Character Sketch

I have this little schedule to the right of my blog, a schedule I haven’t kept up with. Life is chaotic and I’m beginning to realize that I need a bit of organization to make it less chaotic. So, I’m going to try and stick with the schedule.

Today, I went in search of character interview questions. I’ve read them in the past, filled a few out but never lived by them when it comes to getting to know my characters, but I’m going to give it a whirl this time around. See if it works.  Hopefully it’ll make the first draft process easier. I’ll post those questions and answers as I discover them. For now, I’ll leave you with one I wrote a while back for a contemporary suspense.


Her name is Alyssa Wheeler.

She’s a missing person’s detective with the Kansas City, Kansas police department.

She’s a thirty-two, five foot-seven, green-eyed pastor’s kid with natural honey-blonde, wavy hair.

She’s recovering from a gunshot to the head. Physically, she’s improving. She’s pushing herself through rehab, forcing herself to overcome her limited mobility. She’s hard on herself, but jokes around with the nurses and her CEO fiancé. Emotionally, she’s determined but scared. Her determination comes from the fact that she wants to fulfill her promise to the distraught parents of a missing teenage girl. Her fear comes from being caught unaware and once again facing the man who shot her.

Alyssa has always been career oriented. However, volunteering to work the holidays has nothing to do with wanting to stay ahead and everything to do with avoiding family gatherings.

She loves sipping a cup of hot tea on a cool fall morning while she watches the leaves fall. Fall is her favorite time of the year because it’s the only season that doesn’t bring up memories, both good and bad.

Her philosophy in life is to achieve excellence, whether it’s in opening the door for an elderly lady or capturing a bad guy.

She’s loyal to her family and still attends her father’s church. She’s never understood how her father could continue to preach and keep faith through the tragedies earlier in their lives but he’s always portrayed a solid rock to the outside world. So, it’s no wonder Alyssa does the same.

It’s only been through her coma and recovery that she’s discovered there might be more to church than sitting in a pew and singing hymnals. She’s learned God is more than words and actions, He’s real and living.

Before the shooting, she loved to knit and spend her Saturday afternoons at the local Boys’ Club teaching children how to make things out of pottery. She loves Chopin and AC/DC. Her favorite colors are earth tones but she’s not adverse to splashes of brighter colors.

Her best friend is a rat-terrier named Brutus. Next in line on the best-friend list is her fiance of five years. As I said before, she’s very career driven, which keeps her from committing to marriage.

Alyssa isn’t all roses and lilies. Her greatest strength, her need for perfectionism, is also her greatest weakness. Too often, her neat and orderly life causes her to miss the bigger picture, like the love of her family, fiance and God.

On the outside, Alyssa wants everyone to see her as strong and fun. On the inside, she feels like a little girl who wants to curl up on her grandma’s lap and have her make all of the hurt go away.

The most important thing about Alyssa is she’s driven by her past. Having witnessed the kidnapping of her younger sister when they were only seven and ten, Alyssa carries a heavy burden. At nights, she lays awake and wonders what if . . . what if they’d gone straight home from school that day? What if it’d been her taken instead of her sister? What if Alyssa hadn’t chased after the ice cream truck leaving her sister alone? To this day, she’s never been able to eat ice cream.

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