Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Check Her Resume

Who is that woman?

What is she waiting for?

What was her last job?

Did she quit or was she fired?

Why does she want to be in my story?

And more importantly, where did she get those boots?

Before you sign on any character for your story, it is always advisable to check out their resume. And if you have a cast of characters that you are trying to create, filling out a "character resume" may be the tool you need to keep your unruly bunch in line on the pages of your fictional tale.

Writing Prompt: take time to answer the questions about our mystery woman in the comment section. I'd love to get to know her...from your imaginative, character-building point of view.

The Character Resume*

One useful way to learn more about your characters is to fill out a “resume” for them--at least for the more important ones. Such a resume might include the following information:


Address & Phone Number:

Date & Place of Birth:

Height/Weight/Physical Description:

Citizenship/Ethnic Origin:

Parents' Names & Occupations:

Other Family Members:

Spouse or Lover:

Friends' Names & Occupations:

Social Class: Education:


Social Class:


Community Status:

Job-Related Skills:

Political Beliefs/Affiliations:


Personal Qualities (imagination, taste, etc.):

Ambitions: Fears/Anxieties/Hangups:


Sense of Humor:

Most Painful Setback/Disappointment:

Most Instructive/Meaningful Experience:

Health/Physical Condition/Distinguishing Marks/Disabilities:

Sexual Orientation/Experience/Values:

Tastes in food, drink, art, music, literature, decor, clothing:

Attitude toward Life:

Attitude toward Death:

Philosophy of Life (in a phrase):

You may not use all this information, and you may want to add categories of your own, but a resume certainly helps make your character come alive in your own mind. The resume can also give you helpful ideas on everything from explaining the character's motivation to conceiving dramatic incidents that demonstrates the character's personal traits. The resume serves a useful purpose in your project bible, reminding you of the countless details you need to keep straight.
(*source: http://www.darkwaves.com/sfch/writing/ckilian/#13)

I'm looking forward to meeting your newly created characters that you will be submitting for the "A Good Story is Hard to Put Down" Contest. Remember to submit it by December 1--please see sidebar for details.


Jamie Jo said...

Since no one else took a stab at this one, I'll tell you what's really going on in your picture. It's quite simple.

Jeanette is a first-term missionary who gave up teaching in California to teach MKs in Brazil. She is waiting for her students to show up for class, and is secretly a bit frustrated with their relaxed attitude toward punctuality.

The boots were a gift from a close friend who knew she would never survive the jungle with her fear of creepy crawlers unless she had a sturdy pair of boots to squash them with.

Jamie Jo said...

P.S. Jeanette wants to be in your story to help illustrate that even wimps make excellent missionaries once they overcome their cultural biases.

Women of the Harvest Blogs said...

@ Jamie Jo: I love it...a punctual gal in the middle of the jungle. I feel the conflict already. Thanks jj for showing up and playing my game.


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