Novel Update #12: Character Prompts


One of the best things there is about being a Writer is the chance to create New Characters.

We fashion them from our imagination and breathe life into their souls with our words. It’s tremendously exhilarating to christen someone with a fancy name, dress them up in the physical qualities we would like to see, gift them with wonderful unique personalities (gems and faults included) and then send them off to interact in a world we ourselves have created.

Well, the other day I learned something new about myself when I spoke with my Editor: I don’t know my Characters as well as I thought.

“What’s her motivation?” she asked me.


“What does she live for?”

I paused momentarily and had to really think about it. I did come up with an answer of course but the hesitation was unsettling.

Don’t I know My people well enough to be able to rant and rave about them at any second?

That’s where The Character Prompt, a handy guide my Editor provided me with really turned things around.

Borrowed from Elizabeth George’s book Write Away, a Character Prompt is a point-by-point list of personal details I can fill out for each of my main characters.

It’s like writing a sort of personality profile that will help me envision them more fully.

The basic points are there:
* Name
* Age
* Height

Etc. But then things go even deeper. For instance, have you ever considered the “Pathological maneuver” of your character, that one vice that seems to get in the way of his/her progress?

Or how about what “a character does when they’re alone,” something no one else knows or sees?

In that moment, I was enlightened!

I became excited when asked to stop and think about all those minute aspects. To break down the individual traits piece by piece, analyse them, understand them and then put them back together into a cohesive whole? Now that’s writing!

And so I begin the next step, truly meeting My People in a completely new and fascinating way, delving deep beneath the surface in order to let them truly shine.

Paula Antonello Moore, The Novel. Copyright: Thursday, January 22, 2015

Image: Girl by Free Vectors