Well I told all of you about my involvement with the writing project Ten To One. If not, you have read this post.
If you did read that post, you know that I have been included in the top twenty writers, and need to submit two pieces of writing which will be used to determine whether or not I am selected as one of the final ten. The first piece I already finished, which is a character sketch of a character that I created. If I am selected as one of the ten, this character will be the character that I am to write about in the novel. Now, I cannot share everything that there is to know about my character or this novel, but I can share my character sketch.
And I am going to.
Any feedback would be much appreciated (although it’s already submitted so I can’t really change anything). I worked with two of the other twenty writers to help smooth out some rough edges, and come up with a few interesting characteristics to make my character a little more interesting. I hope it worked, because this is 50% of my final judgement for the project.
So, please enjoy reading this character sketch because I really enjoyed writing it.
Oh, and do share your thoughts!
Elijah King had always known exactly what he wanted to do with his life. From the time that he was a young child he had wanted to become a doctor when he grew up, just like dad – Dr. Timothy King. Even his mother Caroline, despite being a teacher, pushed for Elijah to study medicine. There was a kindness in Elijah’s eyes that found it hard to speak untruths, a charming warmth in his personality that could set even the most nervous at ease and a void in his heart that was only filled by helping people. A doctor, apart from being the family occupation for the last three generations, seemed a good fit for Elijah.
The expectations for Elijah to ‘succeed in life’ had been tremendous. As the son of a doctor and a teacher he had been through his fair share of life-lesson lectures, speeches about the importance of education and the expectation to ‘make something of himself’. This kind of strict, controlled upbringing had worked out okay for Elijah, despite not being given much of a say in his own life.
School came easy to him, right from the beginning. It was obvious that he was far more intelligent – in terms of mathematics, grammar and ‘book-skills’ – than his peers, but he was never arrogant or too keen. Elijah enjoyed achieving high scores under the radar so that he was never alienated from his friends.
In fact, his social life had always treated him well. He was every parent-of-teenagers’ dream child, because he was always hanging around ‘a good group of kids’. He found his first girlfriend in high school, but even that didn’t distract him from graduating at the top of his class – just as his parents had wanted.
With scholarships to spend, Elijah wasted no time heading off to university, eager to pursue his life-long dream of becoming a doctor. Before his acceptance into Medical School, Elijah was already achieving grades much higher than any class average, landing him a spot on the esteemed ‘Dean’s List’.
Love found Elijah again in university, but it still failed to distract him from his studies, nor dethrone him of his reign as one of the top students. And, when Elijah was twenty-two years old, all of his hard work had finally paid off. His acceptance letter to the College of Medicine had come during summer holidays, just a few short months after he had applied. His parents were beaming with pride when they read the letter and, bragging to all of their friends, they assured everyone that they knew that this was the happiest day of their perfect son’s life.
Elijah should have been closer than ever to his dreams of donning that white coat, looking after the sick and serving the helpless. However, something along the way had gone wrong.
Today, on the cusp of twenty-five, Elijah works at a bar in Skegness, some fifty miles from his hometown. It has been months since he had informed his parents of his decision to ‘take a year off’ because he had needed to ‘figure some stuff out’. Outside observers might say that his parents took this news – their worst nightmare come true – harder than was necessary, and that they overreacted when they should have supported their child. But, to Elijah himself, it was much more than just an ‘overreaction’.
Mr. and Mrs. King treated Elijah’s decision like a betrayal to their family, insinuating that he had no respect at all for hard-working, successful individuals such as they were. The rift that had formed in just a few short days between Elijah and his parents seemed irreparable. Even his girlfriend, a year shy of graduating from Law School, had evidently sided with his parents, and four years of their relationship was cast away.
The damage had been done, and Elijah had decided his year off of school would need to be a year away from his parents as well. They helped him pack his things, closing him off from his childhood home as he drove away in his little car – the only thing his lifetime of savings had rewarded him.
With his newfound freedom, Elijah responded to a job ad as a bartender for a locally owned bar in Skegness. The training he needed was paid for by the bar owner and he had started working part time. He was quickly shifted to a full time position, after the owner had become impressed with his impeccable work ethic and his willingness to put his job first. That, and he didn’t text on the job.
While the pay was decent enough, it was disheartening to never have anything left over to add to his empty savings account and Elijah always found himself saying: “If I only got paid a little bit more…”
That all changed when he met Jack.
Jack hadn’t lasted long as an employee of the bar, mostly because he ran his mouth a little too much and too freely about his personal life, which – to most – was less than desirable. While he was never much help to Elijah, or any of the other staff, in his short time at work, he did flock to Elijah as if he was a long time friend in need.
“I know a guy. It’s easy, safe and puts a couple extra pounds in your pocket. You could practically do it while you’re working if you’re careful enough…”
The temptation for money won out against his better judgement, and Elijah contacted Jack’s friend. One thing led to another, as they so often say, and it wasn’t long before Elijah found himself buying marijuana by the figurative truckload and selling it to a slowly growing network of consumers, at a premium of course. It took a while before he started making enough money – and acquiring enough customers – to get excited about, but the cash did come quicker than his doubts had allowed him to think.
Of course this hadn’t made him rich but it had provided a safety net as his savings account was now on the receiving end of a steady stream of deposits. He did enjoy a few extra perks as well, so he couldn’t complain. And while he remained a seller and not a user, he didn’t feel like he was missing out.
Despite a lack of communication with his parents, his lack of interest in returning to school anytime soon, a somewhat empty social life, a job that didn’t quite seem to reward his efforts and a slight dabbling in criminal activity, Elijah was living by his own rules, not his parents’. He was making decisions for himself, an almost alien experience to him. His responsibilities gave him a sense of liberty, and his freedom was inspiring.
For the first time in a very long time, he was finally happy to be Elijah King.
Thanks for reading!
What did you think?