Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Getting to Know You

How well do we really know anybody? I confess I am frequently surprised when someone I feel I know well does something out of character: a normally optimistic person suddenly bursts into tears over a trifle; a thrifty woman splurges on a dress she knows she will only wear one time...

My reaction is to find out why--maybe to offer a shoulder to cry on in the first instance, and congratulations, if they are in order, in the second.

At the RWA chapter meeting (Carolinas Romance Writers) last Saturday, we did a writing exercise after lunch with the purpose of seeing how well we really knew our character. Frankly, I was less than enthusiastic, but I got out my pen and borrowed a sheet of notebook paper from my neighbor.

The assignment was to write a monologue expressing our character's emotions after a traumatic event. This was my response:

He just left. Paid the bill and said he wasn't coming back. I didn't believe him at first, but Stan didn't play jokes. I guess I kept hoping he'd meet us at the house. The kids really took it hard when the night wore on and they realized their dad had really gone. Blamed themselves and still do--God, they still hurt so much, even two years later. But they never had a chance to say goodbye. At least I had that.

I am willing to admit the piece doesn't really explore Marcie's emotions except for her concern for her kids. But that concern is a big part of the story as Marcie moves on and looks back to see her twins still stuck somewhere between anger and grief.

And it isn't true the twins didn't have a chance to say goodbye, so I don't know why I wrote that. They had a chance and refused it. And their anger includes their mother, who took Stan back after the divorce. Of course, she had a good reason....even if none of her family and friends accept it.

No, this isn't from one of my published books. It's from my new work in progress, tentatively titled "The Appointment." More about that later.

As for "A Question of Boundaries" (thanks for asking!) it is still awaiting judgment. I'm hoping to find a home for it somewhere. Please keep your fingers crossed.


  1. Sounds like a great exercise, Sandy. I miss seeing the group!

  2. Hi Sandy,
    I had a really tough time coming up with workshop to support the character presentation, and like you, was a bit surprised at how much I learned. I created the character, so you'd think I'd know her, right? Still, my heroine surprised me.

    Good blog!