Posted by: victanguera | March 30, 2011

What’s that You’re Carrying?: Writing Prompt #316

I’m currently reading The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett (an excellent book by the way). One character carries a talisman. How the character behaves and feels about himself as a result of that object is quite interesting.

In one of my WIP’s, a fairly major character wears headphones constantly. They become an extension of his person. Cary Bradshaw’s shoes could also be thought of in the same way.

So for today’s prompt, what object (if any) is a reflection of your character’s personality? How does your character relate to that thing? Have you given your object enough weight in the story–does it reoccur in every scene your character is in, show up in times of emotional stress, become something other characters notice and possibly comment on or tease your character about? Think about things like why your character chose this object, whether it interferes with the character’s ability to do tasks, and (possibly the most important) why your character needs this object in the first place.

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Responses

  1. With my main character, an amateur detective, it’s the way she dresses. Three-piece suit, shirt and tie, carefully folded display handkerchief, etc. This is a deliberate eccentricity on her part, to make herself memorable, but it also serves a couple of other purposes (though this is never discussed). She is rather young for what she’s doing, and it makes her seem older, and she’s rather peculiar looking, so her way of dressing makes people focus on that rather than on how she herself looks.

    In the most recent story, she’s a patient in a hospital and there’s a murder, so she goes off to solve it. And it’s somewhat of a point of pride for her that she doesn’t say, “Hey, stop everything, I need to get dressed.” She goes ahead and solves the case in her nightgown and robe, proving to herself (and everybody else) that she likes dressing up, but she doesn’t need it.

    • I love that she solves a crime in her nightgown and robe. That is such a great detail. So how do people respond to the way your character dresses? Do they think of her as butch or mannish or just authoritarian?

  2. Authoritarian and eccentric, I think. I’ve never had anybody assume she was gay, I guess that just seems to obvious a way to go. And I even make the point once that she has tried a couple of times to pretend to be a man, for various reasons, and nobody was ever fooled.

    • I think you are right that thinking of your character as gay would be the obvious first reaction of people. I like that you thought of it and show how people responded.


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