidays we challenge you to take the time to describe a person you know well, such as a parent, a relative or a friend. Try to describe what makes this person unique.

The art of constructing a character is challenging, but it can be effective to base our writing on the people we encounter in our lives. Listen to the voices of people you know and consider their actions, values and emotions. Here is an example:

My Nan always tucks an embroidered handkerchief into the sleeve of her blouse and sometimes it peeks out when she is reaching across the table or the kitchen bench. She is always reaching out to do something, my Nan – folding washing, mending clothes, kneading dough, making jam or stewing fruit. All of her life her hands have been hard at work, just like her. The skin on her hands is soft to touch, but her knuckles are hard and bony. Her gold wedding band is forever stuck on her ring finger because she can’t get it past her knuckle to get it off. This doesn’t seem to bother my Nan. I think she’s happy with it that way.