Thursday, October 20, 2011

Your Characters

My good friend and editor, Jodie Renner, sent me an email this morning regarding a great article she posted at Blood Red Pencil blog. I asked her if I could plagiarize it. She said it would be fine. So here it is. At least part of it and a link to get the remainder. It's good stuff.

Sketching Out Your Characters
by Jodi Renner, Editor 

As you formulate the plot and main characters of your novel, start jotting down info on your protagonist and other important characters, and keep filling it in as ideas occur to you. This way, you can get to know them so well that, when they’re thrown into the thick of the action or interacting with others, you won’t need to wonder how they’d act or what they’d say in various situations — you’ll already have a good handle on their background, personality, strengths, weaknesses, preferences, fears, and goals in life.

Readers are quick to judge if they think a fictional person is acting “out of character” or inconsistently with their upbringing or personality.

Here’s a checklist to guide you in brainstorming and creating your main character’s personality and background. Of course, their habits will need to fit their personality profile — a careful, precise person wouldn’t have a messy office, for example.

Name — and as you go along, does it still fit the character? If not, you can always change it later, as you get to know him/her better.  Read More >>>

And after you finish reading all of that great info, check out Jodie's website for even more good stuff. If you're in the market for an editor or proofreader, she's very professional and charges a fair price for her services. Check it out. Just go HERE.


  1. Yes, characters must act within their character-frame. I find it's easier if before I even begin writing a first draft to do a cast of characters with a few notes about them, their individual GMC's and history etc. That way I can check back if they do something that doesn't seem right.

  2. Hi Vonnie,

    And if you like the direction they're moving in (as in some character tweaks or outright changes), just go back to your character sketch and write those in, and take out any contradictory characteristics!

  3. Thank you so much, Michael/Cornell, for linking to my article on Blood-Red Pencil! I love your blog, by the way!

    I also have my own blog,, and publish a craft of fiction article every second Monday on Crime Fiction Collective at, and monthly on several others.

    I can't wait to see Lost in the Bayou published! Please let me know when it's out.


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