Wednesday, May 11

Candy anyone?

I wanted to introduce everyone to a great way to do character sketches if you are looking to give a boost to your routine. I have used this technique a few times now and it is very useful, and a whole lot of fun! Candy. Yep, candy. Let's get started shall we?

(Warning: Do not read if hungry, dieting, pregnant, or PMS'ing. Ye be warned.)

Let's start with the two classic Male Leads.

Dark, Smooth, and Cool
This guy is definitely a looker; tall, dark and handsome. Charming, charismatic and maybe a bit mysterious, and the sharp black and while means there's a good chance he's got money. The sort of guy you would die to see in a tux.
Think James Bond, Damon(from Vampire Diaries), Rhett Butler

Strong, Sturdy, and Dependable
This guy has more of a rustic charm. He is warm, strong, and reliable, and may have a a bit of a snap to him of the situation calls for it. You'd be more likely to see him at a bar with friends than a museum, and with him, family and friend will most likely come first. 
Think cowboy, Robin Hood, or boy-next-door type.

Next, let's look at the two classic Female Leads:

Attractive, Smart, and Always has a Back-Up
She is smart, sweet, stable, and consistent. She's got smooth, she's got snap, and she's got a figure. She might be underestimated, but take a look inside and there is more going on than you think.
Think heroine who is more than just a love interest for the hero.

Smooth, Sweet, and Often Costly
Dove bar ladies can be tricky because they can go one of two ways. The first Dove lady is the classic diva. Lovely, curvy, self-centered, and expensive, but really, deep down she is really no more than a glorified Hershey Bar. On the other hand, the second Dove lady is a girl who thinks she's only a cheap Hershey Bar, but deep down she is actually something more. It's up to you to decide which way this one goes.

Now we have the 'Take a deeper look' characters:

Unwrapped and placed next to each other, these three bars look almost identical, but once you open them up you can see what they are really made of. They may look promising, but on the inside:

This one's all fluff and no substance,

this one's got a few things going on, but there is no real depth or surprise,

and this one's the one with the most going on. It may have a common place appearance, but it has the most internal value.

Now on to the Hershey Bar group.

These are your secondary characters, the best friend, the co-worker, the brother, etc.

Uncomplicated and Classic
This is a person who is just what they seem. No bells, no whistles, just bare bones. This can be someone as important as a steady and reliable best friend, to someone's husband or wife that your MC meets one and knows nothing beyond their name.

Classic with a Little Something Extra
This is the person who seems unimportant, but may just be a bit more in the know than they seem. Not quite essential to the overall plot, but not in the background either.

Fun, Quirky, and Unexpected
We all know this person. The life of the party, the comic relief, the goof ball. They are there to have fun and make us laugh, or at the very least, roll our eyes.

This next one stands on it's own, but most stories have at least one of these people in them.

Has way more going on than meets the eye.
This character may start out being nothing more than a friend, or acquaintance, but ends the story being hugely important as in the villain, or anti-hero, or something like that. The person who has way more going on under the surface than meets the eye. Sometimes too much maybe, but stories can be made or broken on the backs of characters like these.
Think Professor Snape

Last we have our extras.

The people sprinkled throughout out stories to give them substance and depth. The don't always have names or faces, but they are essential to the overall feel of a book.

There are basically three different types:

Some are plain,

some are a little nutty,

and some are a little fruity!

Now, of course, no well rounded character will be only one of these, you will have a mix of candy for all your main characters. For instance, my main guy would be placed under the Peppermint Pattie as he is very rich, handsome, and charming. However he spent the majority of his life poor, so he also had a lot of the KitKat qualities. This is the way it should be for your characters to be as rounded and fleshed out as they should be, but it can help you to get a handle on things when you cut everything down to the bare bones and step back and look at it. This process also helps to let you know if you have too many of one personality type in your story. If you have a KitKat, three Twixs, and four Hersey Bars, that's not going to make for a very interesting story.

As an example, the book Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. (I just finished re-reading it, so that's what I'm using, sorry if you haven't read it.) The three main characters would look like this:




See what I mean? (BTW: see the movie if you haven't yet, it is awesome!)

So there you have it, my character sketches. Anyone hungry?...


  1. This is freaking AWESOME! I am sending this to every writer I know!

    Now I'm just pissed I don't have any candy in the house! :D

  2. Am going to see SOMETHING BORROWED on Friday. I hope they didn't destroy that wonderful book!!

  3. No, it's good. I really liked the book, and the movie is great. It's a bit watered down, but that's to be expected. The best part is what they have done with Ethan. He totally makes the movie!

    Hope you like!

  4. This is hilarious because I do the same thing with drinks! Like mixed drinks, I always pick one to represent my characters. Sometimes they drink their drink in the book, sometimes not, but everybody has one!

    Great post! Love it!