Many novels involving murders begin with the victim already deceased. At the discovery of the corpse, the hunt is on for the killer. Depending on the plot, who the victim was, and how he related to the other characters, it may or may not be important to develop a character sketch. In the story we will be working on, a character creator, or worksheet, will be instrumental in bringing everything together.
The victim will be attacked early on in the story. However, she will live on for some time as a point-of-view character. Knowing how she interacted with the other characters is vital. It is her relationship with one of these characters that ended in her death.
To be fair to the readers, and make it more fun, we are going to use a character creator list to help us get to know her on an intimate basis. We'll start with a sketch of her appearance and basic personality traits.
In the next article, we'll go into her back-story to learn how her experiences drove her to the desperate situation she finds herself in at the beginning of the story.
CHARACTER CREATOR FACT LIST
Name: Brandy Callahan
Character Type: Victim
Connection to Lead: Neighbour, friend
Story Goal: To get over her fear of being hurt or abandoned and to connect emotionally with a man in an honest relationship.
Height: 5 ft. 5 in.
Body Type: Curvaceous, sexy, wears short, form-fitting dresses and skirts. Low cut shirts and blouses.
Hair Color: blond, long - mid back, thick, wavy.
Eye Color: pale blue
Mannerisms: Throws her head back when she laughs. Touches people playfully when she speaks to them, especially men.
Distinctive Speech Pattern: Soft and airy.
Personality: Has trouble trusting men. Acts completely confident and self-assured. Inwardly, she's afraid of being alone and being hurt.
Personal Life: She lives with a man to save herself from being alone. She knows he's desperately in love with her. She has no feelings for him other than friendship.
Private Life: She takes kickboxing classes. Has a kickboxing bag hanging from a beam in her basement. She uses it often when she feels sad or lonely.
Work Life: Stripper/High end call girl
Strength: She can instinctively attract men without even trying.
Weakness: She doesn't know how to hold onto a committed relationship.
This gives us a general outline of our victim's appearance and personality.
Next time, we'll dig down deeper. We'll take the character we've developed here and give her experiences that will bring forth the pain in her damaged soul.
We have to know, and see, and feel her pain so that the reader will be there with her. Then, we put a mirror in front of her so she comes face to face with the fears she holds about herself. We want to frustrate her struggles as deeply as possible.