The possessions that a character chooses to surround themselves with can reveal a great deal about the way they lead their lives. Directors and actors frequently use possessions as a way to study their characters. They decorate the character’s room, office, vehicle, locker, or any other common places the character would use. They also determine how the character would dress, often shopping for clothes that fit the persona of the character.

What are their possessions?

You can determine many things about a character from their possessions, including:

  • Cultural background
  • Social class
  • Wealth
  • Intellectual interests
  • Emotional interests
  • Artistic interests
  • Level of organization or disorganization
  • Favorite colors
  • Age
  • Secrets

Where are their possessions?

Here are some common areas in which you can explore a character’s possessions:

  • Clothes
  • Bedroom
  • Living room
  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Secret or private room
  • Closet
  • Office
  • Cubicle
  • Desk
  • Pockets
  • Purse
  • Backpack
  • Locker
  • Hope chest
  • Vehicle

Questions to ask about their possessions

Here are some questions you can ask in addition to describing their possessions. Remember that any of these questions should be followed up by asking “Why?”

  • Does the character have many possessions or few possessions?
  • Does the character hide any of their possessions?
  • What condition are the character’s possessions in?
  • Does the character have any possessions that are broken or unfinished?
  • Do the character’s possessions differ significantly from place to place or according to who will see them?
  • Is there a particular order to the possessions that the character keeps?
  • What are the character’s most valued possessions?
  • Are there any possessions that the character keeps hidden?
  • Is there any possession the character doesn’t have that they want?
  • Is there any possession the character has that they don’t want?
  • What are the effects of other people’s opinions about the character’s possessions?
  • If the character was packing for a trip, what would the character take?


More information

Creating Characters: Exploring characters through their possessions (video)

23 Tips for Creating Characters


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