What’s In YOUR Character’s Wallet? #amwriting

walletOr purse, or reticule, or pocket.

You know how the cops on cop shows go through the corpse’s pockets and find Clues? You can do that with your characters. Not just, you know, the dead ones. Or the undead ones, depending on what you write. (I’m looking at YOU, Jane.)

This is a great exercise, especially if you’ve been drinking are with a fellow writer who has read your stuff and whose stuff you’ve read; you can tell one another what you think is in the other’s characters’ wallets. You can challenge one another, like, “Okay, what’s in Heathcliff’s wallet?”

I mean, think about what’s in YOUR wallet. Better yet, go through your wallet and SEE what’s in there. Mine has credit card, debit card, driver’s license, rewards cards for hotels and stores, a picture of my mother when she was pregnant with me that was given to me by my husband’s oldest sister who was friends with her back then, the address and phone number of my pal Pat, postage stamps, photos of relatives, a picture of Dennis Kucinich, a photo of a mom and kid I don’t know but found discarded and felt sorry for….

In my purse, now, I have So. Many. Things.

If you’re stuck on a characterization or a plot point, try this exercise, and see if it shakes something loose. It might not bring up anything you want to use, but it might get those juices flowing again, or it might inspire a character twist or depth you hadn’t thought of before.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Answer the question.


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I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “What’s In YOUR Character’s Wallet? #amwriting

  1. Dan

    February 15, 2016 at 8:34am

    It’s funny, I was just asking some writers in a group I belong to about this subject. I don’t write fiction, but that guy next to me in the bar is getting a bit complicated. When I was writing the last episode, I forgot certain details about him. I’m going to start a profile of him soon, maybe I’ll start with his wallet πŸ™‚
    Dan recently posted..It’s Been a While Since You Gave Us Money

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  2. Dan

    February 15, 2016 at 8:44am

    @Marian Allen – He’s an amalgam of a few friends, a few people from the bar, and a few things I wish I had the nerve to say to people. But I’ve come to realize that all of his component personalities aren’t 100% compatible. I need to work on that before he gets out of control.
    Dan recently posted..It’s Been a While Since You Gave Us Money

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  3. Jane

    February 15, 2016 at 9:06am

    I like that you carry the picture of 2 strangers. I once found a photo of a cat under a christmas tree and wondered why the heck anybody would discard such a sweet thing.

    Good post. Wonder if Grigori even carries a wallet. In his pockets? A memento? A weapon? More likely.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      February 15, 2016 at 11:04am

      Grigori doesn’t HAVE to carry a wallet, but it amuses him to do so. He has a driver’s license and platinum-level credit cards, and photographs of other people with faked pictures of himself so his prey won’t know he doesn’t show up on film.
      Marian Allen recently posted..A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE

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  4. Alana

    February 15, 2016 at 2:48pm

    Until recently, I carried business cards for two photographers I met in a motel in Maine, where I was on vacation when Tropical Storm Lee flooded the area of upstate New York where I live in September, 2011. The morning we left (when the roads were reopened) to return home to the devastation, these two people were in the little eating area of our motel, and listened to my husband and I patiently. I’m sure they don’t remember us but I remember them and their patience. Just a few days ago I cleaned out my wallet and found the cards – they are near my computer now with me wondering what to do with them.
    Alana recently posted..Garden Bloggers Bloom Day Feb 2016 – Impossible Dreaming

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