I love this newest exercise from The Five Minute Writer:
Imagine you've found someone's bag, briefcase, purse, or other smallish container. You don't know who its owner is but you decide to find out by being nosey. You open the bag and pull out the contents. Without thinking too hard, list at least six items. Don't just go for the obvious mobile phone and tissues, although you can of course include these, too.
I only chose to list five items, but I figured the result would be the same!
- Business card of a National Geographic photographer named Linda Kizecheck
- Old Zippo lighter engraved with the initials CSA, the "S" most prominent
- Pack of Chicklets Peppermint gum
- Set of keys from which hangs a medallion depicting an eagle and swastika
- A handheld audio recorder
Now, write a short character sketch based on the items you've discovered.
His name is Christoph Schreiber, a German writer who migrated to the United States in search of his mother, an English woman who had been deported at the height of the 2nd World War.
I don't know that this exercise would have us agreeing about the character sketch, because we each associate different items with different stereotypical cultures. So, who do you imagine this person to be based on my five items?
I challenge you to complete this exercise, because I'd like to do a character sketch based on the items YOU retrieve!!