Writing Exercise: Missing Person

Notebook handwriting

Television gets a bad rap, but I have to admit, I actually love it—some of it, anyway. And it’s not a total creativity-killer. Case in point: this writing exercise.

I think I’ve watched way too much Without a Trace, because I sometimes find myself wondering—if I disappeared, what would the missing persons unit make of my calendar, credit history, notes left around the house, grocery list, last words to my neighbors, last facebook entry, trash can contents?

It’s easy to apply these questions to your characters to find out more about them. It reminds me of a scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s where Holly Golightly hands over her accounting log to Sally Tomato, the gangster she visits in jail. Sally takes the log book, filled with notes on Holly’s expenses, and says to novelist Paul Varjak: “Someday…you take this book, turn it into a novel. Everything is there, just fill in the details.”