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Bringing Characters To Life


Ideas for my stories usually come to me in the form of a character first. Take for example the hero of my upcoming novel "Her Protector". Asher Sullivan is a former Navy Seal who runs a private security firm based in New York. His job and love interest is Haley Provost, a billionairess who is having some security issues that need fixing! Once that swirled around in my head for a few days I started building my two main characters by creating a booklet for each of them.

The booklet is broken down into the following categories (many of these include sub-categories):

1. General profile -(name, age, place of birth, occupation, education)

2. Looks -(Full detailed physical description including how they dress. I scour the internet for photos that are inspiring. The photo above is not the actual photo of the character used on the cover.)

3. Current Residence -(detailed description of where the character lives-including pictures. Real estate websites like Zillow and Trulia are great for this.)

4. Background -(detailed family profile, childhood, past relationships, quirks, likes and dislikes, etc...)

5. Core Values

6. Miscellaneous -(I use this space for random details as well as extra details I sometimes add later once I begin writing. For example, Asher owns a vacation home that will be in the story.) Does this vacation home give you any ideas about what kind of guy Asher is?

I love to create my character profile booklets. It's really the one pre-writing exercise that I spend the most time on. I exist somewhere between pantserville and plansterville. So I don't spend a whole lot of time outlining my stories. It's just too painful for me. But researching and building my characters' world? Figuring out who they are and what motivates them? Figuring out what they look like, what their favorite foods and cocktails are, and what tells they have when they get nervous or angry? Oh yeah..I could do that all day! It's all about the characters, right?

Do you create character profiles? What's your process? If you like lists check out this character questionnaire!

Did I say too much? I'd love to hear from you!


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