Character Journal

Tuesday, 25th April, 1530 SR

Bag End

This morning I had the most frightful encounter with a strange old man while I was enjoy my tea and pipe after 1st B. He asked a great many questions about my mother, and adventures, and claimed to be Gandalf, that Wizard the Old Took hired on Midsummer Eve to make fireworks. I'm not sure I believe that last bit - that was near 40 years ago, and Men don't live so long, do they?

After being frightfully rude, the old Man told me he would take me on an Adventure (as if I wanted to go!) and though I turned him down politely, I invited him to tea tomorrow. I can't imagine Mother would have accepting anything less of me, but I do wish I could have done without. Senility doesn't make for the best conversation.

NOTE: Put down on Engagements Tablet.

Thursday, 27th April, 1530 SR

The Golden Perch

There are a great many things to write about today, especially since I missed my diary yesterday and nearly forgot it this morning, but I'm wretchedly tired, and can't manage a full account at the moment, so you'll have to make do with this:

Yesterday tea time rolled around and of course I'd forgotten to put down Gandalf on ET, and I was just setting the table when the doorbell rang. It wasn't the old Man, but a whole pack of Dwarves! They came tramping in without so much as a by your leave and nearly cleared out the two main pantries. Then the Wizard came and this time I believed that he was what he said because this was more than enough of an Adventure, thank you very much.

My guests stayed for supper and talked very late into the night. I didn't understand most of it, but they seemed to think that, though Gandalf said I was good enough, I was near useless. That made me right angry so I went and put my foot in it, of course, volunteering to do whatever it was they needed and go hang them if they thought I couldn't do it.

This morning, they left an appalling mess and I was cleaning it all up (no help at all from them) when the old Man came back again. He scolded me for not dusting, then barely gave me any time at all to pack my things for this dratted trip before shooing me out the door. I assume he locked up after me - I gave him the key, anyway, and if he didn't I'll be holding him accountable for anything that's gone missing when I return, though Yavanna only knows when that's going to happen.

Tonight we've stopped for sleep at the Golden Perch in Woody End. Best beer in the East Farthing, I'm told, and I think I rather agree. It's got a darker flavor here than at the Green Dragon. I'll need to ask their recipe.

Anyway, I'll write again when I have the chance. This is all madness, and if I get back home within any reasonable amount of time, I'll be grateful.

NOTE: Purchase carrots for pony. Animal is partial.

One of the techniques I use to help me develop a character's voice, especially when they're being stubborn and won't tell me things about themselves, is to have them write a journal or diary entry for me, or a letter or email to a relative or friend they trust. Sometimes, I can get them to sit down to an interview of sorts, so I can ask them things like "what's your favorite dinner?" or "what kind of games did you play with your siblings when you were little?"

This is one of the things about being a writer that confuses my non-writer friends - talking to my characters. Just like with a real person, you can't know much about the character unless you talk to them and ask them questions. (And you can't really learn much about them if they refuse to give you answers.)

One of the things that's intrigued me is this idea that The Hobbit (by our wonderful Mr. Tolkien) is supposed to be part of the memoirs of one Bilbo Baggins - and how could he have remembered all those details if he hadn't kept a journal as he went? With that in mind, I spent a bit of time (more time than I probably should have) on composing something of the journal in question, just to see what the character's voice would be when not trying to be all proper and polite for the Dwarves.

So here's my challenge for you lot, should you choose to accept it - write a journal entry or email from your favorite character, just to see what happens. What do they write about, and who is it aimed at?

I look forward to hearing what you come up with!

If you have any suggestions, requests, or comments, feel free to let me know! Feedback is LIFE.

Until next time, stay awesome.

#Story #Writing #Fanfiction

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