*********As I read novels I try to uncover what the characters want and the obstacles that get in their way. In a well-written book this tension between goal and satisfaction of that goal drives the story and keep readers rooting for the main character's success.
A few days ago, in an attempt to solidify what my main character, Anna Katherine Dinsmore wants, I decided to interview her. Here is what she told me.
CAROL: What do you want, Kate?
KATE: I want my grandmother to like me. To stop bugging me. To leave me alone and let me be myself.
KATE: Because she gets on my nerves. She makes me feel like I’m not good enough the way I am.
CAROL: There’s got to be more to it than that. Did you ever feel loved by anyone?
KATE: In Cheraw. Auntie always made me feel safe. Selena liked me. The goats did too. But they would like anyone who fed them and rubbed their heads. Dolly was sort of partial to me though.
CAROL: What else do you want?
KATE: I am lonely and would like a friend. To feel like I belong somewhere. I belonged on the farm in Cheraw. Now I don’t. I’ve told you. In Myers Park I feel like a cornstalk in a rose garden.
CAROL: Anything else?
KATE: I want to go home and have Daddy there and feel safe again.
CAROL: I didn’t know that. So, is this book going to be about you trying to get back to Cheraw?
KATE: No, I don’t think so. I also want to be able to speak my mind. Does that count?
CAROL: You’re cheating. You must have read the book!
KATE: Come on. I want honesty, a friend, to feel safe and accepted. What do these all have in common?
CAROL: Hey, I thought I was asking the questions! These are all internal struggles. What about some external struggles? You know, “public stakes.”
KATE: Having a friend so I’m not lonely is public. I might have to take some risks to prove to that person that we can be friends. And I’d also love to get back at Grandmother for how she treats Mama and to tell her to stuff it! That’s pretty public!
CAROL: I would say so.
After this interview, I took out a copy of my reproducible, Create a Character, and filled it out. This also gave me more insights into Kate, her longings, and her personality.
If you are writing fiction, feel free to download this reproducible. That's how I found out that Kate wants to get even with her grandmother. Other interesting tidbits came out including how she is embarrassed about the pimples on her forehead, her changing body, and her smelly feet.
I don't know where Kate is taking me, but I think I'll go along for the ride. Meanwhile, here are two Norman Rockwell pictures that have
helped me to picture Kate as I write her story. The first one is how I picture Kate at about 10, the second when she is 13.
|Girl with Black Eye, 1953|
|Girl at the Mirror, 1954|