Yesterday's writing total: 1,076 words. And half an hour's research into my chosen weapon - but that's a secret.
Characters need to change throughout a series, to develop and grow. That keeps them interesting and real. Characters succeed if they're vivid (if they have likes, quirks and habits the reader can relate to). They need physical traits and internal motivation (what makes them do what they do). When I wrote my first mystery -- Never Eat Fish on Monday -- I carefully plotted out character descriptions for my protagonist and the three recurring secondary characters. I found myself constantly revising the charts as my manuscript progressed and the characters evolved.
For 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, I'm starting with the protagonist I developed last time. It's a very detailed chart, running some five pages in total. It covers everything from physical appearance to where she lives. I also made a list of ten things you'd didn't know about Kensing , but that's a for another time.
Here's the Cliff Notes version:
Name: Kensing Shannon Keeley Delaney
Nickname: Kenz or Kenzi
Birthdate: 12 Sept 1980
Age: 30, looks 16
Eye Color: Green
Weight: 100 lbs, exactly
Distinguishing Marks: freckles
Hair: auburn, long, thick & straight. Usually worn in a long, french braid, or in a pony tail drawn through the back of a baseball cap
Favorite color: green
Least favorite color: purple
Favorite Music: irish folk
Least favorite Music: opera
Literature: murder mysteries
Car: 1990 Chevy Blazer (klunker)
Drinks wine or beer
Hobbies: swimming, skiing, ice skating. Anything outdoorsy except camping.
Hometown: None. Lived all over the world as a result of father's job.
Education: private schools, Princeton ( Summa cum laude English Lit.), Wharton (MBA, Strategic Management)
Mother: Mairead (Margaret). Relationship good, but strained at times.
Father: Michael . Relationship: Daddy's little girl, but he disapproves of women in business.
Monsignor Sean, 38, parish in the Northwest
Ryan, 36, business guru turned peripatetic diplomat in some
Patrick, 34, research at Cambridge, MA.
Pets: Golden retriever - Bailey
Greatest physical fear: darkness; lightening
Why? Crib hit by lightening when baby
Greatest emotional fear: Not being as successful as male siblings
Past failure she would be embarrassed to have people know about: flunked driving test 6 times
Perfectionist and "practicing" pessimist. Extremely competitive, especially with her brothers
Mannerisms: twirls/chews on hair when nervous, upset or thinking
Peculiarities: allergic to clams/cats. Can't watch a film or TV show if an animal is injured, or worse.
Never met a piece of cheese or pasta she didn’t like.
Biggest regret: not being able to carry a tune
Accomplishments: ability to swear in 27 languages
Darkest secret: didn’t learn to drive until she was 22 because scared of she was afraid of hitting a pedestrian.
Now you know as much about Kensing as I do. What do you think? Do you want to read about her or send her off to the nearest recycling center?