If the glove fits

Actors, when taking on a new role, often choose an item of clothing to help them get into character. Most commonly, they choose footwear. When they put on a pair of clumsy, outsize boots, comfortable carpet slippers or a pair of stilettos, their posture changes immediately. Their shoes affect the way they move about and how they feel.

I have a bag of gloves that can work in a similar way. As soon as you fit your hands into a pair of cream elbow length gloves with tiny pearl buttons, or pull on a pair of thick protective gauntlets, you move differently. And, I have found, you change the way you hold yourself.

So think about making a collection of gloves. You could halve the number you need by giving each writer only one glove. You will be surprised how quickly you can put together a selection of gloves. You may even find some lone gloves, still loitering at the bottom of a drawer. Look in charity shops,, ask your friends and family, try discount stores for cheap gardening gloves.

Invite each writer to choose a glove (or a pair, if you have enough). Ask them to put on the gloves and imagine who might wear them.

You could ask them, straight away, to write one or more extracts from their character’s diary. However, it might help to ask them some questions. Depending on the time available and the age of the writers, they could simply think about their answers and share some, or they could write down the answers and then begin their diary entries.

Your questions should prompt ideas about the physicality, the presence of their character, and some of the elements that drive narrative – a quest or desire, obstacles, friends and enemies, dreams and disruptions.

Here are a few questions to get things started:

What is your name?

Where did you sleep last night?

What do you have in your pocket?

Who is your closest friend?

What do you most fear?

What will you have for your lunch?

What is your favourite smell?

What makes you angry?

What do you want more than anything else?

Now write a diary entry.

You can write more if there is time. A story will unfold.


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