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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Guess What’s in My Glove Compartment?

stuffed duckLet’s play a lit­tle game. I’ll tell you some things about the inside of my car, and you tell me what you can dis­cern about me from those details.

There’s an ice scraper on the floor and a fold­able camp chair in the back.

There’s a copy of a 200-page unpub­lished nov­el with my name list­ed as the author.

CD selec­tions range from the Car­pen­ters to Queen Lat­i­fah to the sound­track from “Shrek.” The back­seat car­pet is heav­i­ly stained. The back­seat itself is cov­ered in scuff marks.

There’s a bright­ly col­ored, hand­made God’s eye hang­ing off the gear shift. There’s a stuffed duck dressed in a sailor’s outfit in the map pock­et.

The glove com­part­ment holds binoc­u­lars, mints, a pre­scrip­tion bot­tle full of quar­ters, and fast food coupons.

Okay, you get the pic­ture.  My guess is that while you might mis­in­ter­pret some of those details, there are actu­al­ly sev­er­al things you’d guess cor­rect­ly about me based on know­ing them.

You can turn this game into a fun char­ac­ter-build­ing activ­i­ty for stu­dent writ­ers.  Ask them to describe one of the fol­low­ing set­tings con­nect­ed to one of their own sto­ry char­ac­ters: their character’s bed­room, lock­er at school, clos­et, or (for old­er char­ac­ters), their car. Once they’ve cre­at­ed the descrip­tion, have them trade with anoth­er stu­dent. Then the oth­er stu­dent will try to guess some­thing about the per­son­al­i­ty of their partner’s char­ac­ter, based on the descrip­tion of that per­son­al space. That tells the writer which details best reveal their character’s per­son­al­i­ty and cir­cum­stances, and there­fore would make the best details to include in their actu­al sto­ry.

Stu­dents could also do this as a compare/contrast activ­i­ty by describ­ing the bed­room or lock­er of two or more key char­ac­ters in their sto­ry.

Young writ­ers will find that they can con­vey a whole lot about a char­ac­ter by giv­ing read­ers a chance to peek into their char­ac­ters’ per­son­al spaces.

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