Writing Characters – Cowpat Man

Futurelearn Start Writing Fiction Course 4.9 Writing Character.


Let’s have another look at my roughly sketched farmer, Cowpat man, maybe I can do something with this guy. His hair is trashed but who knows maybe he has potential. If you haven’t met him before, here’s my short description of him:

Arthur’s hair sat on his scalp like an apologetic cowpat. His life had turned into a hopscotch, he leapt from pat to pat but nothing changed. His horizons narrowed with every throw of the dice. He was not a gambling man but he sensed that his luck was out. The aloe vera juice oiling his biography had formed a stagnant, tropical pool.

Now at this stage Futurelearn asked us to add more detail, do some background research, and ask some what if questions. Where do I begin? I turned to my friend google for a quick bit of background information about farmers. Well it didn’t take me long to realise what I probably already knew deep down. Our farmers really deserve our admiration because:

Farming is one of the most unstable jobs in the world, at the mercy of a fluctuating economy and unpredictable weather.

Farmers have to learn from their mistakes.

Farmers have to be jack of all trades.

I really liked this one, the list was endless, let’s start with him being a













construction builder, ……..


Not just that but:

Farmers have to know how to network.

Farmers have to be creative.

Farmers have to be great problem solvers.

The list is endless. Respect. Forget Superman.


We have a new superhero. Cowpat man! Well his silhouette any way!


Well no wonder Cowpat man was depressed when I first discovered him, who wouldn’t be? I think with all that he has to cope with in his multi tasking life we can forgive him for having a bit of a flutter, after all, his whole life is a bit of a gamble. Failure is a word he daren’t utter. How is he going to feed his customers if his crops fail, or his livestock die? Maybe he’s a bit of a reckless show off, buying fancy machinery and investing unwisely. Now I can really see my character taking form, leaping from pap to pat. He needs an escape route. He’s fed up of being at everyone’s beck and call. Even his wife is beginning to irritate him. That’s where the Aloe Vera juice that’s oiling his sad biography comes into its own, because he wants to escape, from everyone, to a tropical paradise, with palm trees, beaches, and calm tranquillity. No wife, no cows, no cow pats. He needs a cure-all, and Aloe Vera does it all, just look at its supposed health benefits: it’s a digestive aid, lowers blood sugar, cholesterol, boosts energy, and is a tonic. Well that’s what they say. Ok so it tastes pretty foul but Cowpat man is used to foul things, he’s a farmer after all. He can hide the taste in an organic fruit smoothie, move to a tropical island, and grow Aloe Vera plants. Easy. Aloe Vera plants even grow for me, how hard can it be?

So there are the beginnings of Cow pat man. Ok I’m not taking him too seriously but what’s wrong with a bit of a laugh? Go on, surrender!

Images courtesy of Google Image.

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