Building a sense of character

This week I am trying to bring my main character, Annabella, into my head so that everything that happens to me becomes raw material. With each event or occurrence in my life, I wonder how she would react. I am building a sense of where I see her in life. This is helping me to notice things in my life that might be useful in my writing. Give it a try yourself: be observant – how can you use your life in your writing?

 In doing this, I hope to answer the following questions:

  • What does Annabella want out of life?
  • What does she want in the short term?
  • Where does the conflict in the story lie?
  • Who or what is stopping her achieving her goals?
  • How does Annabella confront this?
  • How does Annabella overcome this obstacle?


Here’s a piece of writing I have done dealing with a small conflict in Annabella’s life and reflecting themes of ‘being overwhelmed by all things new’ (inspired my mum-read my previous blog post to learn more about this):


At the Losch house I feel like everything I do is wrong.

“Annabella, this will never light.” Mrs Losch declared when I set the fire in the stove this morning. “Set it again!”

set fireReally what she meant was ‘set it like I do’ because she thinks herself superior to a country girl; she thinks I am incapable of anything. I mumbled as much under my breath as I pulled the kindling out of the fireplace and started over again with her standing over my shoulder, inspecting my progress.

“Better, but not yet perfect. This will be your job each morning that you are here. And then you can make the breakfast.”


“She just wants a sleep in, the lazy cow,” Eufrosina laughed when I told her later.

“At least if she stays in bed she won’t be telling me what to do every second.”


The next morning, when Mrs Losch came down the stairs for breakfast, she was not happy.

“What have you done?” she demanded, looking down at the breakfast I had prepared.

Actually, I had enjoyed making this, it reminded me of being at my grandmother’s house. Each morning I would cook hen-fresh eggs, flavoured with fragrant herbs from the garden. And while Mrs Losch didn’t grow the sweet herbs that Gram tended, I thought I had prepared a delicious meal.

“Are you not happy with your eggs, madam?” I asked.

“Mr Losch prefers oatmeal, plain and simple. Are you trying to upset his digestion?”

“But you didn’t tell me…” I began.

“Nonsense wife,” Mr Losch bellowed as he sat at the table, flashing me a big smile, “eggs are a perfectly decent breakfast I’m sure.”

“Those eggs were for the pie I was to bake today for your supper. What will I do now?” Mrs Losch glared at me like I was the village idiot. “Tomorrow, I will show you how to cook the breakfast, hopefully it will not be too difficult for you.”


I don’t think I will ever understand the running of this household; simple tasks that Gram would praise me for seem to stump me. Perhaps I really am nothing more than a country fool, who had been humoured by her loving grandmother to believe she was better at things than is really the case.


“The only thing foolish is believing how that old cow judges all you do! You are a healer of some talent. Keep your focus – you will be the princess’ own personal herbalist in no time!” Eufronsia is always encouraging, and of course she is right, I just needed to stay focused.

Princess Eleanor is charismatic and elusive, and this interests me. I want to get out of the Losch’s claustrophobic house and live in the castle itself. I need to work hard at my craft if I am to prove myself to Eleanor, if I am ever to move into the castle.


Photo credit: fire

Follow me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *