Thursday, February 20, 2014

Guest Post: Characterization

Hey guys! So today I'm turning the blog over to the lovely Jolene Perry, who has new book out that I am totally stoked for. Take it away, Jolene!

So. I'm taking over for a day, and I thought I'd start by telling you what I ate for breakfast.
I know.
Bear with me. There is a purpose.

For breakfast I ate two bites of a waffle that had already been partially eaten.
I polished off a glass of milk - not mine.
I nibbled on a bread crust before I realized that sort of sucked and then dropped it in the dog bowl.
Two carrots.
A small handful of potato chips.
The final spoonfuls of fruit smoothie from the blender.

WHY did I just tell you this?
Because in a way it's totally insignificant, but in another way it says a LOT about me.

First off, my breakfast is usually whatever my kids don't eat for breakfast along with bits of their lunches.
There could be a million reasons for this, but the reason for ME is that I'm already making two breakfasts and two lunches. I value my time more than I value a breakfast that's made just for me. So. I choose to eat this random way in the morning. Also. It keeps my taste buds from being bored ;-)
And you know I have a dog, and that I like dogs or I wouldn't have given her a treat, but you also know I'm type A enough to drop her food in her bowl instead of hand-feeding her.

Again. WHY did I tell you this?
When I write, I try to know as much about my characters as I can. We can show HUGE things in short scenes. Here's the second scene for my character, Aidan, who I may or may not have a HUGE crush on...

Aunt Beth and Uncle Foster are at the breakfast table looking at me like they always do—like they want to say something, but have no idea how to start. Aunt Beth is the slightly older version of my mom, and it still throws me. We all have the family blue eyes and blond hair, but Beth’s hair is even cut in the same shoulder length hair as Mom’s, making them look almost like twins. I step into the massive kitchen and pull a bowl from the cupboard.

Everything for me now requires multiple steps. Open cupboard door wide enough that it stays open. Let go of door. Pull out bowl. Set bowl down. Reach back up to cupboard door to close it. Pull open silverware drawer. Let go of drawer. Pick out spoon. Set spoon down. Close silverware drawer.
One damn thing at a time. Three months without my arm, and there isn’t a second of the day I don’t think about it. The thing is, no one in this house has yet to comment on it. Not my cousin Jen. Not my cousin Will. Not my aunt. Not my uncle. There’s no way they’re not at least a little curious.

Not that I really want to talk about it, but I definitely don’t forget. It’s not like someone asking me what it’s like will make me suddenly remember I’m missing my arm.


~ Jo