Writing How-To: Character Profiles

Whether you’re writing a short story, television series, movie, novel, etc., you are going to have to complete more than one character profile.

Over the years, I have completed MANY of them, and have collated a well-rounded list of character qualities to help you decide who your character is.

CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD DOCUMENT:

Character Profile notes


If you can’t download the file, here are the profile notes:

CHARACTER NAME:

AGE:

ETHNICITY:

DESCRIPTION (EYE COLOUR, HAIR COLOUR, HAIR STYLE, HEIGHT, WEIGHT, BUILD, ETC.):

STYLE OF DRESS:

PHYSICAL FLAWS, ABNORMALITIES OR DISABILITIES:

SIGNIFICANT RELATIONSHIPS:

WORST MEMORY:
BEST MEMORY:

QUIRKS AND MANNERISMS:

WHAT DO THEY BRING TO THE WRITING PROJECT/HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER CHARACTERS:

WHAT PART OF THEIR PERSONALITY CAN/SHOULD CHANGE:

DO THEY WANT TO CHANGE:

WHAT ARE THEIR LITTLE, SOMETIMES UNREASONABLE, FEARS:

WHAT ARE THEY SCEPTICAL OF, AND WHY:

RELIGION/CULTURE/TRADITIONS:

WHAT DO THEY DO ON THEIR DOWN-TIME:

WHO IS/ARE THEIR BESTFRIEND/S:

WHO IS/ARE THEIR ENEMY/IES:

SKILLS:

HOBBIES:

FAVOURITE FOOD:

LEAST FAVOURITE FOOD:

FAMILY (PARENTS, SIBLINGS, ETC.):

FRIENDS:

PETS:

LIFE-SHAPING EVENTS AND THEIR LONG-TERM EFFECTS:

HAPPY/SAD CHILDHOOD:

EDUCATION:

OCCUPATION:

INTERNAL CONFLICTS:

EXTERNAL CONFLICTS:


Don’t worry if you can’t answer all of these questions yet, some of it will be decided as you go along.

Let me know how you go.


Make sure you also check out my other Writing Tips and Tricks:

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5 Facts About Christianity

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*Not suitable for children*

It seems like everyday I come across another misunderstanding on the internet about our Dear Lord Jesus. I thought I would address some of these today.

If you have any questions, ask in the comments below.

1. Jesus wasn’t a tall, white man with long hair.

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The New Testament gives no description of Jesus. We can only figure out what Jesus would have looked like by looking at the time and place in which he lived.

Isaiah 53:2b says: “he [Jesus] had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.”

Common Jewish traditions meant men had beards – and were humiliated to have a shaven face.

His hair would not have been that long. Not only does Paul says many did not like it that way, but, as a carpenter, it would have gotten in the way.

He probably had a lot of muscles, as working with the wood and stones would have been very laborious.

His family were not rich, so his robe would have looked like all others.

As we read in numerous verses, Jesus looked much like all other Jewish males of the time, and we need to remember that looks have nothing to do with the power and majesty that is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Is this so bad? Personally, while I think it’s important to know the truth and understand his appearance doesn’t mean anything, we can also view it as

2. Magi, Wise Men, or Kings?

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Almost every Christmas carol mentions either three Magi, three Wise Men, or Three Kings. But who were they?

We don’t know how many there were. It is commonly thought to be three because they gave gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but it could have been two, or numerous.

They were not Kings. They would have been scholars who were fluent in the Old Testament and knew the signs to look for. They came from the East (the orient), which was possibly Persia or Babylon, etc.

3. The Wise Men were not at Jesus’ birth.

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In Matthew 2:1-12 we read that the Wise Men came looking for Jesus after he was born. They approached King Herod, who then proceeded to call together all of his “chief priests and teachers of the law”. From here, the Wise Men went all the way to where Jesus was. This could have been back in Nazareth since time had passed, although it was probably in Bethlehem because when Herod had the babies killed, it was the cry out of Ramah.

Herod’s order decreed the death of the children under two years old, so time must have passed.

4. They counted the days differently.

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If Jesus was crucified on Friday, and rose again on Sunday, how could he have been dead for three days? The answer lies in how the days were counted back then.

We can read more in-depth about it HERE, but there are two ways to calculate Jesus’ death and resurrection as three days.

1.

DAY 1 DAY2 DAY 3
THU
starts at
sundown on Wed.
THU
ends at sundown
FRI
starts at sundown on Thu . . .
FRI
ends at
sundown
SAT
starts at sundown on Fri.
SAT
ends at sundown
SUN
starts at sundown on Sat.
SUN
ends at sundown
Night Day Night Day Night Day Night Day
Crucifixion Sabbath He rose

“The solution is simple when we learn that according to Jewish custom any part of a day, however small, is included as part of a full day. “Since the Jews reckoned part of a day as a full day, the ‘three days and three nights’ could permit a Friday crucifixion.””

2. 

“The verses above tell us that the Passover occurred on the 14th day of the first month of the Jewish Calendar year. This corresponds to our months of March-April. It is possible, then, that this Passover could have occurred during the week with the Saturday Sabbath following. Since Lev. 23:5-7 tells the people to rest on the first day (not the last day Saturday), this is a type of Sabbath occurrence. Therefore, perhaps the following chart could represent a Thursday crucifixion and a subsequent set of three “night and days” before the Sunday resurrection.”

