A Glimpse of Hanna – Developing Character Through Writing Exercises

I’ve had people ask for excerpts of Unspeakable. I’m hesitant to do that at this point. I want people to get to know my characters, but also don’t want to create spoilers.

Before writing Unspeakable, I sketched out the backstories of all of my characters. I even typed out scenes to help me get to know my characters better. Here’s one that I did for Hanna. I hope you enjoy it.

Dianna Agron looking a lot like Hanna Rutherford
Dianna Agron looking a lot like Hanna Rutherford


Approximately eight years before Unspeakable …


They’re not fighting. It’s worse than that – they’re devoid of anything friendly. Every creek of the house pinches my shoulder blades closer together. Like the tick of a trigger waiting to release. Something will prompt a blow up, it’s just a matter of what.


Not a good time to ask for anything. But I have a job interview tomorrow and need to know if I can get a ride. The bus only runs once an hour on a Sunday, so I’m hoping to avoid having to arrive 45-minutes early.


Mom is polishing the already clean counter top, her nostrils flared, the muscles in her arm quiver. I clear my throat. Barely a sound escapes. But it’s enough. She stops – cold.


I inch backward, regretting my decision. I can find a way to keep myself warm in -30 Celsius weather. I’ll find a bus shelter or something. At least the three walls of glass cut the sharp wind. I can handle the cold – well, the kind related to the weather anyway.


But it’s too late. I’m committed. “What..is..it, Hanna?” she asks without turning, her back rigid.


I squeak out my request, trying to explain. My words tumble over each other.


It’s no matter. My mother breathes out a fiery of angry words. I’m lazy. I’m inconsiderate. I’m selfish. I’ve heard it all before. As she unleashes on me, I stand, stoic as possible. Any retort I give will just fuel her anger. I spare a surreptitious glance at my father, curled over a book in his armchair in the living room. A pain greater than my mother’s fury? My father’s curtain of indifference.

3 thoughts on “A Glimpse of Hanna – Developing Character Through Writing Exercises

  1. JR, I really love your blog!!! I’d comment more often, but my phone always tells me I have the wrong WP password. :s Anyway, I’m so glad you’ve started it, and I love hearing about the journey toward your book. Thanks for sharing all of this with us! :):) xo

    Liked by 1 person

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