So, usually one of the first things an instructor will present in a character development class is the character profile sheet, but I tend to delay this because of my own belief system, which is probably something I shouldn’t admit, but it basically comes down to this:
I care more about my characters’ insides than their outsides. Yes, the demographics of who they are and how they grew up and their physicality absolutely impacts who they are, but I want their yearnings, wants, big lie, human worth and flaw to be the things that matter the most to me as the writer and the reader.
But character profiles are beautifully concrete tools and approaches that can truly help you nail down your character (not literally, no hammers involved).
A character profile is basically a tool that:
- Helps you not get confused with the details as you write.
- Helps you round out your character’s psychographics and demographics.
- Organizes your thoughts.
“A Character Profile is just meant to be a guide where you can list facts and details to help you get to know your characters, especially if you get stuck on one character who doesn’t quite seem real. You also want to be sure you don’t create a Mary Sue character. Maybe he needs a new characteristic — a hidden trauma, a fabulous skill or a deadly secret — something that will make the character come alive for you. If you are having trouble coming up with character details try to see how your character performs using a writing prompt or walk them through a situation known well to you.”
When I was in fourth or fifth grade, I loved character profiles, filling in all the blanks on the sheet, but what I didn’t know then is that while the profile is a fantastic organizational tool that helps you think about your character, it isn’t what makes your characters believable or lovable or be the kind of characters that readers want to invest time in.
Bringing life to the character doesn’t happen in the outline or the profile, it happens on the page as that character deals with conflict, goes after their yearnings, takes action, interacts and moves across the story, guided by their own yearnings that we readers can relate to.
Those yearnings are a much bigger deal than demographics because it’s those yearnings that make us (and our characters) human.
NEW BOOK OUT!
It’s super fun. An adult paranormal/mystery/romance/horror blend. Think Charlaine Harris but without all the vampires. Instead there are shifters and dragon grandmothers and evil police chiefs and potential necromancers and the occasional zombie and a sexy skunk.
Oh, and it’s quirky.
This is because most of my books are quirky.
Be ready to resurrect your love of the paranormal in the first novel in the Alisa Thea series—the books that give new meaning to quirky paranormal.
Alisa Thea is barely scraping by as a landscaper in small-town Bar Harbor. She can’t touch people with her bare skin without seeing their deaths and passing out, which limits her job and friendship opportunities. It also doesn’t give much of a possibility for a love life, nor does her overbearing stepfather, the town’s sheriff. Then along comes an opportunity at a local campground where she thinks her need for a home and job are finally solved . . .
But the campground and its quirky residents have secrets of their own: the upper level is full of paranormals. And when some horrifying murders hit the campground—along with a potential boyfriend from her past who may be involved—Alisa starts to wonder if living in a campground of paranormals will end up in her own death.
Join New York Times and internationally best[selling author Carrie Jones in the first book of the Alisa Thea Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.
It’s fun. It’s weird. It’s kind of like Charlaine Harris, but a little bit more achy and weird.