Time and Regret
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Building a Character

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M.K. | 42 comments What does it take to create a character in a novel? With fictional characters, I feel it’s important to flesh them out to some extent in advance. For Grace Hansen, one of two main characters in Time and Regret, I borrowed a template from Elizabeth George, a well-known mystery writer. Below are some of the details:

Name: Grace Hansen Age: 42 Height: 5’ 6
Weight/Build: put on weight during marriage; because of divorce is back to her pre-marriage weight, relatively slim, a bit curvy in hips and breasts
Color hair/eyes: brunette, brown eyes
Physical peculiarities: blushes easily
Educational background: despite her grandfather’s preference to have her work at the gallery he owned, she studied business at university and works for an insurance company; she’s been around art all her life
Sexuality: fairly routine in her sex life with her husband Jim; only one other sexual relationship before marriage; now divorced, she’s ready to be more adventurous
Family: Grace is an only child; born in New York City; mother Lily who fell apart when her husband died in a plane crash; Lily now suffers from Alzheimer’s; father David died when Grace was 5; grandmother, Cynthia Devlin (nee Gibson), whom Grace calls Grandmama; the two were often at odds when Grace was growing up; Cynthia is British born and grew up poor; she’s proper, a social climber, and likes the things money can buy; grandfather, Martin Devlin, Grace calls him Grandpa, profoundly affected by WWI, built a successful gallery, acted as a parent to Grace;
Ambition: she has taken the safe path all her life, married relatively young, has two children, a well paying job, and what she thought was a good marriage; she has been self-sufficient and successful; but is now restless and unfulfilled, alone and lonely; feels the need to reinvent herself
Core need: to be loved for who she is
Wants: solve the mystery she discovered in her grandfather’s papers; learn how to live without Jim
When under stress: retreats into reserve and aloofness when under emotional stress
Gestures when talking: gestures a lot when talking, hands and body; ex-husband used to tease that she had Italian blood
Strongest character trait: dependability; puts needs of others ahead of her own
Weakest character trait: allows others to dominate, doesn’t assert herself
Philosophy: strength comes from adversity, nurture family and friends, enjoy small pleasures of life, be self-sufficient
What others notice first about her: warm, open demeanour; shapely legs
Significant event that molded her character: loss of her parents and subsequent upbringing by her grandparents

I left out some spoiler details! What do you think?

message 2: by Dyana (new)

Dyana | 187 comments You’ve got the Who, and Where. Now we need to know What will happen!

M.K. | 42 comments Dyana wrote: "You’ve got the Who, and Where. Now we need to know What will happen!"

Well ... you have to read the story, Dyana!!

message 4: by Linda (new) - added it

Linda Bridges (lindajoyb) | 68 comments Wow! She actually becomes a real person after reading this.

M.K. | 42 comments Linda wrote: "Wow! She actually becomes a real person after reading this."

I'm so pleased you said that, Linda. Thanks for stopping by.

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