This event is hosted by the lovely Elizabeth Mueller. I am supposed to ask my character three questions in order for me to get to know her better, courtesy of Jeannie Campbell. (You can try this at home and if you sign up for Jeannie's newsletter, you receive the Writer's Guide to Character Motivation for free!) How cool is that?
Question 1: What is your greatest fear, Anna?
Failure, Robyn. Even though I'm only thirteen, I'm a motivated teen girl. I know what I want to do with my life. I want to become a veterinarian. But I'm afraid I won't be able to for one reason or the other. Maybe I think I won't 'get' the math. I had to study a lot just to understand algebra 1. What will happen with advanced algebra and geometry? I am afraid I won't be able to stand up to the pressure. And that means I won't live my dream of helping animals. What's a kid to do? I don't believe that even Sylvan Learning Center can help my poor, dumb old brain understand math. Deep down, I feel it's a lose-lose situation. I'm smart in English, science and history though.
This is what Jeannie says about question 1:
While this is not the first question on my form (I ask for basic info like name and age first), it’s perhaps one of the most important. Our fears, which usually center around a limitation or a failure, perhaps a disappointment or frustration, hold the key to our biggest vulnerability. The same is true for characters.
Fear is fundamental—present in every living thing. It’s relatable to every reader simply in its existence in a character’s life, whether or not they can relate to the specific fear or not. We all have fears, and we all go to great lengths to minimize opportunities for that fear to manifest. This says a lot about a character.
Question 2: What is your biggest accomplishment?
Oh man, that's easy. Claire and I went on an endurance horseback ride and we were lost. For SEVENTY-TWO HOURS we hung on as we tried to find our way out of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And you know what? We made it out alive. Of course I know that Daddy, my brother Ian, and Claire's step-father Ted found us after I had passed out do to complications from my diabetes, but we took care of ourselves. We fished and ate all kinds of natural nature stuff. Our horses survived too. But right now our horses have been stolen and we're going to go and find them. Of course, that's another story, right Robyn?I think besides that, my biggest accomplishment was learning to ride horses. I love being with them They understand me so well and they never ask me if I've done my homework. Or what grade I made on my math exam.
This is what Jeannie says about question 2:The answer might reveal a time when the character showed great courage in the face of danger or kept their integrity when faced with the opportunity to cheat. The joy that a character feels from their moment in the spotlight, so to speak, can follow them through their life and be a constant reminder of how good life used to be, or it can be held as a standard they seek to attain again and again.
It’s interesting to see how far back in a character’s life their greatest accomplishment occurred. How old were they? And what have they done since then? These questions really dig in deep at the core of the character, helping you get to know them.
Question 3: What is your biggest regret?
Have I lived long enough to have regrets? I guess I do have one. The fight that Claire and I had when we were lost. I got bossy and she resented it. I don't blame her one bit either. I wish I wasn't such a control freak. Is that on your list of questions Jeannie? I always have to control every situation. Maybe that's why I am so afraid of math. That's one thing I can't control. I can study and hope for the best, but that's about it. If I don't have a math brain then I'm in trouble. Controlling everything in my world and math. Hmmm. I think you've helped me figure something out about myself, Robyn You're a good writer girl.
This is what Jeannie says about question 3:
The answer to this question truly reveals a goldmine of information about someone. If a person feels shame or embarrassment over something they said or did, this connects to their self-image and values. If a person feels guilt over their actions or inaction's, this is connected to their moral code.
Sit your character down and force them to answer these questions. I suggest filling out my intake form in the voice of your character. I’ve been told by all my beta testers that my form helped them get to know their characters better than ever, so give it a try!
What Robyn says about questions 1-3:
I didn't know that Anna was awful in math . Now that I do know, I can write that into the story I'm working on now, which deals with the same characters.
Thanks for helping Anna, Jeannie. You rock!