The Watch

Character Exercise

Your character is given a watch. If watches are too low tech (or too high tech), they are provided with an equivalent – a mobile phone, an astrolabe, and if those aren’t available, choose an amulet/bracelet or some other item that is in-character for your story.

1. Who gives your character the watch and why? What’s special or not special about it?

2. Describe the watch in your character’s voice. Then describe it as the narrator – if the narrator and the character are the same, describe it from a secondary character’s point of view (even if you’re writing in first person).

3. The character loses the watch – how does he/she react? They are due to attend a ball, party, office outing, luncheon, where the watch-giver is there or someone who knows the watch-giver. (Perhaps the watch-giver is dead, a father/mother/grandfather/grandmother/uncle/aunt/sibling/friend/other figure, perhaps). What happens when your character is confronted?

Taking it Further

What annoys the character about the watch? What drives them absolutely crazy? Maybe nothing at all. Maybe it’s the light shining off of it. Maybe it’s just ugly. Is there a sentimental connection there? What would form one?

Now flip the role: it is your character who has given the watch to another character (perhaps after being given the watch themselves), perhaps to a friend, son, daughter, protégé, someone to keep it safe for them… What do they tell them as they give them the watch? What happens when the entrusted watch is lost, broken, stolen, stops working? How does your character react? Is the other character truthful? Do they invent a tall tale, or replace it? How does your character know the genuine from the replacement?

Write the same scenario but five years on, ten years on. How does the difference in age alter your character’s outlook? Are they more or less upset? Perhaps there is no difference – perhaps they really don’t care!

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