Posted in blogs, Craft, Links, Links, writers, Writing and Poetry, YA

A Character is Made Up of More than the Physical by Traci Kenworth

A Character is Made Up of More than the Physical

Traci Kenworth

          A character is made up of more than the physical details of their person. There’s, of course, personality. But what I’m getting at here is: you don’t have to go down a certain list: eyes: blue, check. Hair: brown, check. There’s more to showing who a character is than repeating these details.

And again, we’re not just talking about a bunch of personality traits here either. We want “actions” that show who a character is. Maybe they’re an aggressive, backwoods type. Try not to think stereotypical. Unless that’s what you’re going for.

How about a mousy-blonde girl quiet by day and the pillar of society and at night, a theater actress. It was done very successfully by the author Jess Michaels in Graham: The Broken Duke. It just goes to show that you can reveal character by how they treat others and how they are treated by the same in the different roles they perform.

Or what about an assassin only seventeen taken from a prison camp that she was sent to after the death of her boyfriend. Her family had been wiped out by the king. A king she must fight for and prove the best assassin if only to win the game for her life. Also done very well in The Throne of Glass series.

There are so many books out there who let you catch a glimpse of who the character is simply by them performing a role they are suited for or perhaps not suited for. I mean, there are times when a character is trying to sneak into a base and realizes who they are won’t work, so they snatch another disguise. Perhaps a bumbling fool? The Scarlet Pimpernel, anyone?

So, remember when coming up how to best show your character, it doesn’t always have to be physical. Show who they are. A daredevil or maybe a broken youth. Who could’ve predicted a youth would’ve survived The Maze Runner?

Place them into action and watch them shine!

Happenings: Well, got the new tires and had to replace battery after all. It was leaking acid so that was draining and it and leading to starting issues. Running good now.

My daughter got a raise and my son will be looking at one here in a few months, hopefully. We are making plans for a vacation for the first time in early August. Can’t wait!

Here are some links around the web you may find interesting:

