Day 10: Character Profile From Someone Who Doesn’t Remember How To Write Fiction

She has unmemorable features: a straight nose that is free of lumps, bumps, or that noticeable skew of a healed fracture. It’s covered with a light spray of freckles now. Summer has passed and as the cold dark days drone on, the freckles are fading. They seem finite now, as though you could count them and not lose your place. Her eyes are hazel and her vision is perfect, and she’s always sort of envied the girls who need glasses; she’d like a pair. She imagines she’d pick a trendy statement pair, so as to give people something to notice. As it is, when Kelly runs into people she sees them straining as they search their memory to recall if they’ve met her, and if they are actually able to place her, they almost never remember her name. She thinks the glasses might help.

Her hair is brown and wavy and she often slides it into a ponytail. She longs to be one of those women who can look chic wearing a ponytail but instead finds that she looks more tousled second grader than polished sophisticate.

She often purses her lips together, a habit formed during her two years of wearing braces. Two years of hiding her teeth and now that her teeth are straight and even, she still presses her lips together tightly. When she laughs though, she forgets herself and her face and mouth loosen and you can see those teeth and a bit of light in her eyes. She catches herself almost as quickly as it starts and pulls her lips together and continues laughing in this restrained way.

Kelly runs and so her body is long and lean and shapely. She’s not particularly fast but she’s consistent and she’s awake every morning an hour before she needs to wake up, sneakers laced up, feet rhythmically pounding the pavement as she runs. She repeats a mantra in her head as she runs, it helps her keep her pace, keeps her moving steadily: I. Can. Do. This. I. Can. Do. This. I. Can. Do. This…

She has a job she loves in a bookstore. It doesn’t pay much but she’s surrounded by books all day. Books and people, curious people who want to read books and want to find books and she walks past the shelves and she smiles when she sees people leaning into the shelf engrossed in a book. She’s supposed to make them stop, politely and nimbly so they don’t feel they’ve been chastised but feel motivated to carry the book to the counter and make a purchase – but she can’t bring her self to do it. There’s nothing better than finding your place in a book, she knows, and instead she wanders and she watches and she cranes her neck sometimes to see the title or the cover. Later, she’ll look for the books herself – the books from the most enchanted readers. She’ll buy them using her employee discount (it’s not much, she knows, but it’s something) and take them home and try to find that world when she gets home. She feels a little disappointed when she can’t lose herself in it, wonders what those bookstore people were seeing that she can’t.

She shares an apartment with her younger brother, Brian. He’s a bit scattered lately, has trouble holding a job, but Kelly doesn’t seem to mind. She lived alone before Brian took up residence on her couch but the silence was so heavy. His presence is welcome and they are close. She loves having her brother around, their shared history a constant source of conversation, the remember whens and what about that time when…? Brian shares her aversion to goulash and similar mushy-noodled meals that they had so much of when they were younger, their mother a less than stellar cook who relied on meals out of boxes. Kelly feels protective of Brian, and finds his aimlessness endearing rather than annoying. The baby of the family, everyone has always taken care of him and now that it’s just the two of them on their own, Kelly finds she’s still brushing his stray crumbs off the counter and putting the cap back on the gallon of milk.

At 26, she’s far from an old maid but has yet to really figure what she really wants to do with her life. She feels like she should have a plan, something bigger than the bookstore, something bigger than running in the mornings, and cleaning up after her brother. But, she likes her simple life and doesn’t know where to begin in learning how to make her dreams bigger, in reaching higher and she feels like maybe, just maybe that should bother her more. But it doesn’t. Not yet.


About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. This was great!

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