Personality Traits

mar44So, my friend Juli suggested I try this exercise: Write down 20 personality traits for your character. I think it’s an absolutely fantabulous way to get to know your characters better, even if I’m having trouble coming up with twenty.

So far I’ve managed about 15 for one character, Valerie, from my contemporary, romace-ish kind of novel, tentatively titled “Old Dogs”. I knew a lot about her already and some things I haven’t added to her list that I’ve already established in the story, like her suffering from night terrors, evan as an adult. To round out the group, I may add it in just for completion’s sake.  But here they are, of absolutely no interest to anyone but me, but I’ve got to play with this stuff somewhere… 

Valerie’s Major Personality Traits

  1. She’s very meticulous and precise at work, but a mess at home.
  2. She can play the bodhran and she sings well, but she can’t do both at once.
  3. Despite living in Florida her entire life, she is terrified of snakes. They literally make her heart pound. She can’t even watch them on TV.
  4. Valerie hates confrontation and will take a lot of abuse before she speaks up. But when she finally speaks up, look out….
  5. She sings almost constantly, humming under her breath, out loud in the car. She and her siblings played a lot of folk festivals in college to help pay for school. Her family is very musical, but no one pursued it as a career.
  6. Valerie can mix a mean margarita
  7. When Valerie’s divorce was final, she burned every letter her husband had ever written to her and every picture with him in it.
  8. Valerie is a keen amateur photographer, with a preference for nature photography.
  9. She will sometimes develop an overwhelming urge to smoke a cigarette, usually when stressed out. That one cigarette often cures her desire to smoke for a few years.
  10. She has a needle phobia. She can use them in her work with veterinary medicine with no trouble, but will get belligerent or get sick to avoid getting stuck. It comes from having had to endure rabies post exposure treatment as a small child. She has no control over her reaction.
  11. She carries an ugly military green messenger bag everywhere she goes. The flap is covered with pins collected over the years. It contains her wallet, her keys, her iPod, and about a million other things, most of which need to be thrown away.
  12. Her ex-husband’s family is very wealthy and very controlling, especially his mother. She made Valerie’s life miserable while she and Ben were married.
  13. She is fiercely independent. She doesn’t ask for help. That doesn’t mean she won’t accept it, but she won’t ask and she resents if someone takes over what she doing.
  14. Since moving back home, she has become a gardener, reclaiming the flower beds around the house and dabbling in planting vegetables. The flowers are more successful. The only moderate return on her vegetables was in red sweet peppers.
  15. Valerie trained her German Shepherd herself; tricks, obedience, protection, she did it all with him. It was something to do when she was married since her mother-in-law disapproved of her having a job or pursuing a higher college degree. The dog training pissed the old lady off even more, so Valerie ran with it.
  16. She’s proud of her Scots/Irish heritage, but doesn’t go crazy with it. She’s equally proud of the fact that one direct line of her father’s family predates the Revolution.
  17. Valerie loves music but hates crowds. Concerts are a problem.
  18. She is an avid reader and prefers adventure and historical novels to romances.
  19. She hates being embarrassed and hates for other people get embarrassed.
  20. Valerie feels guilty for not having been with her mother when she died. Instead, she was at a social function with her husband he insisted she attend. She didn’t realize her mother was that close to the end and will still have nightmares about missing something of extreme importance over something trivial.

Ugh, that hurt to get out. A lot of this is me, to an extent. I’m trying not to to Mary-Sue this too much. *sigh*



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