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How to write a novel | Character profile


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In previous blogs about how to write a novel, I have introduced you to Nick, my protagonist for a novel or novella. We really need a profile of Nick and all the other characters. I have decided Nick will be an only child and that his parents were killed and so he runs away from life. He has a wandering spirit and so he buys a camper van and sets off to explore the English Countryside. I had a few comments last week and one suggested he lose his most treasured possession, but also find love. It would be heart warming for him to find his soul mate; but it’s never that easy is it?

I have decided  that Nick’s parents died in an accident while on holiday in America leaving him all alone. He flew out to America to bring them home and now he hates all things American, the fast food, the television and above all else their accent. Wouldn’t it be a delicious twist to the story if he met an American girl on his travels? Would it be the beginning of a beautiful friendship or a love-hate relationship.  She would have no reason to hate him, so the relationship would be a little one sided.

I need a profile on her. I need a name! Any suggestions? She would have parents and a family; everything Nick doesn’t have. I’m torn between a typically American name that Nick will hate and a typically English name that he will like. An English name would take the edge off her being American. What would she look like? Not American? She could look like a typical English beauty, not at all brash, but delicate with a delicate name to match. It could be Emma, Victoria, Charlotte, Jane; a name that Jane Austen would have favoured. I think she would shun modern clothes in favour of pretty traditional dresses. She would be at home in the English Countryside, but how did she come to be there? Maybe, she could be staying with a friend from university, I had better make her clever, well read and  educated. Now I need help! What part of America would she come from? New England, perhaps? What did she study at university? English language? Art? Literature?

So Nick sets off on the road, travelling through the English Countryside, avoiding Americans like the plague; until he meets… He needs a few adventures, before he meets her. Any suggestions? He could be at one with nature and do some gardening and farm work on his travels. He could even be tempted by the farmer’s daughter! Should I make this novella a serious romance or should it have a little humour? I think I want my protagonist to have a sense of humour. He could make fun of the young lady as a way of controlling the way he feels about Americans? Those lines would be difficult to write, but perhaps he could make use of those clichés and shower her with tongue in cheek clichés and trite compliments.  His comments must be funny though and not at all condescending; well not much!

Now I need funny lines to fit every situation. He cooks her a meal and hands it to her with the words “Would you like fries with that”. Maybe, we could even work in “have a nice day”. I need to work on this idea. Any suggestions?

Please write you suggestions in the comments. I also need an end to the story, something unexpected. Maybe he ends up doing something typically American?

There are more blogs to read on a Zillion Ideas, the one I posted today is also about writing, The Magic of Words.

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10 responses

  1. kathy

    I am partial to the name Mauve.

    22, June 2012 at 5:31 pm

    • Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for the suggestion, I have never heard that before, but I looked it up and it’s of French origin. I thought it was a purple colour! :)

      I need a typical American name, I think like Madison or Destiny! Destiny might not be too bad, Nick could make a joke out of that!

      Thanks for visiting, I need an ending too. Any ideas?

      22, June 2012 at 5:52 pm

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