Fiction writing needs three things to be successful: plot, setting, and character. And I’d like to focus on a tiny sliver—the character worksheet. The one in my Long Ridge program binder was a two-sided piece of paper. What’s below is NOT a copy of that sheet.
Creating a character involves things like:
Physical traits (hair color, eye color, height, weight, and more)
Likes and dislikes (food, music, culture, family, etc.)
Living situation and social life (girl- or boyfriend, married, single, living with friends/parents/roommate, working, college, children, and so on)
Other social factors (slang, childhood, past hurts and successes)
Entertainment (TV, movies, videogames, gardening, other hobbies)
Fears, hopes, dreams (hidden motivator, fears, desires)
You’re creating someone who needs to seem real, even though they’re not—which will be the subject of future posts.
And I haven’t forgotten you copywriters in this first-after-the-first post. Okay…so what does creating a character for a fiction story do to help copywriters with their style of writing?
A lot, really.
What fiction writers call a character sketch or worksheet, copywriters call knowing your prospect. One question a copywriter needs to answer is, “Who’s going to read this email (or sales letter or postcard)”?
That list can look like this:
Age factors (older, younger—which may affect a lot of what follows)
Economic, living, and educational factors/situation (are they college professors making six figures, a fast food worker, teacher, plumber, living in an apartment, city, country, do they commute to work, have children or pets, etc.)
Entertainment (TV, movies, other hobbies, spend time on developing business ideas out of their garage)?
What do they like or dislike (loud noises, confusing directions, cheese, a crabby boss, awful coworkers, poor working conditions)?
What do they know (every industry has slang and buzz-words–is it important that your prospect knows them)?
Fears, hopes, dreams (what makes them scared, jump for joy, or growl in frustration?)
Do you see some similarities between the two lists? Good. Whether making a character for a story, or analyzing the potential audience for an email or sales piece, the list you could make is almost endless.
The more blanks a writer can fill in, the stronger the character or view of that prospect/audience/market will be. Which makes a powerful connection—but that’s a topic for a future post.
So, the next time you sit down sketch out a character or write an email, think a while about your character, or who will receive that email or sales piece from you. You, your audience, and your future fans will be glad you did.
Until next time,