You can’t write a flat character and expect the reader to be involved in what’s happening to them in your story.
For several weeks I’ve been exploring the characters from my books. Up until this point, I’ve explored the main characters, but today it’s Katherine’s turn.
I consider Katherine a minor character and though I still have one major character left to explore, he doesn’t show up in the book until very near the end. Even the minor characters need to be well rounded and this can be accomplished not in how much the reader is told, but how much you show the reader. Often less is more and a lot can be inferred through the characters reactions. As the author, I always know a lot more about the characters than the reader and through this series I have been trying to share with the reader what I’ve discovered about the people in my story.
For example; the reader never learns Katherine’s last name, Sullivan, and they learn nothing about her youth except that she met the man she is living with while attending college. Katherine has a masters in finance, so she can take care of herself financially. She has a job as an investment banker. Although she is good at her job, she has never been offered advancement. Not because she recently changed companies, but because, according to her, she doesn’t possess that natural killer instinct for the business of money. It’s not her life’s passion. As for her boyfriend Jack‘s money, he’s unwilling to give over any control. He also refuses to ask her for her opinion on any major life decisions he faces. Why? Because she doesn’t think she’s important enough, and that comes through in the story when she repeatedly stays with him despite the fact that he will never give her what she most wants. The truth is, Katherine doesn’t value herself enough to insist that he value her, or this is how she perceives the situation
e. Coming from a large family, four brothers and one sister, Katherine is used to having people around her and Jack comfortable. They have a nice life together, on the surface. She knows in her heart that he loves her, but they’ve been together for over a decade and she doubts he’ll ever marry her. Since she was a little girl, she wanted to be a mother and a wife, but is willing to give that up to stay with Jack. When they move to the same town as the Jack’s sister, she becomes fast friends with the woman as a way to keep him near. It’s not that it’s a false caring, more it is self-serving when the new job takes him out of town frequently and she feels as if he might be looking elsewhere.
Katherine’s favorite shoes are Prada, her favorite purse is Dooney and Burke, and her favorite hockey team is the Columbus Blue Jackets. She enjoys reading and recently started scrapbooking. An avid photographer, her favorite subject is Jack. Her favorite thing to cook is pies and she loves Italian food. What does she think is sexy? Seeing Jack in nothing but his boxer briefs and Johnny Depp without a shirt.
One of those women who rarely is seen without make up, she keeps lipstick and powder in her purse and is constantly dusting her nose and applying fresh color to her lips. If she had her choice between a day of hiking and a day at the mall, she’d pick the mall. Though she doesn’t wear fake fingernails, she does have a manicure once every other week. She doesn’t consider herself materialistic and lives by the rule, for everything you bring home you must get rid of something. Her favorite charity is her nieces.
Not one for the outdoors, Katherine is afraid of anything that slithers and creepy crawly things. As for spiders, Jack had better be around to kill them. If she could go anywhere in the world? She’d like to go to Amsterdam. What’s in the back of her refrigerator? A six month old bottle of wine that was just a little too dry. In the bottom of her closet? Running shoes from when she tried in earnest to share Jack’s pension for sweating. Last thing she does before going to bed? Take out her contacts. First thing she does upon getting up in the morning? Brush her teeth. Biggest pet peeve? When Jack leaves the cap off the tooth paste and his socks under the coffee table.
Katherine’s biggest fear is she’ll die alone.