I’ve talked a great deal about how much of a people watcher and relationship voyeur I am in previous blogs on my website. I have to admit, people watching is the best way for me to develop characters. Watching how strangers act, listening to how they talk and treat others, how they speak, the gestures they make, all go toward making a character more life-like on the page.
But what happens once I see and know the character I want to write about? Well, then I do an indepth profile of them using a worksheet developed by ONE STOP FOR WRITERS and authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. One Stop is a paid membership service to their on-line support system which lists thousands of characteristics inherent in the human personality. Many of you may have heard of their breakout book THE EMOTION THESAURUS.
I own this book in print and believe me when I say it’s dog-eared, yellow markered up, and used almost daily. I also own an ecopy of it so I can always have it with me when I’m working and not home. To go along with this book I also have copies of the others in the series:
Each of these books is an excellent, must have reference book when writing anything emotion-worthy and characteristic-driven about your characters.
I also have a Book Bible for each book I write that lists all the characters, their physical characteristics, their relationship to one another, and their GMC’s. Because I write so many book in series, this is a fabulous way for me to ensure I never give a character green eyes in chapter one and brown eyes in chapter 8. Plus, if I’ve killed off their beloved cat in backstory, I can’t show them petting the cat in chapter 2. My mind is so chockfull of “stuff” that trying to remember each detail is just a wee bit of a hardship for me. Having it readily available at a few taps of my fingers is paramount in keeping everything flowing smoothly.
Character profiles have come a long way since the times when just listing the physical details was the only thing important. Readers are invested in their fav characters and series and have looooooooooooong accurate memories when it comes to the minutia. If you have any doubt of that just ask anyone who is a long time soap opera watcher about the backstories of any of the main characters. They will give you chapter, book, and verse in major detail. Why do you think it’s called a “show Bible?” ( see what I did there? Bible…chapter, book, verse?)
Since this is blog hop, stroll on over to the other authors participating and find out how they deal with character profiles. Each author does it differently.
Looking for me? here I am:
8 responses to “#MFRWauthor Blog Challenge. Character profiles”
I’m not familiar with One Stop for Writers. Thanks, I’ll have to check it out!
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I create Bibles for my series; it IS essential to keeping track of so many people and places!
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Storimom2 – exactly!
I will be adding those books to my library! I have the emotions in ebook but I do better with the old-fashioned hard copy.
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Ellie – I have them all in softback too! makes it easier for me to look things us!
You’re the third person to mention the “Bible” technique, and I think it is what I do, only in Blogger Page format 😉 Honestly, after reading your post and the others, I think we ‘all’ do a little bit of both, just to differing degrees. We all need to know who we’re writing about and where, and at some point in the story, we need to know specifics if the story is to remain consistent. Thanks for sharing!
I use a spreadsheet and record features, backstory bits and quirks of each character (I started to do it because NAMES!). And I have a section for chronology of events.