Deep In Debt

            A new car every year, shopping sprees where thousands of dollars are spent, investing in questionable start-ups, and trips abroad every few months rack up so much debt that it’s nearly impossible to repay. Add to that gambling at the race track, membership at an exclusive country club and the yacht that he just had to have.

            Maybe it’s not a lavish lifestyle, but rather medical bills for cosmetic recontractions, cancer treatments or surgeries for the kids, placing tubes in the ears.

            Whatever the reason, your character is deep in debt. How she handles the situation says a lot about her character.

            Does she negotiate with each lender, agreeing to whittle down the amount owed? Perhaps she offers favors in payment, declares bankruptcy or marries a wealthy person who can pay off her debt.

            Your task is to write a story in which your protagonist finds himself in substantial debt. The amount has to be so large that he has no way to settle the bill. Of course, that amount depends upon the individual’s situation.

            A person having little might owe a thousand, and be unable to pay. A person owning a lot might owe millions.

            Both situations make for interesting stories.

            Have fun with this one.

Financial Insecurity

I’ve often heard it said that many people are one paycheck away from being homeless. This is especially true in high cost-of-living areas such as in San Francisco and its neighboring communities.

When you create a character, you need to keep in mind how much money she has and how well off she really is.

For example, does he live in his car? Rely on food banks and kitchens to survive? Or does he live in a high-rent townhouse in the middle of Silicon Valley, the Bay Area’s center of technology?

How financially secure a person is affects what she does on a daily basis. It controls the things she thinks about, including her worries and her woes.

Your task is to create two different characters. One has almost everything she needs to live comfortably. You will determine how wealthy she is and how this impacts her daily life.

Your other character lives paycheck to paycheck. He might drink or use drugs. He might be emotionally fragile.

After you’ve created these characters, put at least one of them in a story. Be as realistic as you can be. Have things happen to the character that test that financial security.

Once you’ve written that story, then put the other character in a different story. Again, have things happen that test security.

Have fun with this one!

Financial Hardship

 

There are times in our lives when money is in short supply. We might be in between jobs or at the end of the payday and so have almost no money in our pocket. We have to choose between putting gas in the car in order to go to work or buying milk for the kids to drink.

How we handle those difficult times says a lot about who we are. We have to make decisions that affect not just ourselves but anyone living with us.

Our characters must also face difficult times for them to be real.

First of all, consider your character. Who is she? What job does she have and how well does it pay? Where does she live and what is the cost of rent? Food? Gas?

Does he live alone or share and apartment? Does he party on Friday nights or come home and cook a TV dinner?

What are your character’s priorities? Does she think of others first or put her own needs at the forefront? Does he buy new tennis shoes or do his laundry?

All of these choices say something about our protagonist.

Your task is to write a scene in which your character is suffering. There is limited money and choices have to be made. You can include dialogue or keep it all in your character’s head. The important thing is to show how your character makes decisions.

Have fun with this one.