Friday, October 7, 2011

Interviewing a Character: Developing Voice in Dialogue: Part 2

So, here is the interview I did with my character Bets. I had soooo much information. It was hard to cut down. And she speaks in these huge long blocks! So when I did my interview with Giles, it just worked better. And he's got that extra something...

However, Bets deserves to have some of her story told. So here is just over 1,000 words. It's the first portion of the interview with a fictional character.

“Now, you started late in life as a scullery maid?”

“Aye. A body could say that. I didn’t start working at the Green Goose ‘til I had to.”

“What was your life like before you came here, Bets?”

“My family…My father is a smith, a silver smith.”

“You don’t have to whisper. Are you embarrassed?”

“Nay, not of that. My da is a good smith. And here in Montargent, any old silver smith is a copper for a half dozen. But my da, he is good. Was good.When I was a young lass, he’d let me come with him to his workshop. He was a master at a young age and had his own shop and everything. And he’d let me sit on a stool in the corner and watch. I watched his hands. They’d move so pretty-like. They were strong. But the way he’d twist his fingers on his tools…it was like a dance, ye know. I’d watch him like I was a soul ensorcelled. I didn’t mind the heat. I’d not hear the others’ talk. I ignored the lads pulling on my curls.”

“But in your time, that is, your city, don’t the silver guilds have stern restrictions about who can become smiths? I didn’t think they’d allow a girl into their private workshops.”

“Aye, well, I was only a little sprout of a girl then, and ‘twas my own da’s shop. Those masters that run the guild do get that partic’lar about who they let in, but my da felt he could anything back then, and not pay a price for it. He had the hands of a master and any who wanted his work paid well for it. And my grandda was still around back then. He’s the one started calling me ‘Bets’ like some English girl. Not ‘Alissia’, ‘Bettina’, and ‘Madelena’, but Lys, Bets and Madge. My grandda travelled here from England when he was a young man, just so he could learn the craft. He had become a master there, but wanted to learn the finer arts.”

“I hear your city is renowned for its silver work.”

“O’ course. What else could they do? Silver fair flows out of our mountains. We don’t have orchards and rich farming soil, but we have silver.”


“So my grandda settled here and married a mountain lass and my da grew up in his da’s workshop learning the craft and making pieces that are so fine, they're used in castles and palaces.”

“It sounds like you are proud of your father.”

“In silver, I’m proud. But every other thing my da touched has turned to trouble.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Well, he wasn’t so pleased to get three daughters in a row. Then to have a fourth? He was that mad when Josefina was born. My ma was lying there in her birthing bed, holdin’ my sister all wrapped up against the cold and there was my da, throwing things around the house cryin’, ‘I want a son! I want a son, you worthless cow! I can’t share my best secrets with my apprentices, don’t ye see! I need a son!’ The midwife finally got him out. But not before he slapped my ma.”

“‘Twas after that he started coming home late, visiting the taverns and such. He started changing; the bitterness pickling him from the inside out. My ma got more slaps ‘round the face and her sleeves got longer, even in the summer heat. It think my ma started putting away coin, so someday, she and us girls could escape. We didn’t eat as well as we used to, and the maid that helped my ma with the cleanin’ and cookin’, no longer came every morning. Ma started teaching me and Lys more cookin’ and Madge was set to sewin’ any time something tore. She was always best with a needle, even when little. I’d sing to baby Fina as I chopped greens and bundled herbs for drying. Our home was happy in a careful sorta way during the day.”

“When your father was working?”

“Aye. But we became wary when Ma’s belly began to swell again. ‘Twas a good day when she delivered my brother, Milo. Da was grinning, so proud, and the rest of us limp as unstuffed cushions with relief. Milo saved us, for a few years at least.”

“Wow. Did things change in your home after that?”

“‘Twas better than before. Ma delivered twin girls the next year, but Da didn’t seem to care. He just pursed his lips and talked of stretching coins to match his brood.

“Mayhap ‘twas because we stopped prayin’ near as fervently as we had. But when Milo was nearly three, and the twins a year and a half, it seemed like God dumped us outta his hands and walked away.”

“What happened?”

“One o’ Da’s apprentices got careless in the workshop. One lad got burned badly and my da was hurt trying to help him. Twas some hot silver that splashed his hand. He could still craft, but not the tiny details. All the dreams he had of passing on his best secrets died that day. ‘Twas a month later when Ilana, one of the twins, got sick. She was gone two days later. My ma cried something terrible. ‘Twas like her heart was breakin’. My da couldn’t stand hearin’ her pain, or mayhap he didn’t care. But the day after he blacked her eye and bloodied her nose, she started bleeding elsewhere. The babe that was supposed to be born the next month came too soon.”

“Oh, my poor Bets.”

“‘Tis the saddest sight in the world, to see a babe limp and blue, lyin’ in your hands. ‘Twas too late for any words to be said over it. We had to bury him up on the hill with the sinners and the unshriven. ‘Bout near broke my ma’s heart. At least Ilana was christened and buried in good church soil. But the tiny lad was lost to us, and we all knew ‘twas my da who’d driven him out o’ my ma’s body with his fists and his hate. We stood up there with our laces loose and our hair nearly torn outta our heads by the wind, tryin’ to unbind my brother from the ties of the earth. We had to let the old gods take him since God has no place in Heaven for an unchristened child.”

No comments:

Post a Comment