I’ve been writing all day, and I’m pooped. However, I wanted to point to PBW’s post on personal ads for your characters.
As she points out, it is a revealing and fun way to figure some things out about the people populating your work, but personal ads often figure into storylines more directly. PPW mentioned Desperately Seeking Susan, but there’s also Sea of Love (not nearly as much fun as DSS), and more recently the very regrettable Must Love Dogs (why, John Cusack? why?) I know there are others but they aren’t coming to mind.
I believe there may also be collections of short stories that start with personal ads. Or if not, I dreamed it and I should probably put that project on my list of books to write down the line. Certainly I’ve read some personal ads that scream STORY. There are a number of books out there which provide a selection of the quirkiest such ads, for example:
Bitter, unsuccessful middle aged loser wallowing in an unending sea of inert drooping loneliness looking for 24 year old needy leech-like hanger-on to abuse with dull stories, tired sex and Herb Alpert albums.
To be truthful, this is not an exercise that works for me and my characters. I can’t imagine John Dodge or Julia Darrow putting a personal out there. Same for Angie or any of the major characters in TTTT. Except maybe Patty Cake, but that would be far too easy.
I used to work for a company that did personal ads for hundreds of newspapers, so I am very interested in the personals.
For your characters, maybe if you thought about what type of personal ad would they write if they had to write one? Or what kind of ad would one of their friends write for them?
When I was working in personals, I thought in personals (and it is a bit ironic that I hardly dated during that time.)
“Buoyant, bubbly blonde, 25, loves bar-hopping, bingo and bikinis. Seeking blustering, burping beefcake, 35-50, for burgeoning bonding. No blow-hards or bastards.”
Lanna Lee — that is priceless. There’s another book you may have seen ‘Man with Tractor Seeks Woman with Farm’ (or something like that).
I think you could tell a whole story through personal ads, a different take on the Griffin/Sabine thing. You should give it a go.