Creating Interesting Characters

The following is a character profile I have created for a protagonist named Fran. I have an idea for a story, but would like to know if you think she is worth developing. I’d value your opinion. (Comments section)

Character Profile: Fran

Meet Francesca, widow of Billy Mercedes, bass guitarist with The Burning, who had died two weeks previously. Fran, as everyone knows her, and Billy, had been married for 23 years; been together through thick and thin, mostly thin. So many of those years had been smudged by the hedonism and the heroin of a stereotypical ‘sex, drugs and rock n’roll’ lifestyle.

Twelve years ago Fran spent time in a rehabilitation centre, where she’d gone through hell, but had confronted and conquered her drinking problem. She’d never been hot on drugs, unlike Billy, who’d been game for anything; anything and everything.

Without make-up Fran bore the evidence of hard-living. Her skin was dry and fragile with more wrinkles on her face than one would expect of a woman of her age. She had, however got seriously into healthy eating and, with her tough personal trainer kicking her butt three times a week, she was looking better than she had done for years. Especially when Marie, her go-to make-up artist and friend, would spend an hour creating her rockstar’s mol face. That had been less and less these days.

By choice, most of the time, Fran didn’t play the rockers’ wife, but would be found in her consulting room at the Chris Mantel Centre, the very rehab centre in which she had seen the light. She’d found, after all, that those, what she had considered to have been wasted days, in fact days when she had been too wasted to remember; had really not been wasted at all; that they had provided the experience and the empathy essential for the counselling role she had undertaken for the past 3 years. Her work with those battling similar demons satisfied her need to feel she was doing something useful with her life at last. She had found uni, in her 50s, a joy and a revelation. Having gone into public relations soon after leaving her Home Counties public school with good A levels, it had not been long before she had been introduced to The Burning and all thoughts of a career had gone careering out of her head.

Her clients at the centre tended to be from the more moneyed sectors of society, tv personalities, models, music industry victims along with a liberal smattering of sons and daughters of the aristocracy. On Fridays, however, Fran volunteered at a substance abuse centre in Kings Cross, where she delivered the same support and empathy to local rough-sleepers and working girls.

We meet Fran soon after the funeral. She is feeling bereft. It had been hell living with Billy, but how was she going to survive without him?


Where do I go with this story?



  1. Mike Elliott

    Where do you go with this story??…Chronologically you go either backwards, or forwards, or maybe both with alternate chapters…her future life feeding off her history. How about: a client at one of her counselling sessions turns out to be psychologically complex, perhaps manipulative: the distinction between counsellor and counselled becomes blurred (been there, done that). Fran finds herself exploring and discussing the dichotomy of a chaotic, maybe abusive, life with her former partner and her utter dependence on him being around. The client/counsellor relationship develops symbiotically, maybe the client is, like Fran, a woman? For Fran, is ‘second time around’ cathartic or catastrophic? Lots to explore there.

    • Lynne

      Thanks Mike. Loads of good ideas to consider here. Having previously said I’m not a fan of flashbacks in fiction, I think this piece really cries out for it.


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