Physical traits (height, weight, hair and eye colour, scars, distinguishing characteristics)
Tristan is a strong man. He is about 5ft 8 and of a very sturdy build, thick muscular arms and a heavy set waist. He has broad shoulders, with tribal tattoos stretching from his neck down to his wrists on both arms. His hair is thick and black and it curls in an uncontrollable way, not that Tristan would ever try to preen it. His eyes are dark brown, like melted chocolate, his skin tanned and weather beaten. He looks grubby, dusty. As though he has just returned from a long time in the desert. On his chests is his Paratrooper regiment crest, tattooed over his heart.
Basic familial relationships (are they married, have children, no siblings, two mothers?)
He was married, once. She left him two years ago, or rather threw him out of the house when his drinking became too much. Phoebe was her name. He still has to see her now and again so he can see his daughter, Jolie. Tristan has a sister but he hasn’t seen her in years. She wanted to become an actress and was doing quite well at it until she had her daughter. They had a huge falling out after their parents died, just before he was first sent out to Afghanistan 11 years ago. They haven’t spoken since.
Sunday: what did he/she eat for breakfast today? Is this usual? Unusual? And why?
Tristan woke up in the shelter again. The room was big, a dorm with over 30 beds for other me like him, without a home, without a bed to call their own. They were serving porridge again. That was good, it was hot and it was cold outside. He liked the porridge they served at the shelter. He sweetened his bowl with honey and sat at the end of the nearest table and wolfed down the piping hot food.
Monday: what sort of relationship does he/she have with his/her parents? Are they still alive? Does he/she see his/her parents? Why or why not?
Both his parents died 11 years ago. They were unlucky enough to have been driving home one night from the city and a lorry driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel careered into their car, killing them both instantly. He loved his parents. It was a complete shock. He was away in the desert in Oman, completing his final training before his very first deployment with 3rd Para to Afghanistan and he didn’t hear for 3 days that they had been killed. By the time he was able to fly home his sister had already buried them. He missed them everyday and kept a photo of them in his wallet, alongside his picture of little Jolie which he added later when she was born. His mother was homely, motherly and was at her best when loving and caring for people. His father was a gentle giant who enjoyed reading and crosswords. They had always unfailingly supported their children.
Tuesday: what is your character wearing at this exact moment? Are these his/her normal clothes or are they wearing something for a special occasion?
The next day he woke up in the shelter once again. He was lucky, at the moment they always seemed to have space enough for all the men. That would get less frequent the further into winter they went. He still wore his trench coat, he’d slept in it along with his scuffed black combat trousers and favourite T-Shirt that says “Sniper. Don’t run, you’ll only die Tired.” His Niece had bought it for him as a going away present all those years back. His boots were army issue. These were his prize possession along with his coat. They kept his feet warm, dry and as comfortable as possible when you live on the street. He often saw other guys eyeing them up, and so, like with his coat, he wore them to bed whether he was in the shelter or on the street.
Wednesday: if your character is old enough to vote, how is she/he voting in the next election? If your character is too young to vote, how closely do they follow political issues?
Until he was homeless, until Phoebe kicked him out, Tristan always voted Labour. He grew up in an area of relative poverty but his parents worked so hard they had given both him and his sister Ebony a brilliant education and comfortable childhood. His father worked for a Union and always instilled political consciousness and the socialist ideals in them both. Now however he can no longer vote. A man of ‘no fixed abode’.
Thursday: where would your character like to go on vacation? Why?
Tristan’s dream vacation right now would be to surf in Cornwall. He dreads the thought of any more hot sun on his back, the burns, the dust, the blood and death that heat only now associates with in his mind. He longs for the gentle warmth of a British summer, the cool of the Atlantic waves on his face, the board wet and smooth beneath his feet, the soft nip of the evenings biting as the sun finally descends after a full day in a pub beer garden. That to him tastes like freedom.
Friday: describe where your character lives.
Right now it’s the men’s shelter in Bristol. It’s quite big but they all know each other, most of the time. It’s not a friendly place though, they are all there to survive, not to make friends. The people who come to serve food though are another matter. To Tristan they seem like angels, selflessly giving up their evenings, their afternoons, their mornings to come and help him and the others. For Tristan they make the place as homely as possible.
Saturday: does your character like him/herself? What are their favourite personal traits? What do they wish they could change about themselves?
He is proud of his strength. He was always stronger than everyone else and he was always an athlete. He could conquer any sport he took on. He played rugby for his regiment and rather enjoyed ‘sandball’, that is army volleyball rigged up roughly in the desert encampment. Tristan is a sharp shooter. A sniper unmatched. He wouldn’t change that talent for the world. He would however change his temper. Whilst never violent to his wife, he was verbally very vicious and would cut her down in any argument. In that state she could say or do nothing to get him back, he could not listen. A truly black temper could descend on him in a second and he would be unable to shake it. Red mist doesn’t come close, this temper was blacker than death.