Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pocket litter

You can tell whether Spouse or I have driven the car last based on whether or not there are granola bar wrappers stuffed in the door pocket. If wrappers have colonized the cup holders, it's safe to say I haven't even been in the car in weeks.

It can be interesting to think about characters in terms of daily routines and mundane details, perhaps because these things can reveal other details about people. For instance, what's in their pockets? If he's a smoker, he probably has a pack of cigarettes. If he's trying to quit, he might have nicotine gum. Maybe she keep receipts and meticulously tracks her expenses, or maybe she throws everything away. Perhaps she always means to, but somehow forgets, and finds her pockets lined with months-old ticket stubs.

Mentioning what a character carries can demonstrate the extent of a particular habit or quirk--a rigorous dieter might keep a few packets of his favorite sweetener on hand. It could also reflect or contrast the way that character approaches larger issues. A relentless organizer might have a few paper clips stuffed in her pocket. If everything else in her life is out of control, they might be bent. 

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