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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Do You Know Your ABCs?

I've written before about inspiration popping up in the most unlikely places and today's post is a good example. One day, about a week ago, I was sitting in the sauna at my health club, when a man I didn't know started to talk to me. It turned out he was an aikido instructor and former military man and somehow we got onto the subject of crime fighting. One of the difficulties in catching criminals, he said, was the inability of victims of crime to describe their attackers properly. Barry said there was an easy way to remember the attributes you needed to describe. Writer that I am, I immediately saw his list as a way of describing characters in a story or novel. Here they are:

A is for Age - how old is your character?
B is for Build - is your character short or tall?
C is for Color - what is your character's skin color or ethnicity?
D is for Distinguishing Marks - any scars, marks, scratches?
E is for Eyes - color, size, shape?
F is for Face - shape?
G is for Girth - is your character stocky or thin?
H is for Hair - color, length, style?

That's as far as we got before the conversation ended. I ran into him again a few days later and asked whether there were any more. As he pointed out, you could use the same letters for different attributes (H for Hands, for example) and you could keep going till the end of the alphabet. So here's my challenge: can you fill in the rest of the alphabet? I'll start you off with this one:

I is for Interests - what does your character like to do?

Come on, writers, have a go!

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