Speaking to a CrowdYesterday we place a character in a scenario to see how s/he would behave.

I thought about my main character, but decided that was too easy because I know her really well. I was curious to see what would happen with a different character, so I chose a secondary character who speaks at a school assembly, from the POV of my main character, Sheridan.

Emma gripped the podium; I could almost see how white her knuckles were, even from this distance. Her mouth was set in a thin line, her eyes narrow and small inside the dark ring of eyeliner.

“I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say,” she said, her voice hard, but with a hint of a quaver. “Joe’s dead and we loved him.” She bit her lip; people shifted in their seats. “We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Everyone in this room needs to take the flyer home and talk to your parents about the fundraising auction. Don’t just stuff it in your backpack or leave it on a counter and forget about it. Tell them about it. Let them know it matters.” She paused and took a breath, then whispered, “Thanks,” and sat down quickly in her chair.

How quickly did you know?

I knew right away she’d be a little angry and that would come through. But I didn’t know she would be so insistent about the auction, and I didn’t expect her to stop so quickly. This character likes to be the center of attention, but in this case, with her boyfriend dead, she prefers the sidelines. I didn’t realize that until this moment, when I had to answer the question. That’s given me real insight. Very cool.