WHO ARE THE CHARACTERS
This is the First assignment in the course Intermediate Novel offered by The Writer’s Workshop • The class is taught by Jana Harris • The text used for this class is The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray
• July 29, 2021 Assignment 2
WRITING ASSIGNMENT #2:
List your protagonist(s), antagonist(s), and their major helpers. (Try to limit yourself to five characters.) Answer these questions about each character:
- A. What does X want?
- B. How is X related to the other characters, i.e., how are they connected?
- C. Brief physical description of X
- D. Fate of X?
- E. What physical object(s) is symbolic of this character?
This was the response by the teacher to the assignment “Who are the Characters”:
Fabulous!!!! Clearly your novel is very well planned Your details are almost Shakespearian in their logic and depth. The character-driven plot creates good conflict and complications of conflict. See comments in CAPS throughout text. You have a tremendous facility for wit, keep sharpening it. What I would like you to do is to write the same thing for the minor characters: Audra’s mother, Dani, Kit, and maybe Ricky’s father and Jane’s ex. With this game plane, it feels as if your novel is writing itself.
List your Characters and their function within the story (I submitted three from this list):
- Audra Jane Noon – Protagonist
- Enrique (Ricky) Jones – Protagonist, Love Interest, first student at the school, Special ed. Student, possibly Kit, Dani and Audra’s foster brother
- Danielle (Dani) Reed – Helper, Audra’s best friend and former next door neighbor, Jane’s eldest daughter
Kit (Kathleen) Reed – Helper, Audra’s best friend and former next door neighbor, Jane’s youngest daughter
- Jane Reed – Antagonist, Dani and Kit’s mother, possibly Audra’s stepmother, principal of the school, possible foster mother to Ricky
- Arcangelo (Arc) Noon – Antagonist, Special ed. teacher, father of Audra, possible stepfather to Danielle and Kit, possible foster father to Ricky
How is X related to the other characters, i.e., how are they connected? Audra is Dani and Kit’s best friend and soon to be step sisters; Ricky is her love interest. Jane is her Godmother, possible step mother, and nemesis. Arc is the father who abandoned her. Her place with him since they moved is dependent on how well she fares with Jane. Her place with him is never secure.
Sketch: Audra. alone in the Red Cabin at the table, turns the dial of the transistor radio to find her favorite songs.
Birthdate: June 4, 1963
Birthplace: Buffalo, NY
Hair: deep brown, amber highlights cut into a long shag
Clothes: cotton waffle long johns from the Army/Navy store, flannel button down tied around her waist, 501 jeans
Shoes: canvas ripped sneakers
Jewelry:sterling silver with a turquoise stone ring and a nature hemp colored macramé choker GREAT TOUCH
Financial status: Working class
Health: Robust, active, given to chronic motion sickness
Fatal Flaw: Because of her unpredictable and contrary emotional state, she thinks there is something essentially wrong with her. This leaves her feeling desperately insecure.
Mind: Creative, smart, observant, insecure, emotional
Face: Square shape, expressive, light mustache
Eyes : large and round, same color as her hair, dark eyebrows
Poses: When around boys, she can be a little round shouldered and pulled inward; with her friends she is active and animated and outspoken GOOD USE OF CONTRAST
Build: Hourglass shape – curvy and strong
Arms: Strong and defined by hauling water, cutting firewood, and moving boxes
Legs: Muscular from riding her bike
Imperfections: too much body hair and insecure
Home: In the woods with her father for visitions. She lives primarily with her mother in Oregon where they recently moved. They live in a small rented apartment
Favorite Room: Where she is right now in the “Red Cabin” on the inside looking out.
View from the Window: The window is stapled with plastic so she sees a blurry outline as if she needed glasses. She sees the rough, blurred shapes of the boys making a fire and her father Arc cutting shakes for the roof.
Habits: She bites on the inside of her cheek which can make her appear as if she is puckering up in a lopsided fashion. WOW
Vehicle: Her dad’s 1970 baby blue Ford pick-up truck and her mother’s International Scout. GREAT SPECIFICITY
Primary Motivation: She craves love, attention, and belonging. Once she gets that, she pulls inward. She wants to expand and contract.
