Here's what I began with, followed by my questions and more free writing:
My name is Azalea. Sometimes my grandma calls me Azel-ya, making it sound sloppy, and my mom gets mad. Then Mama says each syllable, crisp as a cracker without the peanut butter on top. I live with them on the second floor flat. Grandma picks me up from school and we take two buses across town, then walk the last few blocks home.
- How old is the girl?
- What happens to her (plot)?
- Who are the other characters?
- What does my world look like, inside and out?
Sometimes I skip. Past the corner store where Mr. Guthrie sweeps the front stoop in his white apron. Past the library lit up like a dollhouse at night, through windows cozy and warm. On lucky, days, Junior and Giana are playing hopscotch on the sidewalk, or picking up jacks with a bouncy ball. Then I race down the hall, zigzagging with the crazy eight shapes on the old carpet, and burst into the room I share with Mama to grab the marbles I keep in the velvet drawstring bag beneath my bed. And its back outside before Mama calls out the window for suppertime.Dear Reader:
What characters are you rendering on the page? How do you make them come alive?