  1. Syl’s 65 blog
  2. Meeka’s Mind Haptic gloves that simulate touch are not new, but up till now they have been waaaaay too expensive for the tech to be integrated into gaming. That could all change with the Bifrost Pulse VR glove: That’d be an interesting tool!
  3. Angel Messages
  4. Smorgasbord Magazine Some more poetry and flash fiction from my various collections. Nature is a fascinating and wonderful addition to our lives from the rain and wind that bow to the power of the sun, to the wisdom of trees. Some nice poetry here!
  5. Chris the Story Reading Ape I abhor writing rules. If you follow them, you will produce cookie-cutter prose that sounds as if it has been written by a machine. (Although, I am told this may be what publishers are actually looking for.) One of the most egregious of these rules is: “Write nonfiction like fiction.” I have read the work of writers who took this advice entirely too literally. They invariably produce personal essays and memoirs laden with self-conscious turns of phrase, excessively lyrical prose, and literary devices that transform what should have been an honest account into a parody. Verisimilitude is the bedrock of fiction. The appearance of reality in fiction is absolutely necessary because without it readers won’t be able to identify with the characters in the story. Even for genres in which readers are required to suspend disbelief, such as fantasy and science fiction, the thoughts and emotions of the characters need to conform to what readers already know about how people operate in the real world. “But … but … but…” (I can hear the objections now) “Write nonfiction like fiction” simply means that there should be an engrossing storyline, well-developed characters and that it should fully engage the reader! That is, in fact, a description of fiction. No, let me amend that. It’s a description of good fiction. There is plenty of bad fiction out there that does none of those things. Conversely, there is plenty of nonfiction that does all of those things. The main difference is that, unlike fiction, readers don’t have to suspend disbelief. From the moment they open the book, they are ready and willing to believe that they are reading something that is actually true not merely like (“simil”) the truth. Some rules are good. It’s all how you twist them.
  6. Fiction Favorites The coffee machine has finally come to an end. Reminds me of the song we sang in the schoolyard. “Ring around a Rosie. Pocket full of posies. All fall down.” Since that song was inspired by the bubonic plague, it seems fitting in this situation. The machine has given up the ghost and must be replaced. The new one is on its way, but until it arrives, it must be jiggered to override the internal controls. With much jiggering, a cup comes at last. The first sip brings to mind the statue of Roger Rabbit. A deep sigh follows the thought of having to get rid of it. The first task is to see if it is still there. A check of the ring doorbell on my phone shows it is no longer on the drive. To confirm the security shutdown process is begun. The claymore mines disarmed. The tower machine guns are placed on standby. The boiling oil vat is secured. The moat net retracted. The concertina wire rolled back. The trebuchet was secured. The gate lifted. The locks and deadbolts reset. The front door opened. Looking at where the statue used to be confirms it is gone. In its place is an envelope. Tearing it open, there are two messages. The first is from someone who signs their name, The Phantom. It reads No Police. If you want to see your stature again, you’ll follow our directions. We will be in touch. I hope the would-be kidnappers are happy with their statue since there is no reason to respond to any demands. The second message is from Linda Hill. It reads. Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “a song from your childhood.” So think of a song from your childhood and just write. Have fun! If you would like to have fun, visit Linda’s blog and read how easy it will be. You can also see other prompt responses. Here is the link. Oh the woes of the coffee machine!
  7. Fantasy Book Cafe The Leaning Pile of Books is a feature in which I highlight books I got over the last week that sound like they may be interesting—old or new, bought or received in the mail for review consideration. Since I hope you will find new books you’re interested in reading in these posts, I try to be as informative as possible. If I can find them, links to excerpts, author’s websites, and places where you can find more information on the book are included, along with series information and the publisher’s book description. Disclosure: I am an affiliate of, and I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. It has been some time since the last one of these posts since last month was the twelfth annual Women in SF&F Month! If you missed it, April was dedicated to highlighting some of the many women doing fantastic work in speculative fiction genres and featured a series of guest posts. This included discussions related to women in science fiction and/or fantasy and more general discussions about the genre(s) and what makes them special, as well as sharing about experiences and influences, writing, and creating stories, characters, and/or worlds. All of the 2023 guest posts can be found here. My birthday is also in April, which means I received some books as gifts. I might cover those next weekend, but due to time constraints, I am just highlighting ARCs and finished copies that came in the mail since last time today. Here are some upcoming releases I’m very excited about!
  8. Writers Helping Writers Creator (Archetype) DESCRIPTION: Imaginative and highly driven, these characters are the artists, inventors, and scientists who feel compelled to create something totally new and innovative. Their motivation may come from a desire to write a wrong, solve a problem, meet a need, fill a personal void, or simply provide fulfillment for themselves. FICTIONAL EXAMPLES: Victor Frankenstein (Frankenstein), Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Jo March (Little Women), Mozart (Amadeus), Zeus (Greek mythology) COMMON STRENGTHS: Adventurous, Ambitious, Bold, Creative, Curious, Disciplined, Focused, Idealistic, Imaginative, Independent, Industrious, Inspirational, Intelligent, Meticulous, Passionate, Persistent, Quirky, Resourceful, Talented, Uninhibited COMMON WEAKNESSES: Compulsive, Disorganized, Irresponsible, Manipulative, Oversensitive, Perfectionist, Possessive, Self-Indulgent, Stubborn, Uncooperative, Volatile, Workaholic
  9. Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo … This way comes!’ *** Up high among the hilltops a lone figure braves the weather, Feet braced against a howling gale and shoulders hunched together, The bitter wind and rain have dogged his footsteps every mile, The trademark headgear veils his face… “Not just a hat, it’s style.” You’ll find him where the mysteries lie hidden in the heather, A Little Grub behind him as they traipse the land together… Within the English countryside, there’s something feral lurking, He’s questing for the perfect pint (though says that he is working); “It’s research, Wen!” he will protest if challenged on his mission, As yet another ‘Special’ adds to knowledge by attrition. A thread like Ariadne’s winds through all his perorations, I will miss Sue forever. Her whit, the way she looked at life. God rest her soul.
  10. Entertaining Stories Work is sending me for some training on Monday. I’m going to be squeezed a little for time while I’m on the road. I mention this because I’m expecting blog comments. I have two new promotional posts scheduled for everyone. I went with Tuesdays and Thursdays for these. My hope is that I can sneak off to my hotel during lunch and respond to everyone then. I hope you’ll be a little patient with me, but I will get to everyone. Monday is a travel day, as is Friday. I’m going to Savannah, Georgia for the week. I’ve googled the images and it looks beautiful. Of course, I’ll spend most of my time locked up in a conference room, but the evenings are mine. Two of my travel companions are way excited and already booked us into some restaurants. One has a pirate theme, so there could be rum involved. They also talked us into a ghost tour as a group. You know they didn’t have to twist my arm. I already bought my ticket online. I saw a bit of the coronation. Missed the Derby but heard about the horses dying. Sad. My dad always loved horse races. He’s been gone 26 years now. Almost the age in years I was when he passed.
  11. Writers in the Storm I have been writing for more than a decade now. As a self-published author, one of the great benefits is the capacity to put out a far greater volume of writing. Indeed, many self-pub business models require rapid release. Now, there are many ways to achieve this level of output. The easiest, and least desirable, is to simply not care much about your output. Write fast, skip revisions, and cross your fingers. I DO NOT RECOMMEND YOU DO THIS! It takes a very skilled, and very lucky, author to produce quality work in this way. Another way is to simply keep your butt in the seat and just churn out the words, polish them, rinse, repeat. This is, broadly speaking, the ideal method. But it takes more time, dedication, and discipline to manage this than many people have to offer. I certainly struggle with it. However, I have good news! There is a middle way. If you care about quality but don’t have the capacity to write the amount of raw, polished output you’d like, then you just need to learn to find a use for every scrap of writing you do. If no idea is wasted, you’ll be amazed at how much your creative output increases. There are a number of ways this can be done, but I’ve come to call my method “The Bad Idea Exercise.” And the flowers that have grown out of that particular pot of fertilizer have taken a number of forms. But to get them growing, you must prepare the soil.
  12. The Write Stuff Here’s to pedaling  like a thing possessed!
  13. Books and Such n the quaint town of Nightfall, Oregon, it isn’t the dark you should be afraid of—it’s the girls. The Lost Boys meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this propulsive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Treatment. Theo and her brother, Marco, threw the biggest party of the year. And got caught. Their punishment? Leave Arizona to spend the summer with their grandmother in the rainy beachside town of Nightfall, Oregon—population 846 souls. The small town is cute, when it’s not raining, but their grandmother is superstitious and strangely antisocial. Upon their arrival she lays out the one house rule: always be home before dark. But Theo and Marco are determined to make the most of their summer, and on their first day they meet the enigmatic Minnow and her friends. Beautiful and charismatic, the girls have a magnetic pull that Theo and her brother can’t resist.
  14. Story Empire Hey, SE Readers. Joan here today. D. L. Finn posted last week about book formatting. If you haven’t read it, you can do so by clicking this link. Today’s post also deals with the same subject but is directed toward the style. Last time, I talked about the importance of a good-quality cover. Today, we’ll discuss the interior design of your book. A poorly formatted book can lead to its downfall. Spacing, alignment, and chapter headings that are inconsistent are a sign of amateurism. We’re writers. If we’ve published and made money on our writing, we’re professionals. Why would you want to spend weeks and months writing and editing only to have improper formatting turn readers away? For the purpose of this post, I’ll use screenshots from Atticus, a writing and formatting software. (Denise mentioned Atticus in her post last week.) These images are stories from my recently-released short story collection.


I write YA as Traci Kenworth. I also write romance as Loleta Abi.

13 thoughts on “A Character is Made Up of More than the Physical by Traci Kenworth

    1. True, Sally. Because we are complex are characters should reflect that. Otherwise, we get the dreaded “flat” character. Thanks on the car and the holiday! And you’re welcome on the podcast! Hugs back!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Robbie! I am happy that you liked the post! Digging down deep into our characters makes them grow as well as us! Yes, the car is finally working great! It will be nice to have a vacation after all this time!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Spot on, Traci! That’s one reason I like reading about, and writing about characters seen from both the inside /and/ the outside – i.e. seeing how other characters relate to them. It’s quite exciting to find that a villainous character actually has some well hidden, redeeming traits that are only revealed because of an act of kindness to someone else! Or the reverse: a ‘nice’ character to who likes squishing bugs when no-one is looking. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Meeka! Yes, the inside and outside of a character can hide such great material for a writer to cultivate. It’s what readers love, I think. To find characters, like you said, who can be redeemed or one that can be totally crushed by their actions even though they seem so “good.”

      Liked by 1 person

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