Fate of Audra: She gets her father. She can come and go from his life as she pleases (rather than vice versa). She gets to have her life relatively free from the trauma of abandonment.
What physical object(s) is symbolic of this character? Wishing Rocker, red American Tourister suitcase, button down flannels, cotton waffle knit long johns, ripped up canvas sneakers, fire, transistor radio, loft bed, firewood, kindling, hatchet, guitar GOOD LIST AND GOOD USE OF A LIST
How is X related to the other characters, i.e., how are they connected? Ricky is attracted to Audra. He relies on Dani to tell him what to do. He is affectionate with Kit like an older brother. He begins to treat Jane as a surrogate mother. He relies on Arc to teach him.
Sketch: Ricky sits alone on the “Dead Pecker” HA, GREAT WIT bench outside a convenient store with a bag of chips and a coke. He awaits the bus.
Birthdate: February 2, 1962
Birthplace: San Jose, California
Hair: black with tight, thick curls
Clothes: baseball t-shirt, jeans, boxers
Shoes: leather hiking boots with yellow tagged soles, greased regularly to make them smooth and waterproof. WONDERFUL DETAILS HERE AND THROUGHOUT
Jewelry: macrame bracelet that Audra made and left on the Red Cabin table
Financial status: His father enjoys generational wealth GREAT TERM that enables him to have an enormous amount of free time. Ricky is completely dependent financially on his father’s whims
Health: strong, lean, fit with defined muscles
Fatal Flaw: Ricky believes that if he is a good enough person and follows the teachings of the Jehovah Witnesses, he can bring his mother back from the dead in the Millennial Kingdom. He is estranged from his mother’s family and his father has left him to his own devices. He needs parenting
Mind: deliberate, kind, thoughtful, literal, quiet
Face: His skin is light brown, strong nose, full lips, high cheekbones
Eyes : Bright green eyes hooded by his naturally shapely eyebrows which give him an ethnically indeterminate look. He is clearly not white. Puerto Rican people know he is Puerto Rican, but until the end of the novel he is never around any Puerto Rican people
Poses: He tends to sit out of the action on a chair or bench with his knees bent and his hands resting on top.
Build: slim, taut, muscular
Arms: lean with defined muscles and shoulders
Legs: Lean, in proportion to the rest of his body. He has the look of an athlete but smaller
Imperfections: sulky and given to tearful grief
Home: He is dependent on his father’s capricious nature. He resides at this school but he does not know for how long.
Favorite Room: Jumping off the rocks into the swimming hole
View from the Window: the creek, swimming, and playing in the waterfall
Habits: sitting in silence waiting to be told what to do next
Vehicle: His father drives him around in a red corvette stingray, now he rides in the back of Jane and Arc’s Ford pick up truck
Primary Motivation: He seeks to do the right thing so he can be with Audra and bring his mother back from the dead.
Fate of Ricky: Ricky moves to New York City to live with his grandparents (mother’s parents). This move causes him to be estranged from his dad but Ricky finishes his childhood in the care of his family’s robust Puerto Rican community. This is where Ricky finally retrieves the memory and love of his mother.
What physical object(s) is symbolic of this character? Dead Pecker Bench, sleeping bag, pillow, army duffel bag, bot of water over campfire, army shower head, towel. pick, waterproofing for boots, potato chips, coke-a-cola, toothbrush, white buckets for carrying water
How is X related to the other characters, i.e., how are they connected? Jane is the central antagonist of Audra’s story. Jane is Audra’s Godmother and middle namesake. She is in a relationship (possible marriage) to Audra’s father Arc. Jane has been having an affair with Arc for years. She is the only one who knew where exactly he was when he left. She had been plotting and planning for years how exactly to pull off her exodus. Arc’s impulsive visit and then Audra calling the fire department, caused the collapse of her careful planning. She wanted her daughters, Dani and Kit, to live in the woods with her and Arc. As their mother, she assumed they would have to go wherever she was but the legalities of leaving, inextricable family ties, and Dani’s resistance keeps Jane from gaining full custody. She resents that Arc’s ex wife simply moved to Oregon and Audra is so available to her father when it is so complicated with her own girls. She wants her and her daughters to be the primary focus of her and Arc’s new life. She resents how suddenly focused and involved Arc is with Audra whenever she arrives. Audra’s impulsiveness and natural charisma (much like her father) flummoxes Jane’s plans at every turn. EXCELLENT CONFLICT AND COMPLICATIONS OF CONFLICT
Sketch: on a lounge chair reading Our Bodies, Our Selves next to the “big house” that is under construction.
