Defining a character

Man in the shadows
Who was that masked man?

This post was prompted by a blog post I read over on and if you get a chance, you should go read it in full. Essentially, the blogger over at myrthtown defines a process in their latest post on how to really develop a character. Now, their post was specifically around a NEW character, but I thought I’d apply it to a character who has already been introduced, but I feel quite frankly I don’t know well enough. So here goes:

Name: Gregory Charles
Profession: Coroner
What does Gregory Charles want? Money, Respect, Standing in the Community
Why does Gregory Charles want those things?
1. He was an orphan, a grew up with no money and no support.
2. He is very bright, more so than most around him, and wants that to be obvious.
3. He sees people around him who get treated better than him because of the class they are from.
4. He has a new girlfriend (Portia) who is monied, respected and as smart as he.
5. Because he is ambitious and competitive.

Expanding on the following:

1. a As an orphan he had a hard life, one he is seeking to leave behind as quickly as possible.
1. b He does not have any known siblings or relatives, so he is used to being alone
1. c His chosen profession is equally lonely, that of a coroner.

4. a The woman he has chosen to date is also an orphan but had the opposite experience, being loved, sheltered, and now monied.
4. b Despite the gender difference, one could say that Portia is more successful at her profession than Dr. Charles is at his.

Adding some locations from Book 6 to the Google Map

Screen cap modification of a Google Map
Portia’s London

I added two more locations to Portia’s London – that of WhiteChapel, where Portia’s newest clients are from and ply their trade, and of Mecklenburgh Park where they meet.
There is a lot of history to the area, and after Portia’s time, quite a few famous authors and literary types called Mecklenburgh home. Read more about it at Wikipedia:

UPDATE: The WordPress Daily Challenge for Jan 7, 2013 was called ‘Map it Out‘ so I totally nailed that one friends!

Historical accuracy

Philippa Gregory
Philippa Gregory

Historical fiction seems to be about a careful weaving of facts that can be verified and the stories you tell around them. This is most evident in Philippa Gregory‘s books about the royals in Britain, a series of books I think I own entirely in hardcover (demonstrating my respect for them).

In an interview posted on AbeBooks, she says ” In historical fiction, you have to imagine conversations that may have happened, based on the historical facts.”

I wonder if that also extends to deaths of historical figures where the cause of death goes undocumented (as far as I can tell through my research)?

Keeping track of it all

PortiaRereading an earlier draft of Book 1 I just realized that I contradicted myself in Book 2, so how about we use this space to keep track of some basic data on Portia Adams, eh?

FULL NAME: Portia Constance Adams, AKA P.C. Adams, Consulting Detective

PARENTS: Charles Eagle (deceased), Marie Adams (deceased)

AGE: in 1929 she is 19-years-old, therefore born in July 1910

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Blue eyes (from her grandfather and mother), tall, dark hair, slim build, right-handed. As of the explosion at the beginning of The Detective and the Spy, Portia has about 90% of her hearing back in her right ear, and only about 60% in her left.

LOCATION: Previously, San Francisco and then Toronto, now, 221B Baker St. London, in the Marylebone district of the City of Westminster in London

EDUCATION: Basic schooling in Toronto, along with private tutors, now in King’s College studying Law (started in 1930)

PREFERENCES: Doesn’t like the color pink, adores books and reading, is messy (in terms of living habits), doesn’t like red wine, likes champagne, doesn’t like pea soup, can’t really cook.

SOCIALLY: Has no close friends other than Brian Dawes, and her guardian Mrs. Jones. A new friend has developed in Annie Coleson as of CaseBook 4, and she now has a Bloodhound named Nerissa. She had a brief almost-affair with a spy named Ian Lancaster while on the run from MI6.