Lesson 5 stumped me for a few days. I truly did not have any inkling of how to approach it and I was dragging my feet to write it. Characterisation by dialogue, which is not my strong point.
Lesson Five is the Characterization Interview. In other words, dialogue between your character and an interviewer. Or if you prefer, dialogue between two of your characters, as long as they promote the main character and reveal things about he or she.
You can use any character from your own writing –short story, novel, poem, etc. Do a simple interview with him/her. We need to think the character is alive; tell us something interesting about him/her. Why do they think they should be a character in your story?
Give us a character interview in 500 words or less. This is to be a dialogue only interview. No he said/she said tags, no explanations such as, she tossed her hair or he frowned, and no intro before the interview. Remember, each speaker starts a new paragraph – use spaces between them.
Even after I was done and clicked `Submit’, I still wasn’t sure if I had interpreted the lesson correctly. Anyway…
“Did you manage to get something to eat, Toby?”
“Yes, Mrs Matheson. A turkey sandwich from the cafeteria.”
“Good. All right then, let’s continue where we left off. Let’s see here…ah, okay. Toby, we were discussing about what you found in Chase’s room on September 16th, the night her parents were away visiting Chase’s sister in San Diego.”
“I don’t mean to be rude; ma’am but I already told you all I know about that night.”
“Yes, you did, Toby. And quite thoroughly but I’d like you to tell me again so that I don’t miss anything out. So, one more time please – what did you find in Chase’s room that night? ”
“Like I said before, I went up to her room and took a cardigan out from her dresser.”
“Do you normally do that? Pick out her clothes?”
“I wasn’t picking out her clothes; I was getting her a cardigan. She was cold.”
“Why couldn’t she get it herself? She was…let’s see…you mentioned that she was downstairs in the family room so she could’ve gotten it herself.”
“She told me she was drowsy and I didn’t want her to navigate the steps from the basement and then up to her room. I was getting a drink from the kitchen and it was easier for me to pop into her room to get her something warm to wear.”
“She was drowsy? At 8pm?”
“It was a long day, Mrs Matheson.”
“Look, Toby, I’m not trying to point fingers at anyone or look for someone to blame but I have to understand what exactly happened that night so that we – her parents and the school can respond appropriately. Do you understand me?”
“What I understand, ma’am is that you’re encouraging me to be disloyal to Chase.”
“I’m not. I’m encouraging you to help her. That’s what best friends do for one another, Toby. So please, what did you find in Chase’s room that night? And before you answer, please be aware that I’ve spoken to Chase’s parents and they’ve told me that they found the lock on their liquor cabinet broken.”
“I…I…I promised Chase! And I’m trying to help her! Did you think I’d just stand by and watch her do this to herself? I’m helping her! I’m doing my best! I’m doing everything that I can!”
“Shhhh….Toby, shhh…there, there. You’re a good friend. Let me make this easy on you…I just need a yes or no answer. Did you find liquor bottles in Chase’s dresser that night?”
“How many were there? This’ll help me understand how much help she’ll need. Do you hear me Toby? I need to know how deep she’s in this. How many?”
“I didn’t count the bottles. I didn’t realise that it had gone that far. There was…there was alot. So many…”
Now, I wait to see how the masses respond.