Too Busy

Recall one of your busiest weeks. What all was on your calendar? How much did you actually accomplish? How were you feeling at the time?

Bring to mind one of your characters.

Your task is to create a week filled with too many obligations and not enough time to complete them all.

Begin by making a list that matches your character’s profile. Include at least one item for each day of the week.

Do not eliminate anything! Instead write the story of that week, being sure to include the character’s feelings as each day begins and ends, as each event approaches, as she prepares for the event, as the event is taking place.

Let us see inside the mind of the character. We want to feel what she feels, walk inside her along the way.

This will not be easy. It can also result in what appears to be a laundry list of activity.

When you are finished, edit the story down to the most exciting and interesting activities, the ones where feelings shine forth.

Have fun with this one.

Favorite Toys

Every generation has had unique toys with which to play. My mother loved her handmade dolls and clothes. My father played sports. My generation had board games, models to build and a variety of construction toys, such as Lincoln Logs and Erector Sets. I remember bland green army men that went with the same color tanks and trucks. I had a few dolls, but none of them held my interest.

Your protagonist also played with toys. Depending upon age, those toys might range from the plastic soldiers to 3-D video games.

Our access to toys define us as being of a certain age and socioeconomic status. So it is with your character.

You might have to do a little research, but to complete your task you must create a list of five distinct toys that your character plays with.

Do not just list, but if possible, copy a photo of the toy, preferably in use.

After you have finished, choose two toys that you feel most comfortable including in a scene.

The next part of your task is to write a scene in which the character interacts with the toy. It could be taken from when the character first receives the toy or from a point later in life when the character rediscovers the toy.

Remember to describe the item in such a way that the reader can see it, hear it, even feel it. We want to experience it as fully as your character does.

Have fun with this one.

Collections

When I was young, I loved comic books. Because we had little money, I seldom was able to buy new ones from the store. Instead I yearned for the days when my dad would drive into the city to the used book store.

It was an amazing place! Stacks of books and magazines covered table after table. It would have taken hours to sort through everything, but it didn’t matter to me because I headed straight for the comic books.

For very little money I could exit with an armful of new magazines to read. It was heavenly. The best thing was that I saved the books and so was able to read them over and over again.

When we moved to California I had to leave my collection behind. I was very sad.

What about your character? What does he collect?

Close your eyes and picture his house. What things hang on the walls? What sit on flat surfaces? What is on shelves or hidden away in closets?

These things reveal a lot about the character. For example, when I think of stamp collectors, I think of rather bookish individuals with magnifying glasses in hand. When I think of baseball card collectors I picture athletes in exercise gear.

Your task is to match a collection to your character’s personality. Then write a scene in which he is engaged in his collection. He could be admiring it, talking about it, sorting through it or selling some of it.

When you are finished, reread. What does your writing reveal that you might not have known before?

Have fun with this one.