Couch to 80K – Week One – Day Six

I’m doing the “Couch to 80k” – a writing bootcamp from writer and poet Tim Clare. For more information go here:

Exercise Six
Interesting objects found in the protagonists bag. Try to be specific. Feel free to write about more than one protagonist.

Protagonist One

  • The stub from a boarding pass of a flight from the US to the UK.
  • Hearing aids. One slightly damaged, the other new.
  • A black and grey folder, no zip, that holds event plans.
  • An unopened letter with “Dept. of Corrections” stamped in the top left corner.
  • A family photo showing parents, himself and two siblings. Worn, torn and creased.
  • A gold wedding ring, too small for him.

Protagonist Two

  • The key to a secret lift.
  • A small piece of cracked quartz.

Protagonist Three

  • A soft-cover scruffy notebook, almost full.
  • A folded world map. Covered in notes and torn in places.
  • Half a US one dollar note.
  • One of those red flimsy plastic fish you get in Christmas Crackers, that predict the future.
  • An orange plastic whistle that looks like it’s been chewed.

Protagonist Four

  • A zippo lighter. Old and engraved with “TTFN.”
  • The corner of the eight of hearts playing card.
  • Am empty uninteresting briefcase.
  • A photo of Isabella Rossellini

Protagonist Five

  • The ghost of a cat that talks.
  • The ghost of an elderly celebrity.
  • A picture of a man in shadow, printed on A4 paper and taken from a still of a security camera and the back of a house.
  • A small black police style notebook and pencil.
  • An Evening Mail Chipper Club badge.

Every single one of these is a protagonist in one of the four books I’ve started. I know why they have each item. I feel like I’ve cheated a little bit given that I already have these characters in my head. Should I have come up with something new? Some new people and new items? My goal is to complete one of the four books so I think it’d be useful to equate the exercises to them. And who knows, I might come up with a totally different book idea and use the protagonists in those.

I asked an author friend to read the short story I posted yesterday. She gave me some great feedback and a good idea about how to make it longer. It’s great to have people like that to go to for advice. Thanks Lorraine. Go read her book! You’ll love it. I did. You can find it here:

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  1. Couch to 80K – Week Two – Day Six – Twelve Reasons Why

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