Thursday, October 4, 2012

Are You a Profiler?

Wasn't there a show a few years ago called The Profiler? Okay, just Googled it and it was more like twelve years ago. Anyways, I'm not talking about profiling criminals, but profiling your characters. Unless of course some of your characters are criminals, in which case I am talking about that...

But anyways, before we get into that, a brief update since my last post. I last shared with you guys that I was a finalist in Deana Barnhart's GUTGAA agent contest, and alas, I did not get any agent requests for my middle grade novel Everdream. There were twelve agents in the contest, and of the twelve only three were middle grade agents, and of the three I knew that one didn't like stories with animals. So, I knew my chances were slim but of course it was still disappointing. I did however get two nice comments from agents, including one from the lovely Molly Jaffa of Folio Lit who said about my book "it does evoke some Tamora Pierce-esque imagery in my mind, and that's great!". So, that was pretty rad, since I adored Tamora Pierce as a teen and got to meet her at WFC.

And that does actually lead back to my main subject of character profiling. Because I just finished my third round of edits on Everdream, a kind of fine-tune/polish edit. All of the major edits have been done, and at this point I just need to shine, shine, shine it up before I start querying, which I'm pretty scared about since it'll be my third time crawling down into the query trenches. So, for my fourth round of edits, I'm going to do some character profiles, and then go through and add in those rich details that really make a story shine. I've never done an in-depth character profile, so I Googled them to find some good ones online. These are the best ones I found so far:

The one on the Children's Publishing blog has a huge list of mannerisms and common phrases to choose from. Fun stuff. So, that's what's happening with me. I'm going to do profiles on my three main characters, and start edit round four. 

Speaking of rounds, have you checked out Write Club? It's up to Round 28 now, with another few weeks to go before the finals. It's fun to see the two entries that go head to head in each round, so head on over, check it out, and put in your vote. Check it out here.

Anybody got any character profile links to share? Have you checked out Write Club yet? 


  1. Sorry you didn't get a bite, but that one comment was great!
    I usually do detailed character outlines before I even solidify the plot. As I write, I add to the details. Sorry, no link - I just write it all down on paper in an half-organized manner.

  2. Feel bad that you didn't get any agent bites. But you should not let it worry you, you were a finalist and there were just 3 MG Agents.

    I don't have any great character profile sheets to share as I do it in a haphazard manner.

  3. Sorry, don't have any links to share either . . . would love to find you if you discover any good ones:-) And no worries about the rejection, it just means God has something better in mind for you!!

  4. Write club has been fun! I liked the last one that DL did too.

  5. I'm sorry to hear about the agent issues but keep the faith! Persistence always pays off.

    I always do character profiles before I start any writing. I much prefer to know my characters inside and out before I go into writing their story. It helps save a lot of time later on when I'm revising.


  6. Sorry you didn't make it through to an agent bite. You will get there - I know it!

    I've never profiled any of my characters, just written basic details. Thanks for the links.

  7. Sorry no agent bites. I got one. I did notice there was not a lot of requests, except for a couple that were hugely popular. But it was still a fun experience. I'm in the small press round and just got a couple of bites, so that's always uplifting.
    MG is in demand tho, so keep querying! Try Jennifer Laughran and Mary Kole.
    As for character profiles, I try to do this with each story, but my most recent story I REALLY fleshed them out. I made character charts with pictures I imagined them to look like, and branched off in different colored markers from the pics on everything from appearance, to motivation, to dislikes, to smells. Then I hung these charts up on my cork board above my laptop and stared at it every time I went to work on the story. I'll tell you, it made a HUGE difference in how real the characters felt to me. Even now I think of them as real people and not just figments.

  8. Sorry you didn't get a bite. I'm a pantser, so I just start writing and let the characters introduce themselves to me. I profile later when I'm revising to make sure they're well-rounded characters.

  9. Wow, this business is tough. So sorry you didn't get a bite, but hooray for great comments! I so admire your perseverance and just know that one day I'll be coming back here to celebrate properly with you. And congrats for making it to the finals!

  10. Aw, that's a bummer. It's a tough business. Definitely need to build up that self confidence to handle all the punches. But there's always a next time. Best of luck with this next round of edits! I suppose I do character profiling, as I work out characterization and character arcs. That's the same thing, right? I don't always do it, but when a character doesn't feel as clear to me, that's when I work it out, although I do often work out their arc to see how they're changing.

  11. Hm, great question! I've never consciously thought about character profiling, but I suppose I do it on a less conscious scale.

  12. Sorry to hear the agents didn't bite.. but there weren't many for MG during the event. Profiling is great... thanks for sharing the links, I need to do this with a new book I'm plotting:)


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