Interview with Vermont children's novelist Kimberly K. Jones.
Prompt: Today's Write The Book Prompt was inspired by my guest, Kimberly K. Jones, who said that she works to better understand characters she’s having trouble with. If possible, she tries to find some point of connection between herself and a character she may find unlikable, one with whom she doesn’t feel like spending her time.
With this in mind, today’s prompt has to do with getting to know characters better, understanding who they are and what motivates them. First, think of a person about whom you aren’t writing, someone you know very well. Make a quick list of twenty characteristics specific to that person. He takes a walk at 6 every morning. He hates raisins and will pick them out of his food. He has a terrible fear of cats. Etc. When you’ve finished your list, go back and write a question relevant to your own fiction that might be answered by each of the points you’ve just made. Does your character exercise? Where and when? Is your character picky? Are there foods she won’t eat? Is your character an animal person? Might she have a great number of a certain kind of pet, or is there the chance she’d cross the road to avoid one kind of animal? Where was your character raised? Has she ever lost anyone close to her? How did that affect her? Then go through and answer these questions. Let each one raise new questions, if possible. Really get to know your character better. Perhaps she’s not likable because she lost her cousin and best friend as a child and has never again found someone to confide in. Even if that’s not the point of your story, the information can be there, behind the work, informing your writing and helping you find the point of connection that allows you to move forward with this character.
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Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) “Filter” - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)