There are hundreds of articles and even books written about character development but they are often so wordy and convoluted that they require too much effort for me to absorb. Hence I would like to offer the checklist that I devised for one of my earlier novels. It ended up as a three-page document, so I’ve left out most of the details and kept only the headers.
Name: Ana Te Puea Rawiri Dekker. She’s twelve years old when the story starts. She’s the first child to reveal telepathic ability.
Parents: Hinekino Te Aho Rawiri (Kino), a Maorí biologist, and Margret Dekker, a Dutch physician.
Appearance — Distinguishing Features — Physical Imperfections
Nickname — Characteristic gestures — Skills, Abilities and Talents
Areas of Expertise — Occupation — Short-term goals
Long-term goal — Personality Type — Quirks
Eccentricities — Temperament — Handling anger
Admirable traits — Negative traits — Pet peeves
Things that embarrass her — Most painful experiences
Sense of humor — Fears and Phobias — Hobbies and Interests
Sports — What attracts her in the opposite sex — Turn-offs
Clothing style — Favorite pastime — Character growth
Pet Sayings — Speaking Style — Philosophy of life
Major Problem to overcome — Minor Problems
When writing, one often needs to use special characters for foreign words.
In addition, there are a number of symbols not on the standard keyboard that I find useful. When I lived in Mexico, where I edited a newsletter, I frequently needed to use Spanish words and over the years, I have memorized the ANSI codes for those I use frequently. In the list below, only lower case letters are shown.
My ANSI Characters
Hold down the Alt key while entering the code number. Add 0 in front of the ANSI number.
M-dash — Alt0151 | Pound Sign £ Alt0163 | Euro sign € Alt0128
Trademark symbol ™ Alt0153| Registered symbol ® Alt0174
Copyright symbol © Alt0169 | Degree sign ° Alt0176
Inverted question mark ¿ Alt0191 | Inverted exclamation mark ¡ Alt0161
n tilde ñ Alt0241 | a acute á Alt0225 | e acute é Alt0233 | c cedilla ç Alt0231
Note: The ® symbol can be produced in Word by enclosing the letter R in a pair of round brackets, as can the copyright © and ™ symbols.
For a complete list look here: ANSI Characters The compiler of this chart does not show the Alt0 prefix for producing the characters but the ANSI numbers are provided.
A few Grammar Tips
How to use I or me when discussing more than one person:
- If the two people are the object of the sentence, you should say Jerry and me.
For example, ‘They gave Jerry and me a trip to the Bahamas for our honeymoon.’
- If the two people are the subject of the sentence, you should say Jerry and I.
Jerry and I went to see “Tosca” at the Met last night.’
The quick way to check for correctness is to remove the other person from the sentence and see how it sounds. How does this sound? ‘They called I six times,’ from ‘They called Rickie and I six times.” Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t ‘Ricki and me’ sound better?
The misused possessive apostrophes.
- If a word ends with an ‘s’ because it is a plural, the apostrophe comes after the plural ’s’.
“Don’t forget to pick up the girls’ shoes.” (More than one girl.)
It is incorrect to use this for one person because the name ends in ‘s’. See below.
- If a someone’s name ends with ‘s’, it is not plural, so possessive apostrophe ‘s’ follows it.
“That’s Denis’s book.” (the book belongs to Denis). It’s simple really, just write it the way you say it.
What do you think of writers making up their own grammatical rules and creating ‘new Grammar’?