The Character Consultancy

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Get a Critique of Your Work

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From £30 per 1,000 words

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Do you have a pre-existing idea or a few chapters that you want me to look at? I'll be happy to read it and send you detailed feedback.


Case Study 1 - biflspud

Biflspud approached me with a question about the dynamics of the characters in his story, The Also-Rans. His presenting problem was that he felt the characters were too ill defined for him to keep their voices separated when writing them, and this was giving him writer's block.

The Also-Rans is the tale of a group of characters rejected by the hero of a tabletop roleplay game. Uneasy that the hero seems to have lost his battle against the Big Bad, the rejected healer traces the hero's steps until she meets another one of the hero's rejects. They travel on, and one by one, they meet the others. In time, the also-rans will fight the Big Bad themselves and finish the task the hero couldn't.

Biflspud's issue was that most of these characters originally rejected (or were rejected by) the hero because they lacked an adventuring spirit, social awareness, or the necessary altruism to put themselves in danger for the common good, but needed to bond with each other for the sake of the story.

I asked him for a list of the characters and a description of each, and he provided me with this. I read the descriptions and wrote an analysis of what would make each character bond with other people in general, and what sorts of other people they would bond with. I also wrote a matrix of how each character would respond to the other also-rans, and what circumstances might help keep them together. I sent the finished report to biflspud who was delighted with my input. Here is his testimonial about his experience working with me:

"I was really impressed how you took a small set of character biographies and drilled down into their deeper selves from a mere 2-3 paragraphs of each one. The real gem was the exploration of where the characters would interact with one another, given their psychology and motivators; by treating the characters as if they were real people, it was amazing to see in what facets they'd overlap the best and which ones would earn a cold shoulder. Especially when writing with multiple characters, it's easy to fall into the trap of each character being windowdressing for the main protagonist -- but not when they're given such an in-depth analysis and cross referencing. You've created for me a deeper reference material for me to go back to time and time again!"

Since then biflspud has written several more chapters of his story, had me review one chapter in which he felt stuck, and booked one hour of consultation to help prepare him to write a chapter centered on particularly independent character.


Case Study 2 - Sarah M.

When Sarah came to me she had been working on a story involving "preachers" and "bibles", and wanted help developing one particular preacher.

The preachers are more or less what most readers might expect them to be. The bibles however, are usually large, tattooed men who play a few roles for the preacher, including that of bodyguard. Their tattoos are of bible verses.

Sarah booked me for a consultation so that we could work our way through a No Frills character profile in real-time. While we have not yet finished the No Frills, Sarah already feels that the process has been helpful in helping her visualise the main preacher of her story, as she tells in this testimonial:

"The development of my MC’s psychology, starting with her infancy, was such a great way to really delve into her core personality and work out why she is who she is, as well as to glean how she would approach certain obstacles. I had previously made a basic character profile with some bits of background sprinkled in, but having her early childhood mapped out made her feel like a more complete, compelling, and layered character.

"Seeing my MC evolve from a generic character with rudimentary hopes, dreams, and fears into someone with a reason behind those elements has been fascinating to watch, and I look forward to growing her more in future sessions."