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"Princess Di"

Exercise #63 : "Princess Di"

This is an exercise to explore and help round out one of your characters. Take one you have already written about - or one that you have a mind to write about - and answer the following questions in a single sentence. The first thing that pops into your mind is usually the most revealing.
  • What would he or she think of Princess Di?
  • If he or she were to have met Princess Di in person, how would he or she have behaved? Be as specific as possible.
  • If he or she were to come across a book about Princess Di, what would he or she do with it?
  • What would he or she think of Princess Di's marriage?
  • Of Princess Di's affair with Dodi al Fayed?
  • What would he or she believe about Princess Di's death?
  • What would he or she do or say (and to whom?) upon learning the news of Princess Di's death?
If you have time, make up and answer more questions along the same lines.

I'm going to go with a character who is, at this point, unnamed. She is a part of my work in progress (which is still, by the way, in the very beginnings of any sort of production...). I guess I should give you a background setup.

The story is set in the distant future. Space travel is possible, but it is still new enough for there to be quite a bit of exploration to do. For example, we have opened up trade routes with several alien races but have not yet visited their home planets / galaxies. My character - let's call her... uh... Lia - is the daughter of a wealthy tradesman, very high up in the bureaucratic chain, so high up, in fact, that he has quite a bit of political clout.

Piracy has grown over the years, and no spaceship is safe. As a result, many of Lia's father's ships have been hijacked and plundered, and he has begun a political movement pushing for tighter security and harsher punishment for apprehended pirates.

Lia's life is lived publicly, and she learned early on that a quiet daughter was better than an outspoken one.

Keeping all of that in mind, let's begin, shall we?

I think I'll do this in the format of an interview. We'll pluck her out of the future and put her in the past, just a little bit after Princess Di has died. I will address the question about her behavior upon meeting the Princess afterward in paragraph format.

Stef (Me): So have you heard about all of this Princess Di business?

Lia: Yes, I have. It's tragic.

S: What did you think of her?

L: I thought she was lovely. Wonderfully composed, giving, nurturing... She was a person to emulate. For a while, I actually bought as many books about her life as I could and read them cover to cover.

S: And what about her marriage to Prince Charles? Were you a supporter of this union?

L: It was unfortunate, but I can understand her actions. As a woman of high society, she was expected to marry within that group of people. She didn't marry for love. It was a business agreement. Sadly, it didn't work out, but I think Princess Diana was able to accomplish much more than she would have been able to had she not married him.

S: Interesting. What were your reactions to her affair with Dodi al Fayed?

L: Can one really classify her relationship with him as an "affair?" Her divorce was finalized in 1996 but had been going on since 1995, and she began seeing not al Fayed but Hasnat Khan during this time. Only 2 years later, when Khan ended the relationship, did she begin seeing al Fayed. I believe that she has the right to her own privacy, and that privacy should be respected.

S: Do you believe any of the conspiracy theories surrounding her death?

L: I don't know, and, like I said before, her right to privacy should be respected.

S: What did you do when you heard?

L: I wept. The world lost a great woman that day, and I felt a terrible loss.

End of interview.

If Lia met had Princess Di, what would she have done?
Lia would have treated her with admiration and the utmost respect. In the end, she would probably have remained quiet and reserved in her presence, hoping not to step on anyone's toes but hanging on her every word.

5-ish minutes up. More like 10... But who's counting? :) This was fun, and I think it actually helped me with my work in progress... Wahoo!

Speaking of which, when I actually get some of this story down on paper, I think I may post a little of it here... Of course, it's scifi, so it doesn't appeal to some, but that's ok. Those of you that hate it can just skip those posts. :) That won't be happening for a while, however, but I'll let you know when an excerpt is coming up.

I am unsure, though, how I should post excerpts. Should I do them in actual story order, or should I do bits and pieces scrambled all over the plot? How do you guys do it? Any advice would be appreciated.



Marisa Birns said…
Well it depends on how you write it. Do you write in linear story order? Or do you write things down and then rearrange? I think you could write it in bits and pieces IF the pieces are stand-alones and the reader doesn't need to know what went on before.

kathryn said…
Hmmm...going to have to give this one some thought! Wanted to say hello, though.

Stef Howerton said…
Well, Marisa, I'm not sure what my "method" is at this point... I've written stories from beginning to end, piece by piece, etc, but have never really chosen which one works best for me. If I HAD to make a decision right now, I'd go with bits and pieces just because my mind is a jumbled mess like that. haha That being said, however, the current wip is definitely one that needs to be told in linear order... So it would seem that I have reached an impasse. We'll see. :)

And Kathryn, hello! :) Welcome to 52 Weeks of Wordage! Glad to see a fresh face.
Laura Eno said…
You could also write 'vignettes' with your secondary characters. That's basically what Jeff Posey has done with his Ananazi stories for #fridayflash.
Stef Howerton said…
hmm... Laura, that's a good idea. :)

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