Character Sketch: Laney Brennan

blog-hop-buttonI build characters in my head. I talk to them and sometimes I answer out loud. My kids think I’m crazy. They’re right but not for the reasons they think.

I hate doing character sketches where I sit down and write everything out. I feel overwhelmed as I try to figure out if it’s me talking or my character. Sometimes I worry that I’m limiting my character by putting everything on paper. This time though, I think my heroine is so real that even though she has similar interests and opinions as me, what shaped these interests and opinions are unique to her. She also seems flexible, as if she will grow and evolve.

I decided to knuckle down and put Laney Brennan, field correspondent for Metal Fusion Magazine, to paper using two questionnaires. The first I used can be found here:

Character Profile

from Laura Hayden’s “Left-Brain-Right Brain/Creativity Program”

This worksheet starts off with the basics: appearance, habits, philosophy, and how the character interacts with others. More importantly it addresses dominant character traits and the traits that complement or oppose that dominant trait. You should have two admirable traits and one that surprises your reader. What makes this worksheet so awesome is the personal interview with the character. My character’s voice came through loud and clear as I did this.

If you’re interested to see how I filled out this worksheet click here.

The second worksheet I used can be found here:

100 Character Development Questions for Writers

by Laura Cushing

This worksheet is all in the character’s voice. Voice is a hard thing to capture and I need all the practice I can get.

If you’re interested to see how I filled out this worksheet click here.

Final Thoughts

The worksheets took me several hours to complete. I was frustrated and had to walk away a few times. This was after multiple conversations with Laney building up to this exercise.

Laney’s a complex person and I’m trying to capture her using questions that may not always address matters of importance to her. If you’ll notice, she’s okay with sexuality, but not so much kink or revealing her sexual fantasies. I could see her blushing as she tried to answer some of the questions. I tried to go easy on her. Pao says she has an arm on her.

13.5 Things That Will Change Your Writing by Kami Garcia @kamigarcia

13.5 Things That Will Change Your Writing by Kami Garcia @kamigarcia

Feel free to change the questions. The super special feature of this questionnaire is that it includes questions about supernatural/paranormal situations the character may face. Questions about morality were also asked and that gives your character more depth.

Even though I was frustrated, completing both worksheets was a satisfying experience. As I go through my rewrite and focus on just Laney’s actions and dialogue in the first pass, I’ll have my handy character sketch to guide me. Anything that doesn’t sound like or act like Laney will be replaced with her essence.

Stay calm and keep writing!

Copyright © 2014 iokirkwood.com. “Character Sketch: Laney Brennan” by I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.

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