Normally I regale you with tails of writerly woe on Wednesdays - or occasionally, if I'm feeling particularly upbeat, something I hope will be inspirational. Since I'm still stuck on revisions at the moment, I don't have much to report from the trenches. So I thought I'd try and do something more in keeping with a lot of writing blogs - pose a question to the readers, and see what you guys have to say.
So, my question for today is: Do you use a character profile worksheet?
I have never done one of these before. Usually my characters are pretty well formed in my head and I think of whatever details I need as I go along. The main character for my current WIP is Friday, a seventeen-year-old high school student (Technically she's sixteen, since she "died" just before her seventeenth birthday, but she doesn't like to be reminded of that). You'd think given my own miserable high school experience my main character would be plagued by insecurities, but I've written that character before, and I was a little sick of her. Friday is amazingly resilient given everything she's been through, but that comes from her upbringing (a lot of moving around, never having many friends), her tough-cookie mother, and the fact that she's actually very pretty. I'm told that helps in the self esteem department. Basically Friday is nothing like me - although we do share the same sense of humor, since I'm the one writing her and all.
I scrounged around online for a while and came up with quite a few character profile templates, but many of them are pretty dull, just sort of a laundry list of physical traits, background, likes and dislikes, etc. I'm not saying those things aren't important, but I think most writers probably know that much about their characters anyway (they certainly should!). What I wanted was something a little more unusual, questions that would force me to think a little harder about Friday's character. I found a pretty cool interview questionnaire on writerscafe.org. Here are a few of the questions I liked the most, and the answers I've come up with on Friday's behalf (I don't think she'll mind).
Favorite pig-out food: Nothing. Friday isn't much of a foodie, and now that she's immortal, she has no appetite anyway. But Glenda's apple pie is pretty good when she's feeling crappy.
Favorite book: Friday is into fantasy novels, so I'm going to go out on a limb and guess The Lord of the Rings. We haven't discussed this though, so don't take my word for it.
Every New Year's I resolve to: Have a boyfriend. Finally she can cross that one off her list.
I'm a sucker for: Long eyelashes. On horses and boys.
The worst advice that my mother gave me was: Not to be afraid. Sure, they were her dying words, but how is Friday supposed to not be afraid when she's got crazy immortals after her? Of course it's probably the best advice Friday's mother ever gave her, too. Life's like that sometimes.
My pet peeve is: Trucker hats.
I can die happy when: Friday can't die, so I liked the irony of this question. Friday doesn't appreciate my sense of humor in this particular instance, however.
So, do you use a profile worksheet? Inquiring minds want to know! And if you've got a good one, please share!