Sketching My Characters

As many of you may know I started this blog to charter my journey to becoming a published author but as with all things, life quickly stood in my way and I have ended up writing more about social events, my opinions and feelings than my writing. The same applies also to reality. My writing has taken a back seat to my family and social life and my other commitments. I have often found it very difficult to sweep the day away as I walk through my front door each evening and sometimes am so emotionally drained to lift a pen to paper or even switch on my laptop. I am happy to report that times have changed.

I am currently sketching the main character for my novel and I seriously feel like I’ve made a new friend. I ‘sketch’ her character on my commute home from work each day and during the day I’m sometimes so excited to get to know her more. Earlier this week, I learnt her name and it really bought her personality home.

I’ m working from a number of self-help books on writing and have finally learnt that I’m not at school anymore! I don’t need to complete each exercise before proceeding to the next. Instead, what is important is setting my individual work schedule and finding the method of working that is right for me. I was concentrating so much on steadily progressing through each book that I forgot why I was working on the exercises in the first place. One such book is The Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray and Bret Norris (2005). Although I don’t particularly work on it each weekend as Ray and Norris suggest, I have found their exercises very useful and stimulating and instead use the book throughout the week.

I know some of my readers are also struggling writers, battling their full-time jobs and life commitments and I would like to share with you my own prompts for a skeleton sketch taken both from The Weekend Novelist and my own research:






Date of birth:

Place of birth:

Birth order:

Siblings (describe relationship):

Spouse (describe relationship):

Relationship skills:






Financial status:


Fatal flaw:









Favourite room:

View from window:




Primary motivation:


(Some pointers taken from Ray & Norris, 2005:57-8)

I hope it will help you as much as it has helped me. I wish you the best of luck. For the first time in so long, I actually feel like a novelist now and am beginning to think of my character as a real person, wondering what she would do in certain situations and what she would say.

I feel like I have made it… FINALLY and just in time for the National Novel Writing Month in November! Watch this space…


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lucy
    Oct 10, 2011 @ 09:41:00

    This is awesome!

    I’m thinking of signing up to NaNoWriMo this year. I’m really excited about sinking my teeth into a novel now I have more time. The character sketch sounds like a great idea – I’ve done similar ones before, but reading that list I realise there’s a lot more details I could (and indeed should) add, so thanks for sharing! I will look out for the book 🙂

    All the very best – hope to share experiences with you soon!


  2. Ruby slippers
    Oct 10, 2011 @ 20:15:57

    I am ready and eager to have an insight into your novel. I can’t wait! Keep it up you are doing well! X x


  3. alphabetgames
    Oct 18, 2011 @ 12:41:11

    Thank you so much for your support, both of you and Lucy I wish you the best of luck with your writing. I’ve joined NaNoWriMo and am looking forward to sinking into some writing this weekend and for following your progress. Hope the writing is going well.


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