Now Go Write: Lies and Truths with Your Character

Leo Reynolds:

A party game as a writing exercise? Why not! Get to know one of your characters better—or invent one out of the blue—by forcing him or her to play two truths and a lie. If you’ve never played this party game, it goes like this. You offer three statements about yourself, two of which are true and one of which is false. The object (for others) is to identify the lie. For example:

(1) At 7, I chose the bedroom farthest away from the street because I was afraid of being tempted to sneak out of the house when I was older.

(2) At 15, I entered a photography competition with an image entitled, “Hangin’ like a Hose.”

(3) At 18, I got my first ticket in Austin, TX, for a curfew violation at Mt. Bonnell Park.

(FYI for the nosy: My deception is revealed here.)

This exercise can teach you a lot about your character. There are the truths themselves, which can force you to think about out-of-the-ordinary qualities of your character. But there’s also the particularity of how your character plays. What’s her strategy? Does she hope to shock and share titillating revelations, or is she trying to get through the game while sharing as little information as possible?

Next, see if you can’t slip your character’s lie into a scene.


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