Sunday, August 16, 2015

What's in Your Wallet? Every Day Carry for Your Character: Info for Writers

Do you remember watching that old game show "Let's Make a Deal"? Monty Hall would ask women to reach into their purses and pull out absurd things, pieces of cheese and such. As a kid, I wondered what thought process the women would go through when making their choices of what to bring to the show -- just in case it got them an opportunity to play the game.

I thought about this again when I was reading Janet Evanovich's By the Numbers series. Stephanie Plumb had a gun and maybe some bullets in her purse. . .somewhere. . . 

What your character carries with them is a big insight into the character's thought process, background, and lifestyle. As an example, I'm going to show you the inside of my purse so you can see what I mean.


Ta dah! This is my purse with the insides pulled out. 

It weighs a TON!


In the center of the black organizer is this toiletry bag

Which looks like this when opened.

By now you might be thinking, wow this chick is VERY organized. 

When it comes to my purse, I am. 

Just like a bag carried by a military person or an EMT, my bag is there for convenience and to save lives. It has saved lives many times. So I am very careful with how things are packed into my bag.



This is what's inside that toiletry bag:


On the right of the bag are the everyday niceties: 

  • chapstick - outdoors a lot
  • deodorant - two teens
  • lotion

On the left tools/safety


  • paracord (blog article)
  • swiss army type knife
  • small leatherman
  • Glucose tabs (to counter low blood sugar)

In the center go six specialized mini-kits:


Kit #1 (MOST important)

  • diabetic meter
  • test strips and fresh needles
  • alcohol wipe
  • lancet
  • fast acting glucose (read about using that in this scene of MISSING LYNX)
  • And a hair tie - because if you're using the glucose gel on someone, you'll have it in your hair.

Kit #2

  • shampoo taken from hotel stay because it works like soap.
  • lighter/cotton balls for fire starting
  • 2 glow sticks
  • tweezers (can use lighter to disinfect)
  • 2 different colors of duct tape - the bright pink is good for marking trails if you are lost. Also great for writing information for the EMT prior to their arrival when assessing and triaging folks. Just stick it on their arm at the wrist.
  • And grey is an all purpose helper. (They are each wrapped around used gift cards.)










Kit #3
Mini first aid 
  • honey works great for a bunch of issues from low glucose to wound care
  • benadryl in instant melt form can save someone having an allergic reaction




Kit #4 
Hair and Clothes






Kit #5
Meds - the basics 
  • Advil
  • Allergy
  • Pamperin (great for migraines)
  • Imodium


Kit #6 
Other first aid - (products for alternative use)





Now all of that goes into an outer carry case with pockets that contains:
  • umbrella with pen light
  • water
  • wand flashlight
  • pens
  • CPR kit with gloves and respiration mask
  • 6 meal replacement bars
  • red lipstick 

My keys:  
  • flashlight
  • multitool
  • whistle



Did you note how many forms of light I have?
1 high lumen hand held light wand
1 high lumen tactical flashlight
2 glow sticks
1 hand crank flashlight
1 mini pen light
(and if push came to shove) a lighter
____________
8 forms of lighting. 

WHY??? you may ask. I have been involved in many a crisis, and it seems the one recurrent theme is it's pitch black. Emergencies in the dark are darned dangerous.

Did you notice the forms of food/glucose?
6  meal replacement bars
2 honey
1 tube glucose tablets
1 tube fast acting glucose
$ for emergency food
_____________
11 forms of possible sugar/food. 

WHY??? (I know the diabetes meter was a give away.) My kid #4 is a T-1 diabetic. BUT 1/3 of America has some form of diabetes. All of the emergency diabetic stuff I carry, in the ten years I have carried it, has only been used to save strangers' lives.

If I had lead a life different from the one I have, I would obviously carry different products in a different way. 

Things not on my priority list include brushes and makeup except for my energy boosting red lipstick which BTW is excellent for writing tourniqueted-limb times on foreheads etc. Ah, now would your character have had that thought when she put her lipstick in her bag?

What's in your character's wallet or purse? 
  • Will it help? 
  • Will it thwart? 
  • Will it give insight? 
  • Will it be a conversation starter?
  • MAYBE it will twist your plotline.



Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.







9 comments:

  1. Omigosh, I feel very underprepared. Although when I emptied my handbag the other day, I did discover 14 pens and one pencil. ;-)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. So your priority is being able to jot something down wherever you are :)
      It's the repetition that is so telling about a character, I think.

      Happy day - happy writing!
      Fiona

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  2. What a fantastic blog. Found it through @Daryna tweet. I'm taking some of your posts with me on my trip to Europe. (And...I'm from south of D.C. as well)
    http://liviaquinn.com

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    1. Glad you found me, Livia.

      Cheers,
      Fiona

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  3. How do you fit all of that in there?

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    1. I shouldn't say anything, my keychain probably weighs two pounds with all the stuff I hang on it, including the paracord bracelet I made from reading this site.

      I always try to have two pens on me. It's amazing how often someone needs one and nobody else has one around.

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    2. And good pens can really save the day. Everything from writing, to fishing pole, to kubaton -hmmm I feel an article coming on. Though of you when I wrote the Coke article - see if you can't get the lock open and tell me the secret please. I found that one darned frustrating - but they make it look sooooo easy.

      Cheers,
      Fiona

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