You check into your: hotel / hostel / tent. The others head out to: go shopping for shoes that cost more than your car / find coffee that doesn’t suck / attempt making s'mores with Kahlua instead of a chocolate bar. You’re alone. Just you…and their backpacks.
|Reach in. You know you want to. (credit)|
You’re a good person. Of course you don’t snoop. But come on – you’re tempted, admit it. Outside of physical appearance, favorite bands, and maybe a few quirks, you don’t really know these people! What better way to find out who they really are than to dig around in their packs and find out what parts of their lives were important enough to bring on this adventure?
In real life, snooping ain’t a good idea. But in fiction – why not? I’ve said before that writing a book is like taking a road trip with your characters. But in this case, there’s no risk of Amalia opening the door to find you sitting there with her backpack in your lap, a guilty expression on your face and her deck of Sexy Bikers playing cards spread out on the bed. There’s no way Mason is going to unzip the tent to discover you scrolling through all of the Beyonce albums on his iPod. YOU CAN’T GET CAUGHT.
|However, you can get mauled. Cuidado. (credit)|
Get in there! What’s that bulging in the front pocket of Jamie’s bag? A ziplock filled with diet pills? Pot? Fresh cherries? A collection of human hair? (Uh, I'd be booking a ticket elsewhere if that's the case.)
And what about Gina – why did she bring only long-sleeved shirts on a summer trip through the southwest? Is she insecure about her body? Is she hiding scars? Does she simply enjoy showing off the fact that she’s immune to embarrassing pit sweat? (Anti-perspiring bitch.)
|R2D2 despises B.O. (credit)|
Pick up your characters’ bags, tip them out over the floor and snoop away. What you find will take you past that superficial level that comes at the start of the relationship and give you a much more real sense of who they are.
And don’t give Mason too much guff about his Rule the World obsession. (Although if you hear him singing it in the shower, he’s really just asking for Internet infamy. YouTube away.)