All of us have been afflicted with writers block at one time or another. It sucks. Weeks of over-caffeination mixed with imaginational stagnation leads to a downward spiral of keyboard smashing and moleskine burning. However, you don’t have too look far for inspiration. Actually, your friendly corporation down the block has some wonderful ideas for characters, just in case you need some help. People say literature is dead, but I think we can bring it back to life with the following character sketches of the modern consumer.
I ran across these archetype personalities while perusing Amazon on Black Friday. They’re meant for shoppers who are having a hard time trying to find gifts for beloved ones. Said shopper is supposed to label their potential recipient as one of Amazon’s helpfully re-invented American demographic categories. Then, Amazon will tell our intrepid yet uninventive shopper what that “character” wants. This prefabrication of character and desire provides great fodder for short stories. Wink wink.
Take a gander at the cast of the next great American novel (descriptions are taken directly from Amazon.com):
1. The College Student – When newly fledged adults leave the nest and head to the dorms, there’s a lot they need to get their lives off the ground: home basics, college survival guides, and, of course, a few toys to make the flight enjoyable. (One of their suggestions is to buy your college bound kid a Guinness Book of World Records. Yes, I haven’t touched one of those since fourth grade [Pamela Anderson: most downloaded female <you know what I’m talking about.>])
2. The Dude – You know the one: the beer-drinker who would rather change his oil than escort a chick to the ballet. Here’s a heap of gift ideas for the guy’s guy: action movies, gourmet meats, gadgets, and more. (mmm MEAT)
3. The Glamour Girl – Now this is a girl who knows what she wants. Lucky for you, we know what she wants too. Impress her with your up-to-the-minute taste by selecting one of these triple-t hottt gift ideas. Cool by-product: you’re awarded instant fashion cred! (Be sure to buy at least two sizes too small to reinforce heroine chic! Ha! Ha!)
4. The Geek – To be a geek is now très chic. Gone are the days of pocket protectors (who needs a pen when they have a PDA?) and horn-rimmed glasses. High-tech brainiacs now rule the world–and we’ve got some gifts to keep them entertained in their downtime. (I like how this implies Geeks must be entertained when they’re not working on something… perhaps they turn violent if their geekery is not properly channeled.)
5. The Grandpa – Whether your granddad’s a wise old soul or a wiseacre, we’ve got plenty of gift suggestions to bring a smile to his face. (He can whittle away his last days playing with a new bathrobe or staring uncomprehendingly at a brand new genealogy software pack.)
Whatever, you get the point. Write a story about a computer wise grandpa with a geeky wife and a community college bound, 45 year old son. The son goes to college and meets the Dude, who seduces him with gourmet meats. Meanwhile, the Geeky Grandma gets so bored with herself that she makes a uranium enrichment centrifuge in their basement with the help of a glamourous slave-girl. There, writers block broken!