Writing exercise from a recent writer's group meeting: Describe a character. Then describe his bedroom, allowing the reader to see more of the character without him being present in the scene.
Bart is 22. He's a graduate, scraping around for work. He's intelligent, but he's angry at all that is around him. He lifts weights and runs a lot. He's lost a lot of jobs due to his temper.
The room is messy, his bed unmade. Next to his Hi-Fi, rap and rock CDs are piled up against the walls from the floor. There is another pile, DVDs, and the spines show mostly action movie titles from the 80's, like Aliens and Predator. On top of his DVD player, an open DVD case for Falling Down is propped up. A few books are scattered around- a sci-fi anthology sits on a shelf, next to a book about the 1972 Olympic massacre. An ab-roller sits in the corner of the room, along with some hand-weights and a weight bar.
The floor has not been hoovered in a long time. Maybe never.
The clutter is organised, though, not unkempt, just overcrowded, like he would need a whole house to comfortably store what he's fitted in the room.
Bill sheets are pinned to a cork board on the wall. Sky News plays on a small TV with the sound down, and Dr. Dre plays through the stereo.
His cupboard door is open- the contents of the small wardrobe are so crammed that the door won't close any more, and the suits' shoulder pads are crushing against each other, forced against the jeans and shirts.
I'd have written more on this- describing the walls of the sixties-built house, the irregular shape of the room caused by the chimney shaft, the way the wallpaper hasn't been changed in a long time and the edges are falling away from the wall. In some places the wallpaper has been picked at or drawn on with a biro. Maybe Bart did this. Maybe it was a previous inhabitant. I'd have described way the worn carpet matched the walls- not by colour, but by giving a hint of outdatedness, and how these elements contrasted with the modern Ikea furnishings- the cereal bowl that should have been washed up before the remnants dried on hard.
I'd be interested to know what you think of this character. Comments, as always, are welcome...