Protagonist Background Story - Gabe
|October Prep Day 3
Contest Round 1: Protagonist Background Story
Write a story about your protagonist that takes place outside of your novel. Make your readers relate to him or her in such a way that we would be devastated if he or she were to experience conflict (which, ultimately, sometime in November, he/she will.)
After two buses and fifteen minutes getting lost wandering around the city in the sweltering heat, Rose finally found the building. She glanced at the colorful posters hanging in the window, and her heartbeat quickened.
The blast of air conditioned cold that greeted her as she pulled open the front door was nearly as powerful a respite as the emotional relief she felt at finally being in this place.
She followed the chatter of youthful voices up the narrow staircase of the row house style building, her head held high despite the butterflies flitting around in her stomach.
A tall, rangy youth turned toward her as she reached the open space at the top of the stairs. “Welcome to OUTlet,” he said, extending a slender hand toward Rose. “I’m Alec, but my friends call me Touchstone.”
Rose took his hand, grateful for the greeting and the physical tug that propelled her up the final step onto the landing. “Thanks,” she said, craning her neck up to smile at him.
“C’mon,” Touchstone said, pulling her by the hand he still held in his own. “The meeting’s just about to start.”
She stumbling slightly at the unexpected movement, but caught herself before she could land in a graceless heap on the worn hardwood floor.
There were about half a dozen youths in the room, ranging from early to late teens. They settled into folding metal chairs, arranged in a circle in the cramped room.
Bookcases lined one of the walls, and a few folding tables on another wall held flyers and pamphlets. Rose looked longingly at the books. Would there be something on those shelves that would help her? Would there be stories about kids like her?
A tall young woman with platinum hair entered, her skirts swirling around her ankles. Taking an empty chair, she turned and smiled at Rose. “I see we have a new group member today,” she said, her husky voice soft and welcoming. “Why don’t we begin by going around and introducing ourselves? But first, the rules. This is a safe space. We build each other up; we do not knock one another down. Anything we say in the group is confidential. You may talk about your own experience here, outside of the group. But you may not talk about another individual in a way that could identify them. The exception to this rule is simple. If I have reason to believe you are a danger to yourself or anyone else, I must share this information. Before you leave today I have a sheet for you to fill out. I will only use the contact information in case of an emergency situation. Do you understand?” Her voice remained gentle throughout her explanation.
Rose nodded, words stuck in her throat as the magnitude of the step she was about to take hit her.
“Great. I’ll begin. I’m Sheri, and I’m the facilitator of the group. I’ve been coming to OUTlet since I was fifteen, and it saved my life more than once.”
They went around the circle, each of the group members introducing themselves and sharing one or two bits of information.
Finally, it was Rose’s turn.
“I’m R . . . I’m Gabe.” Here, in this place, he could finally say the words out loud. “My name is Gabriel, and I’m transgender.”