I thought I’d try something a bit different on the blog today, a character profile. These are the backgrounds of the characters that I write about in my books. A lot of the stuff in the profile doesn’t actually make it into the book, but it is something I need to know when writing because it determines what the characters do and how they react to certain circumstances.
I usually have a general knowledge about a character but it is not until I sit down and write out their profile that I get a deeper, more rounded sense of who they are. I must admit that I haven’t always done this, but I decided to try it after doing a short course on story craft and I have to say that it is a really interesting thing to do. And since I found it interesting, I thought you might too 🙂
So I wanted to start with Claire Butterworth from Walk of Shame (Love, Money & Shoes Book 1)
Claire is one of my favourite characters, maybe because she was my first fully fleshed out character. I like her because she is plucky and self-reliant but she also has a soft girlie side.
I always try to find actors to cast as my characters because it helps to have a general visualisation of them in my head when I write. Below is a sketch that I did of Claire…it’s not perfect, but I think it comes close. I haven’t sketched for a while, so I am a bit rusty, but I hope you get the general idea.
Below the sketch is Claire’s profile…her background, her likes, dislikes, fears, motivations and anything I feel is pertinent to her as a character. I hope you find it interesting and get to know Claire a bit more.
Claire owns a small bakery cafe (The Little Blue Bird) on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia. It is her pride and joy and something that she worked hard for without help from anyone.
Claire loves her job, and she loves food. She doesn’t buy into the need for woman to be super thin and she doesn’t diet. She eats healthy, fresh food, and loves to cook with fresh local ingredients and exercises to maintain her curvy, but not too thin, figure. Watching her eat is an experience because she delights in every mouthful. Eating for Claire is almost a religious experience.
Claire has long, curly dark brown hair that she mostly wears tied up. She dresses mostly in capris and t-shirts (her work uniform) and doesn’t spend a lot of money on clothes. Shoes, however are another matter entirely. Claire loves designer shoes and saves her money like a scrooge to be able to afford to buy them.
She doesn’t come from a big family and, in fact, is mostly estranged from her parents. Her parents are divorced and have moved away from the area and she has very little to do with them. Claire became independent at a young age (17-18yrs) and has strived hard to make ends meet. She worked two, sometimes three, jobs to be able to afford to set up her cafe and she takes pride in her achievement.
She has always felt that her parents didn’t love her and has struggled with understanding why anyone would love her when her parents so obviously don’t. She has always felt the need to try harder, do better and be more to compensate for the lack of love that she was shown in her childhood. Because of her desire to be loved and accepted, Claire tries to preemptively anticipate what someone needs from her in a relationship and has become a chameleon – changing her personality to suit the relationship.
Claire was in a long term relationship with Chad until she discovered that he had been cheating on her six weeks before they were supposed to get married. Later she finds out that his mother (whom she had previously thought hated her) had picked her out as the perfect partner because she was so malleable and her goody two shoes image would help him in his goal to get into politics, meanwhile she had also been encouraging him to sow his wild oats so that he would get it out of his system before they got married. Needless to say, Claire broke off the engagement.
When we meet Claire at the beginning of Walk of Shame, she has decided to make some changes in her life. She is committed to making her business a success and to find herself after spending five years being someone she’s not. And then she meets Ben…