Cleaning out the Junk

We all have junk stored somewhere in our homes. It might be on the shelves out in the garage or buried in a closet, but it’s there. We hang onto camping gear that we haven’t used in years, clothes that don’t fit and by the time they do, will be out of style. We shelve books that we read once and believe that we’ll read again next to those that are waiting to be read.

We collect, thanks to friends, cookbooks that have never left the shelf. We have spices that are out of date and cookware that is badly in need of replacement.

And storage containers! Think of all the ones we keep but never use!

If we’ve got junk, then our characters do as well. This is something for you to think about. What kind of junk does she have and where does she keep it? Why does she hang onto these things?

What does he intend to do with all the stuff he has hidden away? Is he going to have a garage sale or give it away?

Even if you never use this information in a story, know what your characters have saved and what they intend to do with it informs us as to motivations and intent.

Your task is to think of one of your characters. What kind of person is he? Athletic? Then perhaps there’s a ton of equipment in a closet. Artistic? Then maybe there are canvases or clay stashed away.

Make a list of the interests your character has had in the past and currently has now. Think of all the things she’s attempted to master over the years.

Then under each activity, list the materials that go with each activity.

When you are finished, choose one activity and one stash of equipment.

Write a scene in which she is faced with her stuff. What decisions does she make and why?

Have fun with this one.

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