Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's in your Wallet?

From the Speakers: BROKEN by Stream of Passion
Just Read: REAL MONEY by Jim Cramer--Great book for young investors like myself!
Reading Now: THE INNER CIRCLE by Brad Meltzer

Time for more writing exercises.

I managed to write two short-shorts today using this exercise. It's great for getting to the heart of characters, and we all know character-based stories are the ones everybody loves. So here goes:

Find a few pictures of people (characters) you don't know--newspapers and magazines are great sources, but I'm sure Google Images would suffice--and study them one by one for a minute or so. After that minute, make a list of things they might carry in their wallet or purse. Get creative with it and make some leaps and assumptions about them. You'll be surprised by what you think up.

Here's mine. I know you can't see the pictures I'm looking at, but maybe if I've done a good enough job, you'll see the character I saw in my head.

Picture 1: In her purse, she carried a special theater ticket, a plane ticket to a conference, a pen light, neosporin, bandaids, spare earrings, drug company pens.
Picture 2: In his wallet, he had an AHA Basic Life Support card, gym card, library card, a many-folded piece of paper with a list of medications, an unsigned slip of paper with "Thank you" handwritten on it.
Picture 3: In her purse, she had an emergency makeup kit, five spare pens, a creased pocket notebook, a St. Jude prayer card, a miniature metal cross that's warped and has black marks on it.
Picture 4: In his wallet, he carried gift cards, coupons, a list of phone numbers for influential people, directions to a country club, an eighteen-hole score card three under par.
Picture 5: In her purse, she had a spare pair of glasses, a pack of Crest white strips, an empty cartridge of lipstick, pictures of her family, sticky notes, the soccer coaches' phone numbers, and lots of gum wrapper trash.

Okay, there are my people. Now I can throw them all into a situation and make a story out of it. Personally I'm most intrigued by the fourth guy because it seems like he tries to look rich for other people, and the first lady because she looks like she's got a unique job or hobby that would make great details for a character's back story.


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