If someone took a step inside your home, front porch to foyer, what would a visitor see? What colors would be noticed first and what is the primary interior style? What is the most significant part of your house that makes it home?
Without knowing who you are, a lot can be assumed by one’s interior design style. It is a form of judgement that can correlate to your personality, what you enjoy most in life, and what makes you comfortable and happy.
How can this interior chit-chat relate to writing?
Character sketches give idea and insight into who you will “create” and “get to know” over the next few hundred pages. You will breathe life into them, live through them, and decide the path for them. You are in control of their good and their bad.
What if in that character sketch, we outlined the type of house they would live within, thinking more in-depth about what this house will communicate through its exterior and interior style?
The setting is likely already known when an outline of your story is complete, this may or may not further detail the house this character will live in. When considered further, a house can play a large role in the plot.
A house is where a character begins their day and returns to at sunset. A house can either represent a sanctuary of peace where conflict can’t penetrate its walls or a place where anxiety sets in, strengthening conflict.
As the writer, it is up to you to decide what a home will mean in regard to your character.
This is where the idea of metaphor begins.
Take inspiration from the house in which your character resides, allowing the interior style, furniture placement, wallpaper pattern, and more to help accentuate a feeling.
How can peeling wallpaper represent how a character internally feels as if their life is crumbling around them?
How can the slanted lines of sunlight pouring through kitchen blinds symbolize the loneliness and isolation of a character?
How can vivid memories in the living room and its furniture sneak up on your character when they want to avoid them most?
How can the house of vintage style make a character feel as if they are being held back in life, craving freedom?
As you continue writing and developing character after character, spend time considering how a residence can impact them positively or negatively. Every home is different and can come with its own story.
Maybe your character’s house was built on the property of what was once a drive-in movie theater. Maybe it has an arboretum in the backyard, spanning for several acres. Maybe their house has a vineyard or fruit orchard in surrounding fields.
You do not have to be an architect or interior designer to create a unique home for your character.
It is your turn to build!