Friday, January 20, 2012

Write 1, Sub 1 Blog Chain - Interview with a Character

Turns out the MC (Keira Fennel) of my steampunk novel (Gaslyte) doesn't have time for interviews. Being the sneaky author that I am, I slipped an extra scene into the story and got a few answers from her anyway.


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The corridor below The Bell and Burrow is cold enough to be uncomfortable. Doors open on the right, dim rooms beyond that smell of copper and whisper of velvet and silk. Keira stuffs her hands in her pockets and limps a little faster. The hall has been empty so far; if she's spotted that could change, quick.

Glyphs on the wall indicate she should turn left. The new route is darker, smaller, colder. “Pox.” Head down, she doesn't see the glim in the air 'til she smacks right into it. Magic flexes and pushes her back several steps.

“What the hell?” She puts her hand out, takes a cautious step forward. Her fingers touch nothing, but she cannot move any further down the hall. A glance around for a sign of a lock, but there's nothing. She thumps her fist against the invisible barrier and lyte swirls, solidifying into a small, dark figure.

“Before you continue, you must answer a few questions.”

Keira rubs her fingers through her hair. “Great.” She points her chin at the gatekeeper ward. “Go on, then.”

“What do you consider your greatest achievement?”

“Fuck me mam.” She paces a few steps. “What kind of a riddle is that?”

“Not a riddle. A question. There is no correct answer.”

Keira looks at the shadow-thing, suspicious. “Right.”

“What do you consider your greatest achievement?”

“I'm still alive, aren't I?”

“Survival is your greatest achievement?”

“Yes.”

The gatekeeper-ward tilt's its head. “Interesting.”
“Can I pass?”

“Not yet.” The ward looks down, as though consulting a piece of paper. “What is your idea of perfect happiness?”

“I don't have one.” She fingers the buttons on her coat.

“The answers don't matter in and of themselves, but they must be honest.”

“To have the ones I love safe and sound away from this damned city.”

“Ones? Plural?”

“That's right.”

“Who are they?”

Keira chews her lip. “My da. And Lowen.” The last comes out, reluctant.

“Who is Lowen?”

Her cheeks flush. “A friend.” She presses her lips together tight.

The gatekeeper figure leans closer. “Who do you love more?”

I don't.” She thumps her fist against the magic blocking her way. “What kind of ward are you anyway?”

One who isn't done asking questions.” A pause. “If you had to choose between saving your father and saving your friend who would you pick?”

Keira spreads her feet a little wider on the floor, arms crossed over her chest. “I'd save them both.”

What if you couldn't? What if trying to save both meant you'd all perish, what...”

We'd all die.” She's white around the lips, hands knotted into fists.

Are you afraid of that, then? Having to choose between them?”

Banjaxy.”

I'm not sure I'm familiar with that term. What does it mean?”

It doesn't mean anything.” She rakes her fingers through her hair. “It means your questions are fucked up.”

So you are afraid of that.”

Who wouldn't be afraid of losing someone they love?” Keira's almost leaning against the barrier.

Ah. True. Let's see.” Again as if checking a list. “Is that your greatest fear, then?”

She pauses. “I guess.”

There's something else you're more afraid of?”

Banjaxy.”

That's not an answer.”

Keira kicks the barrier and lyte glims, wall to wall. “Are you going to let me pass?”

You haven't answered all my questions.”

I'll find another way around.” She turns, stomping back down the hall the way she came.

What if there isn't one?” The gatekeeper's voice drifts after her.

I'll make one.” She rolls her shoulders to unkink muscles that have locked up. If I have to tear the whole place down.

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The previous link in the blog chain can be found here - Cas Webb's Interview - and don't miss the next link in the chain over at Defcon's Blog.

15 comments:

bettielee said...

BANJAXY! I forgot that one! Oh, this is good. Remember, I told you, I'm always up for a re-beta when you're ready! :)

KitCat said...

Very cool! I love her temperment Aggy :)

defcon said...

Ha! I like the approach, quite different. I sometimes think characters like to be difficult for the sake of being difficult.

BD Wilson said...

Very nice approach to the interview, and a really determined character ^_^

A.G. Carpenter said...

BettieLee: I haven't forgotten. I'm just slogging through the rewrites, trying to make sense of some of the vague bits in the previous draft.

KitCat: Thanks. She's a feisty one.

Defcon: I just couldn't quite wrap my head around Keira sitting down for an interview with anyone. So, I tried a different angle of attack.

BDWilson: Thanks. :)

Hunter Emkay said...

Ha. You used the first two questions I did for my own character interview. Wish my MC had told me to fuck off, however. Would have been a lot shorter.

Like Defcon said, characters like to be difficult just to be a, er, character.

Lillian C. said...

Oh, wow! This totally made me laugh. I love, love, LOVE this take on the interview! (I myself have issues trying to do interviews with my characters. Most of them would simply never be caught dead in any sort of traditional interview setting. >.<)

Ah, I love reading AW blog chains.

luke kurtis said...

i started reading this not sure what to think. but it was really engaging. really liked the character.

Patsy said...

Great way to get her to talk to you!

Lydia Gray said...

Great interview, Aggy!

Congrats on the W1S1 thing :)

Steve Ramey said...

That is a clever trick. Nice. Congrats on the Write 1 Sub 1 success.

Simon Kewin said...

Great stuff! Just dropping in from W1S1 to say congrats on the Juggernaut thing.

Kay Theodoratus said...

Nice sample/interview.

Came over from W1S1

Jillian said...

I love this creative take on the interview, and based on this passage I couldn't see your character sitting down for a traditional one either! Best of luck with this work and congrats on W1S1.

Milo James Fowler said...

This is a great exercise; I have my creative writing students do the same.

And CONGRATS on reaching your January Write1Sub1 goals!