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    Hi I'm doing a creative writing class about drama and plays. It's my first time doing anything of the sort so I'm kind of out of my element. I'm a lot more used to writing prose. Anyways we're doing a group project. There's 4 people and we each have to write one character. There are 3-4 scenes and we're graded individually on how well we write each character.

    We've chosen to write about a rich upper class family at a business gala and I'm writing for the grandma. We're only allowed one character per person so at first we thought we'd do you immediate family members eg Mother father etc however we were advised not to do that since it wouldn't be making use of our setting and instead to write for some extended family members.

    Basically we have an uncle, a cousin, the daughter (of the main family eg the uncle's brother) and then the grandma. The uncle is rich smug and successful, it's his business gala. The daughter of the uncle's brother is the same way but what she doesn't know is that her father has gone bankrupt. She spends a lot of money on parties drugs etc. The cousin is in contrast to her she's very giving and modest. What I'm stuck with is the grandmother. She's rich a little bit condescending, passive aggressive etc etc but I'm not exactly sure what her point could be in the play. I get the point of the daughter and the uncle. The daughter is the one whose story we follow, she's short sighted and makes a bunch of mistakes. The uncle is there to thwart her, they don't have a good relationship. It's his party and he doesn't want her making a scene. But as the writers for the grandmother (me) and the cousin are both kind of shy we haven't really been able to influence the story much. But I am pretty stuck anyway.

    What I've thought so far is that she's a rival to the uncle (like Olenna in Game of Thrones and Littlefinger) and while she's just as much as a ***** as the daughter, she genuinely cares for her and acts in her best interest. But I'm not sure how to go about this?

    So I thought maybe since we established that the daughter's father went backrupt, maybe the grandmother is intentionally trying to mess with the uncle? Except I have no idea how since I know nothing about businesses, upper class society etc and playwriting stories are all new to me. Do you guys think it would be a little too far if the grandma was maybe trying to uncover/release a secret or sue the uncle or something? Or is that too Game of Thrones-esque? Or maybe intentionally trying to wreck the uncle's party to serve a vendetta? Also do you know any common business man secrets that could be used to bankrupt/sue a person? Any insight or ideas you could give me would be great! I'm scared to bother my group mates since we're graded individually on our characters. I really want to make the grandma as dynamic as possible! Sorry for all the writing =[

    The easiest way to make a dynamic character for the grandmother would be to get her intimately involved in the main drama. In terms of this story, it would mean having her have purposeful interaction with the daughter and the uncle because if the story follows them, any other arc for the grandmother could be overlooked and not given enough attention to fully show off the character.

    First of all, I personally think that this whole story would make a lot more sense if the story followed was from the uncle's point of view, not the daughter's, as he seems to be the one that connects them all together the best. I know that it's tempting to want to write a story following the young, pretty girl, but I can guarantee that your story will be much stronger if the story is based around the character trying to stop things going wrong rather than the one that makes things go wrong. It means there is chance for a lot more drama and feelings rather than 'short-sighted' problems there for the sake of being there. It also makes sense because it is his party and so you would be able to better explore why he is having this party and things like that. (but I know they are not your characters so this is not a comment to you, but to your group in general if you agree)

    I think that the grandmother's purpose in this play should be antagonistic. I have never watched Game of Thrones so I don't understand those references, but I feel like 'messing' with the uncle would be the best way to go. Perhaps she is the grandmother on the daughter's mother's side of the family, and considering the uncle is from the daughter's father's side, she feels no loyalty to him (alternatively, she is actually the uncle's mother but something dramatic happened between them in the past to make her cut her ties from him) She'll turn up to this party uninvited and her character will have a simple purpose for being in the script: Ruining the night.

    Perhaps the uncle is the reason that his brother became bankrupt and she wants revenge. Maybe she is simply there to find or create some kind of problem that she could use to blackmail the uncle into giving her some of his fortune. Maybe she's simply there to find out what happened to the uncle and try to make amends, but the daughter gets in the middle somehow (perhaps on purpose or accidentally) and things start to go wrong and the grandmother gets blamed even though it wasn't actually her fault. That also leads on to being able to get the cousin involved, and he can be the one to 'save the day'.

    Alternatively the cousin and the grandmother could have their whole own story arc that runs alongside the other two characters rather than all of them combining together, which would be a good idea if you don't feel like you are loud enough to get your ideas across in a whole group discussion. Break off into pairs and then come together to combine them afterwards.

    There's a lot you can do with this group of characters, but the best way to approach it is to think about how the character feels about each other character individually and why, and think about their pasts together and how that will affect any future interactions they have. Once you start thinking about these possibilities things get a lot easier to put together.

    Good luck!
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Updated: November 7, 2015
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