Birthdate: November 5, 1946
Birthplace: Gowanda, NY
Hair: The jean cut-off short shorts reveal her red underwear like a lip along her bottom. She wears a handkerchief halter with no bra. The outline of her nipples and shape of her bust is outlined.
Clothes: long, thin, fine, lays lank and a little greasy
Shoes: leather sandals with a strap laced around the big toe GREAT DETAIL
Jewelry: She regularly wears (although not when she is working on the vehicles or in the garden) a leather bracelet with a large pink agate made for her by Arc and a small gold cross on a thin gold chain given to her by her ex husband on the day Dani was born.
Financial status: rural working class poor elevated to working class upon marriage (married to a fireman). While she was married, she found a scholarship for women teachers. As Arc was in California, she pursued her degree. She never taught in traditional school setting except for student teaching. Jane is good at navigating the paperwork.
Health: She thinks of herself as frail and fragile – a damsel in distress who is continually disappointed by the princes who rescue her. She is strong and hearty enough to fix the vehicles and garden. She is depressed and sobs a lot in her room.
Fatal Flaw: She is licentious
Mind: intelligent, analytical, careful planner and yet given to impulsiveness with drugs and sex
Face: Round face with thin lips and wide nostrils
Eyes : small brown with hooded eyelids
Poses: She likes to position herself like a pin-up as if someone were just about to take her picture. Her poses are suggestive with one hip and shoulder jutting forward, or she will turn to look behind her.
Build: slight frame with ample and curvy breasts and butt.
Arms: she has little upper body strength but is able to do fine motor skills well – type, sew, mechanical things
Legs: legs are long in proportion to her body and thin
Imperfections: Her face is plain. Her body is not. She is a little too mannered in her speech as if can transform herself into the person she wants to be – sexy, beautiful, alluring, cheerful – by putting that on. She is the stereotypical middle child who wants all the attention but doesn’t get it.
Home: Red cabin, soon to be the “Big House”. She has to leave for longish periods to appease her daughters’ father and get custody of them. She stays with her parents in Gowanda (the place she fled from as a girl). She has to stay for long periods because she and Arc don’t have the money for airline tickets and all the court proceedings are in NY.
Favorite Room: On her lounge chair reading a book.
View from the Window: Arc is cutting shingles in the big house. Her daughters are playing kick the can on the creek bed. She can barely see them in the distance but can hear their laughter echoed against the canyon walls,
Vehicle: 1970 baby blue ford pick up truck with an aluminum camper she and Arc retrieved from a junk yard.
Primary Motivation: to escape the life that was assigned to her and her daughters
Fate of Jane: Jane has an affair with Ricky’s father, then leaves Arc to return to Buffalo, NY with her girls where she gets a job sa public school teacher. Eventually with her cleverness with paperwork and school, she becomes a principal and is able to buy property for cheap in the city.
What physical object(s) is symbolic of this character? Paperwork (divorce, custodial, foster care, school charter), typewriter, ink pen, handkerchief halter top, sewing machine, jean fabric, bus tickets, cocaine, guitar, truck engine, grease, ink stains, old worn rag to wipe off grease and ink, ash (for the outhouse), aviation sunglasses, big round Jackie O glasses for her nearsightedness, Marlboro reds, zippo chrome lighter
This class was funded by a generous endowment to my writing by my mom.