Thursday, March 10, 2011

Character sketching through shopping lists, now with part 2

When I started writing novels I read a book called The Weekend Novelist by Robert Ray. I found it useful as a guide to plotting, and also for tips on how to build characters, through various different exercises.
I came up with one of my own exercises, when I went shopping for a couple of people who were snowed in during the winter.

First list:
2 small tins vegetable soup
2 small jars of fish paste
1 packet sugar
1 tub of Flora lite
1 bottle of High Juice – apple
1 packet of catfood - salmon “temptations”
A list made up for someone I know:
conference pears
“Nice” soup
Cup a Soup in a jar (better value than in packets)
Stilton cheese
Wensleydale cheese
Loo rolls
Bacon – sliced thin
Small wholemeal loaf
Washing powder
4 packets of butter
Yorkshire teabags
So now, what do these people have in common?
And if you can’t guess, here is a clue – on a different occasion, they might both have had Horlicks and Muller fruit corners on their list – which is what I bought for another person who has things in common with both of these two people.
I have been lying in bed (I am under par today) worrying about this post, because i didn’t explain myself well in it (probably because I am under par.)
What I meant to say was there are all kinds of ways of fleshing out your characters before you start to write a novel, and one of the ways could be by making a shopping list for them. And obviously, this doesn’t have to be just a grocery list. OK, I’m putting my head back on the pillow now.


Frenchie_in_London said...

they are single ?

Frenchie_in_London said...

No no no ! Not single... they live alone ? (but then I don't know why the 2nd list got 4 packs of butter)

Sue Hepworth said...

All three are elderly women. Sorry, Coline. The 4 packs of butter *is* misleading. I should have edited that. The list with the butter and the gin was a typical one of my mother's and she liked to stock up on butter if someone else was doing the shopping.She is the oinly one of the three who lived alone.