Monday, March 28, 2011

Love Your Main Character - Exercise 2

I'm still working on learning to love my main character, so won't you join me?

Writing Exercise: Write about where your main character would go on vacation. My response is below.

Danya Larson - Beach
By Dawn M. Hamsher

Danya goes to the same place every year for vacation -- to the beach, Ocean City, New Jersey.

Danya rents the same two-room garage loft. It's small, but has everything she needs. She
spends most of her time on the beach, two blocks away. 

In the evenings, Danya walks the boardwalk. She loves Mack & Manco pizza, T & M Monkey Bread and Boardwalk Fries. She loves the book store there, Atlantic Books, where she worked for several summers in college. The owners still welcome her like a daughter and set aside books for her to look through. They know she always takes home at least one beach-type book to remember her trip by.

Danya's father sometimes comes for a day or two on the weekend of her beach trip and they enjoy a nice dinner out, but the rest of the week she is alone (the way she likes it). Free to read, free to sleep, free to take a walk, free to sit and watch tourists. She always finds it amusing to see the tourists coming off the beach, unaware of their angry red skin and the pain they will suffer later.

If there is a rainy evening, Danya will watch the family vacation DVD her father gave her a few years back. It contains old clips of her mother, father and herself at the beach.  

  • Danya sleeping on a beach towel under a shade umbrella. Her mother stroking her baby feet and kissing her cheek.
  • Danya sitting in the sand, crying and reaching for her mother. Her mother would pick her up. She would stop crying. Her mother would set her back down. Danya would start crying because she didn't like the gritty sand on her skin.
  • Her mother holding Danya's hands as the waves came in. Her mother would lift her and her toes would skim the water.
  • Danya helping her mother build a sand castle, decorating it with seashells, seaweed, twigs that they had collected from the shore. 
  • Danya being pulled on a boogie board by her father. After they dried off, Danya's father took the camera and zoomed in on her mother. Her mother was smiling, telling him to turn it off. Her father held the camera sideways and kissed her mother, getting it partly on tape.  Then Danya joined the fun, jumping on them both, knocking the camera to the ground. The film was still running, capturing a jumble of feet and flicking sand.
It had been 26 years since her mother died in the car crash. The beach was the place that Danya felt close to her mother. Danya felt contented there. After watching the tape, Danya would fall asleep, murmuring, "Goodnight, Mama."


  1. Hi. New follower. I'm glad to have found you!

    This was an interesting question for me because my MC, Jie, has no concept of a vacation. If she did, however, I think she would go somewhere warm and colorful to escape her dismal city.

    For Jie, however, it is less about the where and more about the who. Jie's constant ache subsides only when her closest friend, Dyre, is next to her. She will follow Dyre, wherever he chooses to go. At least in the beginning of the story. It is interesting to think about how her answer to that question changes by the end.

  2. I'm really hoping you will bring more chapters to our writing group soon! One of my fond memories of last summer was meeting every Wednesday and getting to hear more from your book. You've really been an inspiration to me!

    You're growing to love your main character and so am I!

    I really hope I can do these 'loving your character' exercises soon!

  3. Hi. I'm a new follower--and I've really enjoyed your blog. So I've passed on an award to you.

    Please check it out and pass it on.


I appreciate your comments! I try to respond to each one.