The Smoke Game

John Gardner (The Art of Fiction, On Becoming a Novelist) speaks of a Smoke game as a way to get to know your characters. You can pick any item or category you want. But remember, if we were to choose the category car, it’s not what kind of car does he or she drive, it’s what kind of car is he or she.

Here’s a sample of the game. It might be easier to begin with a famous person or persons. Note that when you are finished, you might even be able to use some of the words or ideas in your character descriptions


Smoke light, broken thick, gray
House stylish, new heritage
City small town farm
Tree Mountain Ash Oak
Fabric velvet jeans
Food fresh fruit steak
Car new, sporty older, comfortable
Wind strong, gusty steady breeze
Sea stormy calm



2 responses to “The Smoke Game

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