Last night I sat at my friend’s table for a mutual writing session, attempting to grind out just a few ndred more words. I’m stuck at the place in this manuscript where trying to get the story out feels like pulling teeth with a rusty chainsaw–not very effective, and kind of bloody. (I was also laboring under the misconception that once I hit 40K words, I only had 15K more to go. After hitting 40K, and celebrating, I realized that it was actually 25K more to my goal of 65K. Why do I even bother doing math?)
What, ho, I thought to myself. Time for a writing exercise! At this particular place in the novel, my two characters are sitting outside a Whataburger in the middle of Nowheresville, TX, in the early morning. It’s one of those towns I’ve often driven through, that is basically the incorporated confines of a stoplight, a hotel, and a couple of fast food joints. Although it’s winter in my novel (it usually is, I think probably because I start writing them in November…) it’s also Texas, so unseasonably warm. So where is the exercise?
Well, I managed to write about seven hundred words from the beginning of the scene, went to write an action where one of the characters adjusts his clothing … and realized I had no idea what they were wearing.
So for this week, let us don our sartorial lens, peruse the racks of our mind’s eye, and head into …
Exercise 20: You Are What You Wear. For many of us, our clothes immediately convey to those around us a certain amount of information about ourselves. Whether we’re wearing high-fashion couture, fast food polyester, a wool jacket in 100+ degree heat, or shorts in the middle of winter (hello, my significant other), much information can be gleaned from a character’s wardrobe.
For this exercise, write a paragraph that includes very specific choices in your character’s (or characters’) clothing choices (or lack of choices.) This could be an introduction to a new character–or a new way of seeing an old one.