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
13th of Nisan 14th of Nisan 15th of Nisan 16th of Nisan
THU
starts at
sundown on Wed.
THU
ends at sundown
FRI
starts at sundown on Thu . . .
FRI
ends at
sundown
SAT
starts at sundown on Fri.
SAT
ends at sundown
SUN
starts at sundown on Sat.
SUN
ends at sundown
Night Day Night Day Night Day Night Day
Passover/Crucifixion Sabbath He rose

“Something worth mentioning concerning this is that in the Greek in Matthew. 28:1, it says “Now after the Sabbaths [PLURAL], as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.” It is possible that there may have been two “sabbaths” during that week. The first may have been the Passover related “Sabbath” and the second may have been the Saturday Sabbath.”

5. Jesus had brothers and sisters.

You’ve probably heard about Jesus, human-father Joseph, and the Virgin Mary. But did you know Jesus had brothers and sisters born after him? In numerous places in the New Testament, we read about Jesus’ siblings. These would have been his half-siblings, as Joseph was not his father (God was).

There is a great website, HERE, that explains it perfectly. Excerpts include:

“Jesus’ brothers are mentioned in several Bible
verses. Matthew 12:46Luke 8:19, and Mark 3:31 say
that Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see Him. The
Bible tells us that Jesus had four brothers: James,
Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). The Bible also
tells us that Jesus had sisters, but they are not named
or numbered (Matthew 13:56).”

So, hopefully you’ve learned a bit about Christianity. I will be adding more Facts About Christianity, so make sure to subscribe and check back.

Writing How-To: Improve writing conversations

I answered this question on Quora but I thought I would expand it and make it a full blog post.

Q.  How can I get better at writing conversations?

There are a few things you should do if you want to get better at writing conversations. This can be writing for short stories, novels, screenplays, anything.

1. Listen to conversations going on around you, and write them down.

Whether you’re on the bus, in a cafe, or walking down the street, pay close attention to the conversations happening around you. Listen to the inflections in the banter, then write it down.

2. Read them aloud.

You can get a friend to help you, or do this yourself. Your ear is more likely to pick up errors, and notice if the words sound false or awkward.

3. Remove or refine dialogue tags (e.g. said, asked, replied).

You don’t need to get rid of them all, but including them at the end of every line of dialogue stunts the flow of the conversation. Once you make it clear who is talking, you can even go for short bursts without the tags altogether.

Example –

“Hey Marie, how’s it going?”

“Not too bad, you?”

“Can’t complain. Did you get that text I sent you the other night?”

“No, I didn’t.”

You can see that you don’t need the tags. The punctuation can almost tell it all.

You can also choose to refine your tags. The thesaurus is filled with helpful synonyms of ‘said’ and ‘asked’, etc. Or, better yet, include descriptions and actions after the dialogue.

Example –

“Hey Marie, how’s it going?” David asked, though he already knew the answer.

“Not too bad, you?”

“Can’t complain.” A shrug left David’s shoulders. “Did you get that text I sent you the other night?”

“No, I didn’t.” Marie shifted her gaze, unable to look him in the eye.

See? Just by adding some descriptions and actions, you bring the dialogue to life, and progress the story. We learn more about the characters and the situation.

4. Character backgrounds.

One mistake some writers make, is to make all characters sound the same. Each character has a different background, so use that. Think about:

– Born and Raised. An Australian doesn’t speak the same way as someone from New York. If English is not their primary language, are their phrases stunted?

– Education. Do they talk in slang, or technical terms. This also depends on their degree, for example, technical writing terms are very different to technical medical terms.

– How old are they? Teenagers are more likely to talk in slang and unusual terms. The elderly might not use conjunctions as often.

– Who are they talking to? What relationship do they have? Have they been in a sexual relationship before? Are they hiding a secret from them?

5. Read, read, and read some more!

All of these are important, but you really do have to make sure you read. Read a short story, read a book, read a screenplay, read a news article, read a magazine. Just read anything!

Further reading:

There are MANY blogs, books, and online tutorials that talk about this and other writing tips, tricks, and techniques.

Check out: Creative Writing Now, Writing Forward, Daily Writing Tips.

Questions from little ones

Scripture day today with the little 6/7 year olds.

It is amazing to see their faces light up when the lesson comes around, and they run up to us excitedly (much different to the comment on Q&A last night saying teaching scripture in school is child abuse!).

Everything went according to plan, and when it was time for them to complete their activity sheets, I was asked question after question by two inquisitive young boys. One stated he didn’t believe in God (because he didn’t understand how God could make everything we see), and the other believes but still wants to know more.

Over and over again I made sure to praise them for their questions. It is so good to see them being so honest with their feelings, and how they actively wanted to know more about God.

As a result, I am now beginning a book/booklet that discusses all of their questions (and more!), and is told in a way young kids can understand. I have already had a lot of success explaining it to them, and hopefully this will reach more kids and even adults.

So stay tuned!