Aug 9, 2009

Characters! Don't You Just Love Them?

by Marsha Ward

Many years ago, I typed notes about characters in my Owen Family novels on 3- by 5-inch or 4- by 6-inch index cards. It's pretty illuminating to go back and read those cards and see if anything I wrote remains true now, three novels later.

For example, one of my female characters is the elder daughter in the Owen family, Marie. She was born between James and Clayton, and is five years older than her sister, Julianna. She was first seen in The Man from Shenandoah, and appears in Jessie Bingham's memories in Trail of Storms.

I have two photos on Marie's card. They are both far too old for the real Marie. One is of a female newscaster whose name escapes me, and the other is of an actress whose name I never knew. Ha! I didn't need names for the photos. Their purpose was to provide a general physical description I could visualize and describe as needed.

Here is what I wrote on Marie's character card:

Marie has thick dark hair and a beautiful smile. She loves a good mystery, and is good at ferreting out people's secrets. Her eyes range from hazel to dark brown, according to hertemperament . She enjoys teasing her brothers. Marie is aware of becoming a woman, but has no anxiety to wed. She would love to have several beaus to play off against each other, but will take what comes with a good will. She loves adventure, and looks forward to the trip west with high excitement.

I'm looking forward to getting to know Marie better. Are you?


  1. Yes I think Marie would be interesting to know as well. I especially like the idea of a photo to give you a visual of the charater.

  2. I like seeing what other people do to develop their characters since I'm still working on this...

  3. She is becoming a real person. Does this make us crazy?

  4. Hey, when i get around to writing fiction, I'm going to use the photo along with card description. Great idea.

    Since I'm working on my memoirs, I know pretty well how my characters look and act and think (maybe).

    I've been told an author learns not only to know, but to love her main characters. For my project that's a delight. As of now, that's me and my family.


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