Professional choices—the jobs we take that lead us into careers—are also a valuable part of character development. Have you seen the new TV series FOREVER? My hubby and I are enjoying it as he critiques the acting and I critique the writing. The multi-time-period-plot is intriguing as the main character was born in 1779, yet is a New York City medical examiner in 2014. Thus the career choice that carries the storylines throughout centuries. Another intriguing element of this television series is the similarity to a novel written in 2003 by author Pete Hamill, who is not currently named in the credits that scroll after each episode. Ah…but that is a topic for a different blog.
Everyone is employed in a “career” whether they are earning a paycheck or not. Really? The definition of the word EMPLOYED is: to occupy or devote one’s energies—to keep busy and/or engage in service to others. So, for the sake of this concept, my perspective is that everyone—from the newborn infant who is busily “employed” in growing and learning to the highest paid wage earners on earth—“fits” this premise.
Now…let’s return to the FOREVER TV series. In 1814 Henry (the main character) was employed as a medical doctor on a slave ship. By the 1880s he’s become a “medical doctor/investigator” with Sherlock Holms propensities and joins the investigation into Jack-the-Ripper cases. By WWII (1938-1945) he’s in the British Army tending wounded warriors. Then in 1956 a crisis occurred that turned him away from the medical doctor profession and nudged him into the Medical Examiner position he now holds. What a fascinating timeline to demonstrate the insights of one person’s (one character’s) professional choices in life. The decision-making thought-patterns of THIS CHARACTER could do nothing else but seek positions (so he could earn a living) within the medical profession cadre of careers.
So, to assist you with the development of your characters’ careers, here are several elements to consider—components that reside within the characters that makes it impossible to work (be employed) in any other field than the one you (the author) have selected for them.
- What are their natural skills and abilities—and working style? The character who is a natural portrait artist might prefer a structured indoor environment vs the scenic artist who hikes Pikes Peak or the graphic artist who works alone—at home.
- What is their level of social interaction? Would they do well in a 9-5 office setting or a flexible outdoor construction job where they work independently?
- What is their motive for accepting a job? Do they have family to support and “hope” to work in a career they enjoy? Or are they “pay-it-forward” people who seek employment in service or non-profit organizations?
- Introvert or Extrovert? Does this character have “politician” tendencies…or…are they the behind-the-scenes person who wants to make a difference in the world by working for charities or writing blogs to influence those who are “out front?”
- What are their stressors? Would they be the fireman or military person who stays “cool” in the most stressful of situations? Or do they have psychological issues that cause them to be frightened by everything and everyone?
- IF their chosen profession comes with salary, how important is their paycheck to them? If it does not “pay monthly,” what other benefits do they draw from it?
OH….I’m so blessed to be a writer and a ghostwriter! Some level of each of these elements play a part in my work every day, whether I’m “the character” or not! Plus, it is an amazing feeling to see my clients become published authors and reap multiple benefits!
|ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.|