Sunday, February 21, 2016

What's in YOUR Character's Wallet?

Or purse, or reticule, or pocket.

You know how the cops on cop shows go through the corpse’s pockets and find Clues? You can do that with your characters. Not just, you know, the dead ones. Or the undead ones, depending on what you write.

This is a great exercise, especially if you’ve been drinking are with a fellow writer who has read your stuff and whose stuff you’ve read; you can tell one another what you think is in the other’s characters’ wallets. You can challenge one another, like, “Okay, what’s in Heathcliff’s wallet?”

I mean, think about what’s in YOUR wallet. Better yet, go through your wallet and SEE what’s in there. Mine has credit card, debit card, driver’s license, rewards cards for hotels and stores, a picture of my mother when she was pregnant with me that was given to me by my husband’s oldest sister who was friends with her back then, the address and phone number of my pal Pat, postage stamps, photos of relatives, a picture of Dennis Kucinich, a photo of a mom and kid I don’t know but found discarded and felt sorry for….

In my purse, now, I have So. Many. Things.

If you’re stuck on a characterization or a plot point, try this exercise, and see if it shakes something loose. It might not bring up anything you want to use, but it might get those juices flowing again, or it might inspire a character twist or depth you hadn’t thought of before.

Marian Allen, Author Lady
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

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