Misadventures in Editing: Character Profiling

Ever wondered what a writer goes through when editing a work-in-progress?  Here’s your chance to find out. Take a look at some of the conversations I’ve had with my characters while editing my current novel. If you’ve ever had something like this happen to you, please tell me in the comments.

Inspired by a writing exercise I stumbled on in this book, Description & Setting, I decided it was time for Amethyst and I to get better acquainted.

“Are you kidding me,” Amethyst asked, tapping her foot against the table leg.  “We’ve been working together since 2010 and you don’t know these answers? What kind of writer are you?”

Rude! “The kind of writer capable of giving any one of her characters genital warts for no particular reason.”

“No!” Dr. Palmer wailed from his corner, struggling against his strait-jacket.  “Please! No more!”

Amethyst rolled her eyes. “She’s not talking to you, freak!” She turned her attention back to me.  “All right,” she said, sighing.  “You’ve got my attention. What do you want to know?”

Nickname: Amy

“But only my brother calls me that.” Amethyst said. “And I prefer Amethyst.”

Occupation: Disgruntled Retail Associate.

“But, as soon as my hallucinations clear up, I’m going full throttle toward a position as a crime scene investigator.”

Now it was my turn to sigh.  “They’re not halluc–”

“Yes. They. Are!”

“Okay,” I said. Boy is she in for a rude awakening.

Build/Weight/Height: Curvy, 190 lbs, 5’7″

“You’re going to slim me down, right?” she asked.

“No.” I shook my head. “It’s good for girls to have a realistic role model.”

“Right.  So….you’re going to slim me down?”

Oh dear.  I’ve created a diva.

Strongest Belief: All things can be explained through science.

“Ha!” I laughed. “That’s a good one.”

Amethyst cocked her head to one side. “Why do you say that?”

I bit my lip. Now was not the time to tell her….again….that she’s a psychic about to witness a whole bunch of crap that can’t be explained by science. Instead, I cleared my throat and continued.

Biggest Fear: ???

“Amethyst?”

Silence.  Why is she silent?  Normally I can’t get her to shut up and now she’s quiet.

“Amethyst? What’s your biggest fear?”

Her eyes moved from the right to the left, searching the room for an answer. “I…..don’t think….I have any.”

Huh? “How is that possible?”

Amethyst slapped me on the arm. “You tell me! You’re the one who wrote me.  What am I afraid of?”

How the hell should I know?  I can’t even remember what my kids ate for lunch. “Can’t you figure this out without me?”

“Um…”she began, “no! I’m the fictional character, you’re the writer. You figure it out!”

I inhaled and exhaled. “Spiders?”

She shook her head.

“Snakes?”

She shrugged.

“Dr. Palmer?”

She glanced down at the floor. Dr. Palmer appeared to be talking to his shadow….again. “Not even if you took off the strait-jacket. I’m pretty sure I could take him.”

I dropped my head onto the conference room table. This wasn’t going well.  “Come on, Amethyst! You have to be afraid of something,” I whined. “Help a struggling writer out.”

“Fine,” she said, gritting her teeth. “Just give me a second.”

Celeste came into the room with Mrs. Simmons. “How’s it going?” she asked, setting the invisible dog’s leash on the table.

“We’re writing a character profile for Amethyst,” I said. “And we’re stuck on what her biggest fear is.”

Celeste scrunched her entire face. “You’ve known each other for how long and you’re just now trying to figure this stuff out?”

“I know, I know,” I said. “I suck….”

“Judge Judy!” Amethyst belted out.

Celeste and I turned, both staring at her like she was bat-shit crazy.

“What?” I asked.

“My biggest fear is having to take the stand as an expert witness in a case that Judge Judy is presiding over.”

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9 thoughts on “Misadventures in Editing: Character Profiling

  1. OMG. That is hilarious. I love the conversation. Cant stop giggling. 😀 Great job as I would like to read more…T

  2. I’m so glad you decided to follow me. That’s ‘cos it means I found you! I love what you have to say enough to follow you too 🙂 BTW, did I say thanks? If not, I have now. Didn’t mean to be rude

  3. Aaaahhh yes 🙂 I’ve experienced something like that; both with the written word and the painted image. Funny how these things we create have a mind of their own-just like children I suppose.

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