This morning Elana Johnson, Alex J. Cavanaugh and Jennifer Daiker are hosting The Great Blogging Experiment. I'm tagging along in addressing "Writing Compelling Characters".
The first thing that came to mind when I signed up for this blogfest was one of my characters that has the ability to compel others to do her will.
Every student in the school was crowded into the gym for the mandatory pep rally. “Come on everybody! Up on your feet! Do it with me people! Give me an R! Gimme an A! Now an M and an S! Who are we? The Rams!” The Compulsion Cassie was throwing out into the packed gym was even reaching me at the back of the bleachers. She really had a thing for school spirit. Of course, I had learned how to fend off her Compulsions years ago.
“Are you positive that you and Cassie are truly siblings? I know your facial characteristics are strikingly similar, but personality-wise…”
“Ryan, believe me, some days I wish it weren’t true. Like today, with her jumping around and screaming at the top of her lungs in front of the whole school.”
“Why?” Kayla, like so many other girls in my class, idolized my older sister. “She’s an incredible motivator. It’s as if you believe you can do anything just because she says you can. Her energy and drive are contagious. She’s just so…”
Kayla tilted her curly blond head, almost bonking me with her halo. “I don’t know if that’s the word I would use.”
Ryan screwed up his face in thought, and then nodded. “Yes, I agree, that word fits her. She has an attractive and compelling personality.”
“You don’t know the half of it,” I mumbled under my breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing. At least I can be hopeful she’ll be hoarse after this and won’t be able to nag me for a couple of days.”
A roar of the crowd that rivaled the rumblings of my gut brought my attention back to the middle of the gym, where the Rams football team came trotting in, one by one. Last, but not least –at least in his mind – came the swaggering Bobby Gentry, star quarterback. I often wondered what kind of a loser he would be in real life – I mean without the influences of his girlfriend, head cheerleader and class president, my peppy and overzealous sister.
Some people are more easily influenced than others. Bobby was a lump of clay and Cassie was the sculptor. If she ever entered politics, that girl would rule the world. And Mom thought she had her hands full with me.
My attention was snagged once again as the next player came wondering into the gym from the change rooms. He was in uniform, but it was different. It was the same white with red and black trim as the Rams’ away game uniforms, but the style was slightly different. The other players in the gym were wearing the solid red home game uniforms with black trim. This guy carried his helmet in his hand. He looked at the crowd, bewildered. Behind him, more players, just as bewildered, filed in. Some of these players were covered in soot, others in blood with their uniforms tattered.
The rest of the gym’s occupants carried on with their fanatic football worship service, oblivious to the second team entering the room. All at the same moment, the team stopped and stared at me. I recognized some of them from the photo hung outside the change room doors. This gym had been built as a monument to the 1982 Rams football team that had all been killed in a bus crash.
Crap. Halloween was officially in full swing.