Welcome to another edition of Beautiful People, hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Beautiful People is a monthly feature where we writers get to answer some questions about our characters. If you’re a writer, I totally recommend participating—it helps you get inside your characters head, and plus it’s just so much fun!
I’m currently in the editing stages with my WIP but I still have fun thinking about aspects of character that may never even show up in the final product.
My main character, Ruth, is a 16-year-old girl living in a small town in Arkansas. You can read more about her in my other Beautiful People posts.
June Questions & Answers
1. What’s their favorite place they’ve ever visited?
Ruth has never been outside the state of Arkansas. Her parents work full-time, year-round, so they haven’t taken any extensive vacations. The furthest they’ve been is probably the Ozarks, a mountain region that spans from Northwestern Arkansas into Missouri.
(Photo courtesy of google images)
2. What’s one mistake they made that they learned from?
When she was younger, Ruth made the mistake of trusting her friends with her biggest secret—namely, the guy she had a crush on. Ruth wanted to feel included in the group of girls at her school, but sharing her crush backfired big time when one of her friends started “dating” the guy in question. After that, she became very careful with who she trusts with personal info and matters of the heart. This becomes even more complicated throughout the course of the novel, as Ruth realizes that she’s bisexual.
3. What was their favorite subject in school? or favorite thing to learn about?
Her favorite subject is English, obviously, because she wants to be a writer. She has always loved reading (raise your hand if you agree!) but she also enjoys getting the historical background on classic works of literature. She loves how stories can show aspects of human nature that have remained essentially the same over time, but she also enjoys learning how things have changed overall in society.
4. What’s their favorite flower/growing thing?
She’s definitely a tree type of girl. She loves really old trees that have been alive for longer than most humans on earth. She loves the quiet of a forest and the way it helps her remember to breathe and be present in the moment. There’s an old tree in her front yard, right in front of her bedroom window, that’s somewhat of a friend to her—it’s seen her through all her tough times.
(Photo: this old ass tree I found in Newport, RI)
5. Have they ever made someone cry? What happened?
The only person she’s ever made cry is her little sister, Hannah. She’s 18 months younger than Ruth, and they used to play together as kids. Very early on, Ruth developed a resentment toward Hannah because she got more attention as the youngest. On top of that, Hannah always seems to out-do Ruth in every aspect of life. As kids, Ruth would often lash out and say mean things to Hannah, even though it earned her more punishment, because that was the only way she could get any sort of attention from their parents.
6. Would you consider them a reliable or unreliable narrator?
Ruth is mostly a reliable narrator. She’s only unreliable in the sense that she’s dealing with serious clinical depression. She has a lot of cognitive distortions—misperceptions of the world around her and of herself—that cast a cloud over her vision of everything that happens to her. She doesn’t necessarily exaggerate, but she tends to miss the positive aspects of things and focus on the negative more than the average person.
7. What do they dream about at night?
Most of her dreams are anxiety-based: being ridiculously late to school, teeth falling out, accidentally being naked in front of the whole school, missing an important exam, that sort of thing. She tries not to read too much into her dreams.
She also has crush-related dreams: the kind where she spends the entirity of the dream trying to get the object of her crush to talk to her, chasing after him/her, but always encountering obstacles that keep her from achieving that goal.
8. They’ve gone out for a “special meal.” What would they eat?
Probably some fancy dessert that she can’t even pronounce. She definitely has a sweet tooth.
9. What’s at least one thing they want to do before they die?
Although she’s never been, she desperately wants to see New York City. Ultimately, she wants to live there, despite knowing very little about it. In her mind, it seems like the ideal place to grow as a writer. Plus, it’s as far away as possible from the backwards Bible Belt town where she’s lived all her life so far.
(Photo: Me in New York right before I moved there, circa 3 years ago 😭 I was such a baby!)
10. Do they have any distinguishing or unique talents?
Her biggest talent is probably speed-reading. Even as a kid, she read exponentially more than the average elementary schooler, and that hasn’t really changed as she entered high school. Because she reads so much, it allows her to read more quickly because she can skip over unnecessary words. She’s also pretty accomplished when it comes to writing an essay the night before. This will benefit her greatly in college, although she doesn’t know it yet.
That’s it for this month’s Beautiful People meme! Thanks for tuning in! If you plan on doing one for your own characters, send me the link in the comments.