Character Development Exercises: Living Spaces

I’ve been updating sparingly because my husband and I recently bought a house! We pulled carpets up in the living room, one of the bedrooms, and the hallway, and sanded and refinished the hardwood floors. Then we had to move all of our stuff, as is the case when you move. But now we are finally settled. Only a few boxes left to unpack. Chris is putting our grill together right now! The last thing we have to do is fill our walls up! Maps, paintings, mason jars, and more. We’re so excited. This house is PERFECT for us.

All this stuff gets me thinking about how much you can tell about a person from their house. A good character building exercise would be to map out your character’s living space. Think of what they have in each room, where they got it from, what it means to them, if anything. How do they choose to decorate? What do they choose to hide in the closet? Is their space somewhere owned by their parents, a landlord, a manor in the family, or does your character own it?

The answers to these questions would vary greatly depending on your setting, your character, and your story. For example, a young adult character may only have a room that they have personal control over. In a high fantasy, a manor may not be as personalized as a two-bedroom house today would be. If your character is someone in a science fiction novel, maybe they can’t personalize their space at all because they’re on the barracks of a ship. If your character is a traveler, then focus on the places they choose to stay on their travels.

Regardless of the details of the situation, this is a good way to get to know your character. This is the place he or she sleeps, eats, relaxes, and more. It will speak volumes to what they value and what they spend their time on.

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