August writing exercise – The Olympic effect

It’s hard to avoid thinking of sport at the moment, so why not use this Olympic fortnight as an opportunity to think about your character’s relationship with sport. Do they play any sport? Work out at the gym? Support a team or player? Or are they one of those people who just can’t stand sport of any kind? Think back to your character’s schooldays – were they good at sport or did they hate it? Or like some sports but not others?
Your task this week is to write a scene which shows your character either playing, watching, or talking about sport. Then write a scene of a memory of taking part in some sporting activity as a child. How do these two scenes relate to one another? Think about how you can reveal different aspects of your character through the sport they play or don’t play, and how this can reveal, for example, the ambitions of parents, the rivalry between friends, the fear of failure.
Think, too, of all the unusual sports we’ve seen in action during the Olympic Games – you don’t have to choose the more obvious sports such as football or tennis or swimming, your character could play hockey or have taken up archery or canooing – this could give them some real individuality. And if you’re writing sci-fi or fantasy, why not have fun making up your own sport for your characters, with its own rules and language.

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