by Pat Phillips West
Building a character for a story or poem? Try playing the tough detective by handcuffing your character to the table in a police interrogation room and make him/her spill their guts. Dig deep to get the facts you’ll need to bring your character life.
Use this background list as a springboard for your interrogation:
Eye color/hair color:
Right- or left-handed:
Does your character live alone or with family?
Where does he/she live?
What kind of dwelling?
Favorite non-alcoholic drink:
Favorite alcoholic drink:
Has your character been in love?
Is your character attractive? How so/not?
Does your character think of him/herself as attractive?
Who else is in your character’s life?
Number one regret:
Step out of the room and, from behind a one-way mirror, watch your character squirm. Take note of any physical tics or quirks.
Now, use this background to develop your character. Spread the details you’ve uncovered throughout your scene in either prose or poetry.
(Thanks to Alida Thacher and PDX Writers for permission to adapt their character background list for this month’s prompt.)
Pat Phillips West moved so often even her closest friends asked if she was in the Witness Protection Program. She refused to comment, except to say she’s in Portland, OR, for now. Her poems appear or will appear in Imagination & Place: Weather, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher6, Manzanita Writers Press, San Pedro River Review and elsewhere.