Friday, August 12, 2011

Character Keywords

While I was out last week taking care of school shopping, my kid diverted me into Claire's so she could get a new keychain. I wandered around marveling at all the stuff I am now too old to wear when I found a selection of antique-look necklaces sporting decorative skeleton keys. I saw one I really liked, grabbed it on impulse and went to hurry the kid along so we could move on to the shoe store.

It wasn't until I got home and took out the necklace again that I saw there were words welded to some of the keys on the necklace; mine had keys that read Peace, Hope and Dream. As those are definitely three of my favorite words, it was a neat surprise (and after checking Claire's web site, I found this listing for it. They call it the Inspiration Keys necklace; excellent name.)

Discovering these -- pardon the pun -- keywords on my necklace also made me think of another way to work on one character I've been tinkering on for my next novel. I know almost too much about him, and I've been getting mired down in all the details and backstory, so I've been wanting to distill all this info and somehow summarize it to get a better handle on who he is. Taking a cue from my new necklace, I thought about how I would describe him using just three words; words that are keys to who he is.

The first would be chimerical because of the complicated aspects of his character, the manner in which he's evolved as a person, and (depending on how you look at him) his life has been a chimera of dreams and nightmares. Resolute is also a central aspect to his character, as his determination is both unwavering and defining, and drives him so much in the story. The final keyword for him would be valorous. He is the embodiment of this word, not just in how he conducts himself, but in that he constantly inspires the same in others.

All right, now it's your turn. What three keywords would you use to describe a character from one of your stories (or, if you're a reader, from a book you love?) Let us know in comments.


  1. Lethal.
    (and I ADORE this guy!).

  2. I love the way you turn random discoveries into something that helps your writing.

    Wow, to choose one character is rough, but if I go with the book I'm editing now, Rochelle is sheltered, frustrated, and responsible.

    Might sound a little boring in just three words, but I know what she was sheltered from, why she's frustrated, and what she feels responsible for :).

    Sheltered - her mother out of a mix of jealousy because she's a null and motherly concern has sheltered Rochelle from the fact that magic is real and Rochelle has it.

    Frustrated - Rochelle has always been drawn to the arts, design in specific, but her family has discouraged her interest in the name of a career where she can have a stable income (only there's more to it Rochelle has to discover)

    Responsible? - Well, she's responsible for bringing about a nightmare because of her ignorance, and though she doesn't know what or why, crazy bag ladies are stopping her in the street to tell her to fix it. But really the word fits because she accepts that responsibility despite her ignorance.

    Now do the words both fit and seem interesting?

  3. The main character in the novel I am currently editing is snarky, stubborn, and judgmental. :)

  4. Thomas is lonely, perceptive, and hopeful.

  5. Anonymous12:16 AM

    Esther is defined by her determination, her faith, and her courage.

  6. My hero:

    My heroine:
    Chameleon (she's had to hide from assassins most of her life)
    Passionate (about her job, about her team, and surprisingly to love as well).

  7. The heroine in my story is daring, broad-minded and compassionate. These are qualities that take a lot of courage to have. :) Thanks for sharing your experience!

  8. Of all the words out there, my three words would be:
    transformation, purity and expectations.

    As in most of your books, I have been compelled to read one after the other and re-read them again.
    In my thoughts I feel such transformations within the characters, the purity that their soul's still have and the expectations to they will upon themselves to succeed.
    There is still much to tell in your stories especially the Darkyn. In the night, when it is quiet I look long and hard and just out of reach are your characters. Tis all very powerful.
    Thanks for all in inspiration.

  9. Anonymous8:07 PM

    three words... I guess the first would be Inspiring. Red/Ricky (long story) has inspired me so much, to do the best I can and become the best I can be no matter what life throws at me.
    second... Strong. Not physically strong, he's kinda small, but emotionally and mentally.
    and third... Adaptable. He's good at adapting to situations.


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