Brainstorming Characters

Oh, did I mention? I’m working on something new …

I’m working on a new novel, based on an idea I had in graduate school.

In it, librarian Nina meets a Prince of Faerie while he is slipping through her backyard naked. A Fae scorned casts a shadow across their dalliance, and Nina must brave the Faerie realms to rescue Prince Dain. If the landscape of Faerie doesn’t tear her apart, her adversary will. It will take all of Nina’s wits and all of her heart to save her lover.

I have the bare bones of plot; now what?

Now all I have to do is everything, starting with developing the characters. That to me is the place to start because I’m very character and relationship oriented. This is going to be today’s task and it’s going to require off-computer time.

Let me explain — I draft and edit on my computer using Scrivener and I proofread using Pro Writing Aid (now that I have it). I use Atticus for formatting and design covers using Photoshop and Canva.

But when it comes to character design, I’m in a different mode. I write and I write until I have the character developed. I interrogate my characters to find out what my subconscious tells me about the character and what I need to work out.

What do I need to know about Prince Dain?

A character sheet for writing tends to center on basic questions:

  • Role in story
  • Appearance
  • Motivation
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Internal and external conflict
  • Habits and gestures
  • Background

Which is necessary but not sufficient when writing a supernatural, alien, or other “other” (sentient dogs, etc.) Other things about the character must include how the character interacts with the other (i.e. our) world, which means figuring out the differences between us and them. Thus, character gets intertwined with worldbuilding.

In this case, there is a large body of folklore and stories, and it’s up to me to design this world borrowing from the stories. I know that I will include the traditional trickery/honesty of the fair folk, so: Irish legend, yes; Laurell K Hamilton, no.

From there, who is Prince Dain? This is what I have to find out. I only know at this time that he’s one of the fair folk, he has some sense of royalty, yet is a dilettante who crafts exquisite things and wanders through the crack between worlds, which is in Nina’s back yard. He is somewhat arrogant but charming, and at the beginning of the story very romantic but a bit fatuous. (I want my audience to question romance vs love.) He’s gorgeous, of course (and a ginger, which is one of my weaknesses when I am looking at pure male beauty). Ahhhh…

I’m back now. I need to have some conversations with my characters now.


I looked at depositphotos for a male faerie picture. I saw none. So the realm of Faerie is all female like the Amazons, only with flowing robes?

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