In section 4 of Spilling Ink, we are challenged to convince our characters that they are alive. Pretty cool way to look at this. Although it feels really impractical to me, I am going to bite the proverbial bullet and do one of the assignments from the chapter. Why? Two reasons: 1. I said I was going to write something related to each section, so I am going to try to keep my word. 2. We ask kids to write stories with characters, so we should be willing to have a go at it ourselves.
Remember that Spilling Ink is a young writer's handbook. Ellen Potter advises young writers to get to know their characters before they start writing. She says to sit on your bed and pretend your character is sitting across from you. (I am not too old to pretend. I am not sitting on my bed, however. There is a bed in this room, though-- the spare bedroom/office--so that is where my character is seated.) The authors suggest a list of questions to ask your character:
1. What is your happiest memory(ies)?
Eating dinner around the kitchen table. Together. It didn't happen very often.
2. What makes you laugh so hard soda shoots out of your nose?
When people trip, fall, or get hit in an unfortunate body part with a ball. America's Funniest Home Videos is my favorite show.
3. What don't you want anyone to find out about you?
I've cheated on a couple of spelling tests. Also, I wanted to work in the library at school, but I couldn't pass ABC order test.
4. What is the best part of your personality?
I am patient.
5. What shoes do you usually wear?
Black Converse sneakers.
6. Name some things you are not very good at.
Spelling, ABC order, school in general. I can't sing either.
7. How would your best friend describe how you look?
They would say I am pretty because it's what's on the inside that counts.
8. What are you afraid of?
The dark. Tight spaces.
9. What do you think of yourself when you look in the mirror?
I try to avoid mirrors.
10. What does your bedroom look like?
Wood paneling on the walls. Twin bed. My bookshelf overflows.