Sunday, December 6, 2009

Craft/Creating a Character Through Setting

Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter collaborated on a wonderful handbook of exercises for writers called What If? that I used as one of the texts when I taught creative writing.

One of my favorite exercises is one that uses setting to describe a character. As the authors put it, "If someone broke into your home or apartment while you were away, chances are he could construct a good profile of who you are." I was reminded of the technique Ducky uses on "NCIS" to understand the psyche of a victim or a killer--he observes and catalogs everything in the character's home.

Choose one of your characters and describe a space that he or she inhabits. It can be an entire home, a single room, an office, a garage...the details will tell us something about who this individual is.

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