Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What Do Your Characters Carry?

To me, character development is one of the most important parts about fiction. I have filled out charts, made a Power Point, etc.

But today, I thought of another way to define my characters: by what they carry.




My protagonist is a bit of a princess, so she alternates between different designer handbags and often carries a few lip glosses, a notebook, a tiny make up kit, etc.

Her best friend only carries around a hand embroidered wristlet that is bulging from a tube of Chapstick.

The main male character is very environmentally conscious and frugal, so he has a clip (at most) or a thin wad of cash around his I.D.

What do your characters carry? What are your favorite ways to define your characters?

*Picture from weheartit.com

15 comments:

  1. My girl protagonist carries a can of ass-whoopin'.

    My boy? An iPod. And a silver locket. He's weird like that :)

    Cool post!

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  2. My main character is a bit of a neatnik so her purse has just the essentials, everything in its spot. Her best friend, however has a miniature suitcase with scraps of paper (important numbers scribbled on them), snacks, and God only knows what else in there.

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  3. Interesting question! One of my characters is a messenger, so she carries a letter bag.

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  4. My characters don't carry anything. They are trendy for sure. Short one..so no scope for anything :D Have a nice weekend.

    Well i appreciate you for keeping the lead male character as an environmentalist.

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  5. My MCs are in Steampunk England. The female is homeless at the beginning, so she's got a satchell with a change of clothes and a blanket. The male carries a few tinkerings in his pockets. :)

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  6. My Regency heroine carries a reticule with a handkerchief and some change. My contemporary heroine doesn't carry anything, her "stuff" is kept in the glove box of her truck.

    Interesting post.

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  7. Oh wow!! A reticule is soo cool!!

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  8. My character carries very expensive purses--lots of them! the guy--a worn out wallet. My new MC-- a backpack.

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  9. It's funny you mention this, because as I'm reading through my recently-completed MS and thinking about it, I started noticing the lack of detail in her daily life. I never say what she's wearing, whether she carries a purse--nada. In the very beginning, I mention a purse in the seat of her car, and that's it. I guess when I think about her, she's got money and cards stuck in her pants.

    Physically, I suppose I define her by her hair.

    Great post!

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  10. I tried this once, by defining my characters by what they have in their pockets, but it didn't work as well as I'd liked. For me, I find that my characters work best when they develop naturally as I write - they're people in my head, so I can't really define them by anything. That said, I do always like to know key details about them - like the fact that one of my antagonists wears silver pyjamas. *shakes head sadly* He has funny ideas about fashion.

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  11. I love this post!

    I've never actually thought of this! My charactes don't have handbags, but they do have a lot of oddities and quirks that define them.

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  12. I've never thought of this, but I love your idea! Makes me think I need to create a little something for her. Thanks!

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  13. Good question - I haven't got a specific purse yet for my MC and she's a very fashionable girl (unlike me). Good tip! And I loved your list of things that keep you going - the Dove Chocolate, the eucalyptus spearmint lotion (gotta try that)

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  14. I'm glad that I'm not the only one with a protagonist who is more fashionable than me!!

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  15. Great question, Saumya! I've done a writing prompt like this before, influenced by Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. I might have included it in a Wednesday post already, or it's for a future writing workout post. I can't remember! Anyway, it's definitely something to think about for characters. What's in their pockets can show clues to the reader about who the character is without having to tell much!

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