Character Development By Way Of Pool And Beer

I was out with some very good friends last week at a pool hall and decided to try an idea I’d had out on them. Make lists of random character traits and assign them to other character traits by means of some random mechanism. And still have fun.

Originally my idea was to do this with darts, but since darts were hard to find in a convenient-to-all part of town we ended up at the pool hall. After a few drinks I told them my idea and we put it into effect with bar napkins and a borrowed pen.

We put together 5 lists of 15 character traits each. They were:

First Name
Last Name
Physical Characteristic
Historical Component

The reason for 15 is that there are 15 balls in a pool game. We were going to play 5 games of pool and as each ball dropped we would add that number to a character trait as it appeared in whatever list we were working on.

For example: in the first game the 6 ball dropped first, so the first name on the first names list was “Lisa”. Lisa was assigned the number 6. During the second game of pool the 6 ball dropped fourth, which corresponded with the Last name of Peterson located 4th on the list, and so on through the rest of the lists.

We came up with some crazy combinations.

After all that we used Erik’s idea to use a playoff style system to pair characters into genres for the type of story to tell. And finally there was a fierce game of paper-rock-scissors to determine who got which genre/characters combination.

The end result being:


A Drama involving:

Francis Bean, a man with an eye patch that had a near death experience in his past. He also has a condition where making eye contact leads to a terrets like response.
Ahmed Pakpahan, a man with straight and thinning hair that has wanted to be an actor his entire life. He has an unfortunate facial tic when he thinks about sex.

An Action/Adventure involving:

Drake Yasinskaya, a morbidly obese man with a fear of carpet that inherited money and/or a compay.
Katerina Keleher, a woman with bright eyes labeled as a war coward and a fear of midgets.

A Documentary/Reality involving:

Regan Daniels, a woman that graduated first in her class at Yale Law with a distrust for banks and scarring of the hands.



A Romance involving:

Raven Rooster, a woman that wet the bed until she was 25 with an unfortunate cauliflower ear. When she blinks it is as if her eyelids are connected to her eyebrows.
Julius Tompoco, a man with a serious 5 o’clock shadow that made millions on the tech boom and lost it on the stock marked. Julius has the curious need to run everywhere he goes instead of walk.

A Coming of Age involving:

Sergey Robertson, an introverted man with no left nostril obsessed with pop culture events on television.
Quincy Searock, a man with long hair that smacks his gums when he is not talking that recently came out to his parents.


A Suspense/Thriller involving:

Nancy Tavakoli, a former Yugoslavian woman with a limp whose flatulence for some reason smells like “new car scent”
Natalia Jameson, a former High School sports hero with moppy hair and is a chain-smoking non-smoker.

A Mystery involving:
Binsar Al Masbi, a stickly man raised by rockstars that can’t stand women in jeans.
Anna Sedaris, a woman with a pronounced monobrow that witnessed a murder. She is also repulsed by toothy smiles.

A Comedy involving:

Gavin Caldwell, a man with a perfectly developed smile of the entire face that had a child while still in his teenage years and has the curious inability to say the word “and”. He must start a new sentence instead…
Venus Ng, a balding woman that lost a child. Additionally she has a fear of mammals larger than herself.

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