Friday, October 20, 2006

Revising, part I

“In fiction, in order to engage our attention and sympathy, the protagonist must want, and want intensely.” --Janet Burroway

My mentor quoted that and asked me: What does Tracy want? (If you care to know who Tracy is, click here and scroll to "In My Character's Voice and In My Character's Voice, part II.) Here goes: Tracy wants a friend. She wants love. Though she doesn't want to admit these desires or, worse, feel them and then get hurt. She wants someone who accepts her as she accepts herself, who can be quiet with her, who loves dogs.

What would happen if... Chloe (her friend in the story, not my dog) isn't as commited to the friendship as Tracy is? What if this somehow comes out and Tracy is heartbroken? Then what would she do? Could she go back to her life the way it was? Would she reach out to someone else? Who? The vet? And then what would happen? Would she feel dirty for settling for someone who she doesn't find as compelling?

This line of story would work well with one of my mentor's suggestion: Ask yourself, what does Tracy want/love-- and then take that away. What will Tracy do to preserve the status quo? What will she do when it collapses?

I will also be doing some exercises to "spend time with Tracy."

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Repeater said...

Here's what I thought, bug. I thought Tracy really wanted a man but pretends she doesn't. I got a hint at a backstory of pain. Maybe amplify that somehow, how she keeps losing things as well. I like where you're headed.

Bug said...

Thanks Repeater. Good thoughts. (And just to vent: blogger is driving me crazy today! It keeps having errors, etc. GRRR)

Anonymous said...

Wow, those are great questions to get at the heart of your character. I am going to crib that list and keep it in mind. Love her name!