Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Freedom Summer: 50 Years Later

This week, I've been thinking about the anniversary of FREEDOM SUMMER. My personal journey through the year-long commemoration began last February in Como, Mississippi, where I was part of a remarkable event that brought together former Freedom Workers, many of whom were still residents of Panola County.

There are a lot of fabulous resources out there.

Like this, part of  Miami University's CELEBRATING FREEDOM, year-long commemoration of the summer.

(where I'll be on Thursday! Check out the times and places HERE!)

My fictional character, Laura Lampert, began her journey into GLORY BE with my memory of sitting in the Bolivar County library in Cleveland, MS. My friend and inspiration, LePoint Smith, introduced us. We talked just that one time. And at first, she was a shadow character in my book, there for no discernible reason except to talk to Glory about her love of reading Nancy Drew books.

My critique group and others thought she needed beefing up. 
I'm glad I took that advice.
I believe one of the most powerful scenes in my book is when Glory shows her around the park and the courthouse. All added in later revisions.
Now I get a lot of questions about her from kids.
1. What does it mean when you say that she talks like that Walter Cronkite on TV?
2. Why does she dress so differently?
3. Will she and Glory always be friends?

A minor character can add so many layers to a story. Middle-grade and young adult historical fiction, in my very humble opinion, lives or dies on layers.

Do you have a supporting character who needs beefing up? If you're writing historical fiction, can the role she plays be significant to the times?


Rosi said...

Kids do ask good questions, don't they? They will always make an author think hard about what really makes characters tick. Thanks for another thoughtful post.

Augusta Scattergood said...

You are so right, Rosi. We have to be on our toes to keep up with our young readers!