October X Rocks

See sidebar for Wednesday Exercise explanations.

I had planned to post my part 2 of the Sept. exercise, but the October X was too awesome to pass up doing instead. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Take any character(s) from your WiP and make a list of times in their life (childhood, teens, adult, etc). For each time frame make a list of important possessions and people. Create a free association paragraph incorporating one time frame and at least one item and person from the list.

How well do you know your MC? How about your secondary(ies) and minor characters?

I'm very character driven, so I think getting backstory on each character in the story helps in numerous ways. When I read a book, I love to feel like I know everyone in it. I want to feel a part of the whole world the author creates, not just read about the MC's life/story.

I used two [very] minor characters and struck gold. Possibly even another WiP with what I got out of them! Very exciting stuff. I had no idea how deep they were.

Hunter (in rehab):
He barely saw the guitar through the blur. But he didn’t have to. The day his mom had brought it home he’d looked over every inch of it, top to bottom and back again. The day Mom had asked Asshole if she could take Hunter to guitar lessons, Asshole beat her senseless. But Mom must have saved every penny she could hide from Asshole and got the guitar anyway for his twelfth birthday. He taught himself to play and whenever Asshole wasn’t around Mom begged to hear it – even though he played the hard shit she hated. When she was lying in her bed dying of cancer, she still begged to hear him play. And he did. He learned all her favorite songs and played until his fingers screamed in pain, hoping it would save her. But Asshole wouldn’t let her get chemo. Nothing. When the bastard showed up at her funeral, Hunter finally did what he should have done all along. He took him outside and beat the hell out of him, so bad Asshole was still lying, bloody, in the back of his brand new BMW when the funeral ended. Hunter got in his Mom’s fifteen year old Honda and drove away. He’d only had his license six months, but he racked up a year’s worth of miles driving across the country to California. The only thing he brought was the guitar his mother bought him.

Raisa (rescued from Russian traffickers by my MC):
It was silly, trivial, but it was her only piece of childhood. There was only a tiny shred left of the yellow and brown blanket Mama had made. After her father left they didn’t even have food to eat most nights, and they never had heat. But Mama had taken the only warm dresses she had and made her the blanket so she wouldn’t freeze. When she left home at eighteen to find work so that she could help feed her sick brother, it was the only thing Raisa took with her. Once she’d been sold she somehow managed to keep it with her. When she escaped the first time and went home to find her mother and brother had died, she was more determined than ever to keep her precious blanket. Now she was sewing it into a blanket for her own baby. A baby she was thrilled about. This was the third time she’d been pregnant, and the only time she even knew the father. The only time men hadn’t held her down and kicked and punched her belly until she bled the baby away. She was terrified something would happen, but the doctors said nothing was wrong, and now that she was starting to show, she felt a little better. She had to go to Hunter and tell him. He deserved to know that he was going to be a father – no matter their outcome. She would never keep his child from him. And it could be just the thing he needed to live for.


Lola Sharp said...

Fun exercise for minor characters!!

I think doing a book on Hunter is a great idea...I always wondered what his damage was. I always thought he was begging to have his story told.

Maybe it would be a fun Nano thing to write? (see how I'm trying to persuade you to join us for nano? Come on...Summer, Portia, JP and I are doing it. Pleeaaassse?)


Stina Lindenblatt said...

Hey, this is a great idea. I love knowing my characters inside and out before I start the first draft. Certainly makes things easier. :)

Deniz Bevan said...

I still love these outtakes Tara. So heartbreaking and real.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a good exercise. I like detailed characters as well.

Hannah Kincade said...

I'm doing NaNo as well. I've been doing exercises like these for a couple of weeks for my idea. Join us.

Tara said...

L - You're thinking of Chris (the withdrawal scene?) probably. Hunter is only mentioned in passing, but I have added a little more of him in there since he will play a bigger role in Book 2. Still unsure about NaNo, will depend on whether I finish my edits in the next couple weeks.

Hannah - It sounds like you are trying to convince me to the Dark Side. Teehee. Oh wait, we're talking about writing - you are ;-)

Thanks everyone. I'm still unplugged for the week more or less, just wanted to pop in.

Talei said...

Hi Tara, great exercise and characters you have here! ;)

And I have an award for you at my blog, please do pop by when you've finishing unplugging! ;)

Susan Fields said...

What a great exercise! You've got some fascinating characters there - thanks for sharing!

Donna Hole said...

These are cool characters. So vivid and interesting.

A great exercise.