After reading Chelsea’s article on National Novel Writing Month, I decided that this year would be the year I would finally participate. Writing a novel has always been a dream of mine (it’s on my 30 before 30 list!) but I have always had difficulty knowing how to start. I figured this month would be the push I need to sit down and work on crafting a novel. If not now…when? This weekend I made a solid effort to sit down and begin writing my story. As a fairly inexperienced writer I always have trouble with the characters. Being an avid reader I know how important it is to create great characters and it is such a priority to me that my main character is relatable even if he/she is not likeable. I tend to place too much of myself into the main character and while that isn’t necessarily bad I’m not conceited enough to believe the world is looking for a bunch of stories about me (that’s what this blog is for right?).
To create believable characters I think we must begin with understanding what it is that makes a person dynamic. I’m an interesting and believable person not just because I’m a 5’7″ girl with green eyes and blonde hair working in the marketing department of a seafood company. That description makes me sound like anything but a relatable character…even if you’re 5’7″…even if you love seafood!
In order to start crafting my characters (specifically the main character) I created a “Character Study” outlining the little pieces of my character that all real people have in their lives. While some of these details may seem extraneous, or won’t ever be used in the novel I think they help develop the feel of a character as a whole. To get the best feel for how a real person would answer the questions outlined in a sample character analysis I decided I should answer them for myself (I am a real person after all). Now that I’m all set to write a book about myself I think its time to get back to work with the character I’m crafting.
- Name: Jordyn
- Age: 22
- Height: 5’7″
- Eye color: greenish blue (also a little gray)
- Physical appearance:Blonde hair, freckles, scar on my forehead from a set of stitches when I was 4 years old
- Strange or unique physical attributes: dragon tattoo on my wrist, slightly pigeon toed
- Favorite clothing style/outfit: Preferably a tulle skirt, pointed toe heels and sparkly accessories
- Things about his or her appearance he or she would most like to change: My nose, it’s too wide!
- Speaking style (fast, talkative, monotone, etc.): Half of a lisp, easily excited
- Pet peeves:People who pretend to be stupid, slow walkers, being lied to straight to my face, the term “basic”, flaky people, lack of communication
- Hobbies/interests: Writing, running, reading the news, stalking Taylor Swift via all forms of social media, spontaneous dance parties, list making
- Insecurities:Disappointing the people I care about, being perceived as unintelligent
- Negative traits: Easily isolated, sometimes OVERLY sensitive, shopaholic, anxious
- Things that upset him or her: Being late (or others being late), possessive boyfriends, child abuse, the pressure on women/little girls to look & be perfect.
- Things that embarrass him or her: Any sort of public speaking, putting up an instagram photo that doesn’t get any likes, misspelling and mispronouncing words.
- This character is highly opinionated about:Feminism, Taylor Swift, dating/relationships, religious tolerance.
- Things that make him or her happy: Eskimo kisses, morning light, freckles, mimosas for breakfast, sleepovers, any excuse to dress up, guilt free shopping sprees, puppy cuddles, time spent in nature.
- Favorite movies: Legally Blonde, The Hunger Games (but honestly I don’t like movies all that much…I don’t have the attention span for them).
- Favorite TV shows: Gossip Girl, Sex and the City, Scandal
- Favorite books:1989, The Bell Jar, The Girl with a Pearl earring, My name is Asher Lev, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Unchangeable spots of the Leopard, etc.
- Favorite foods:Tortellini with Alfredo sauce, Ben & Jerry’s Phish food ice cream, raspberries & pomegranates, mango smoothies!
- Favorite sports/sports teams: None, definitely none
- Dream vacation:I’m that cliche girl that dreams of prancing through the streets of Paris.I’d also love to see Prague & Istanbul.
- Any pets? One puppy named Boo, she’s back in Seattle and I miss her so! (Thank you for snuggling her for me Claire!!!)
- Best thing that has ever happened to this character:Falling in love, falling out of love and learning that living a fairytale doesn’t mean finding a prince charming. Also frolicking around in Florence was pretty monumental.
- Worst thing that has ever happened to this character:Waking up and realizing I didn’t like the person I had become and allowing myself to remain stuck in this cycle for a solid year because I was too afraid to make the changes necessary.
- Superstitions:I don’t know if this is superstitious but I won’t say the word “alien” out loud because I’m afraid they will hear me and target me as their next abduction victim.
- Three words to describe this character: Bubbly, Girly, Introspective.
- If a song played every time this character walked into the room, what song would it be? “22” well at least for the next 2 1/2 months…I don’t know what I’ll do when I turn 23!
(Character Questionnaire found here I tried to shorten it up a bit…who wants to read THAT much about me? I know I don’t, however I did fill out the complete study for my novel’s main character!)
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If you had to fill out a character study about yourself what would it say?