Monday, June 17, 2013

What's in your characters pockets?

What’s in your character’s pockets?

The more detail you have about a character the more real they become to your readers. That doesn’t mean you have to spill all those juicy little details. There is such a thing as TMI (too much information) for fictional people too, but only on the readers side.

The more information an author has the stronger they can build the story elements. Characters being the most important, with out them our plots would go nowhere. Writers have a standard set of information on a character.

We know if their handsome, what color hair they have, where they grew up, if a life event brought them to where they are now. All those things are needed and shape the character but what about the tiny details that make us real.

It is said that the things we carry around in our purses or pockets everyday can tell a persons story all on their own. Not so sure about that but pocket contents can be very telling about the person’s likes/dislikes or a bit about their personality.

Let’s take a look at my mess purse contents and see what they have to say.  *dumps mini messenger bag style bag and hopes there’s nothing embarrassing.*

 Let’s see.. with all the pens, notebook, and author cards you can tell I’m a writer. That I have asthma by the inhaler and cough drops.  I like Pirates of the Caribbean, Russell Crowe and Adrian Paul *blushes as her fangirl obsessions are reviled. 

By the Sponge Bob lens cloth I wear glasses, the batteries would be sitting with the camera but I had to use that to take the pic :o) Never leave the house without it. Now you know about me… your turn.

Take your purse and pour out the contents or empty your pockets. You might find five bucks you didn’t know about in the bottom like I did. This can be a very lucrative exercise. What little details fall out of your pockets?

Now let’s turn it around on our characters. What would your hero carry around with him every day in his jeans? What are your heroine’s must haves when she leaves the house?

For an example we’ll make Jackson Prince from my novel Don’tTouch empty out his pockets. Come on Jackson don’t be shy.

*he grumbles dumps out his pockets…  He can be cranky when he hasn’t had enough coffee. :o) Let’s see what we’ve got here… Keys, wallet, change, some bills in a worn money clip, handcuffs, rubber gloves, a couple small empty evidence bags, and a pocket knife.

‘Looking’ at this pile of junk you can deduct he’s a cop, but there’s a little more if you examine it. He carries the essentials nothing more so he’s not a complicated guy, likes things to be simple even though they never are. The worn money clip says a lot on its own, as most men will put their bills inside their wallets.  The clip is more than likely a memento, something with personal meaning. (if you want to know the story of Jackson’s money clip you’ll have to read Don’t Touch to find out :o)  That adds a detail to the character that a reader might relate to him.

We all have those standard items we carry but it’s those little extras like a money clip, photograph, engraved pen, lucky coin, or religious item that can tell a bit about who we are. Or who our characters are, making them more realistic and relatable to readers.

Now it’s your turn. What’s in your characters pockets? 

1 comment:

Sandra Tyler said...

So true! A lesson I often taught my writing students. It's those fine details that can reveal the most about character.