Monday, May 27, 2013

Writing Exercise- Character


While we are working on character, I think it is important to point out that places and things have character too.
Yesterday, I was on assignment covering all the “dive bars” in the North Center Coast area. It seems they proliferate where the sea touches the sand. Each bar had a very distinct look and feel, otherwise known as its character. All had the requisite torn up bar stools and ancient bar flies dressed in spandex and blue eye shadow (whom all seem to gravitate to my husband as he is a definite Skank Magnet) but beyond the obvious, they all had clear characteristics that made them stand out.

My favorite was in Morro Bay that featured a Drink It Forward board (as it is home to famous author Catherine Ryan Hyde) that was a 200 square board where the patrons purchased their drinks ahead of time, like a reverse tab. This way, they always had the ability to drink, as the regulars would gift squares to the poor souls whose money ran out before the next social security check arrived. This bar also had heated toilets with multiple bidet settings. I don’t even want to guess what made the owner invest in $3000 toilets for his patrons. There were comical tavern signs pointing out the obvious and ones telling everyone to be quiet on their way home so as not to wake up the tee-totaling neighbors. It’s food menu consisted of Corn dogs, frozen pizza and beef jerky from a plastic jar. The featured shot was a sweet tea infused whiskey. Most patrons were missing their front teeth. The bartender’s neck tattoos were of lesbian mermaids. I could easily spend a whole paragraph illuminating this bar as it had character to spare.

Next exercise; describe a bar that you have stumbled into while on a road trip. This is a place you stopped for a soda and a pee.  Point out the d├ęcor, atmosphere, employees and items that made it unique. 500 words people- get a move on! 
As always, send it to me if you want me to remark on your writing. 

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