As a character-driven writer, making sure I know my hero and heroine very well is important to me. I am also a pantser. I go into a new story knowing their names (of course), knowing a bit of their backstory, and their personalities. For example, in Perp Bride, I knew my heroine, Alcie, was a force of nature – a rough-edged woman who would be tough to reckon with and come out the winner. She’s fierce, independent, and very, very loyal. She was also very unapologetic for being herself. Love her or hate her, and she doesn’t care which. Alcie’s hero, Luca, is no less a force to be reckoned with, but he’s quieter about it that she is. He’s a bit more mellow, not hardened around the edges as Alcie, but don’t make the mistake of underestimating him.
Other times, however, I start a story with a situation that I put the characters into, so I need to do a bit more digging to figure out who the hero and heroine are. My bestie, Sherry, pointed me towards a numerology website years and years ago, and I often go there to run character names through, to see what the numerology report says about their personalities. Whether you believe in numerology or not, you can still get excellent insight and ideas about how to full out your characters into fully-realized, living, breathing people. I use What Your Name Means at PaulSadowski.com CLICKITY LINK.
For fun, I’m going to name a character, and run the name through the numerology website linked above, then share the results and pick through it for possible traits I’d like to emphasize in the character. So, I searched Kayla Mariah Hunter. The report is below… (Source)
Your number is: 6
The characteristics of #6 are: Responsibility, protection, nurturing, community, balance, sympathy.
The expression or destiny for #6:
The number 6 Expression provides you a truly outstanding sense of responsibility, love, and balance. The 6 is helpful and ever conscientious, making you quite capable of rectifying and balancing any sort of inharmonious situation. You are a person very much inclined to give help and comfort to those in need. You have a natural penchant for working with the old, the young, the sick, or the underprivileged. Although you may have considerable creative and artistic talents, the chances are that you will devote yourself to an occupation that shows concern for the betterment of the community.
The positive side of the number 6 suggests that you are very loving, friendly, and appreciative of others. You have a depth of understanding that produces much sympathetic, kindness, and generosity. The qualities of the 6 make the finest and most concerned parent and one often deeply involved in domestic activities. Openness and honesty is apparent in your approach to all relationships.
If there is an excess of the number 6 in your makeup, you may exhibit some of the negative traits associated with this number. There may be a tendency for you to be too exacting and demanding of yourself. In this regard, you may at times sacrifice yourself (or your loved ones) for the welfare of others. In some cases, the over zealous 6 has difficulty distinguishing helping from interfering. You may have difficulty expressing your own individuality, because of involvement with responsibilities and causes. Like all with the Expression of the number 6, it’s quite likely that you worry much too much.
What would I take from this for Kayla? Okay. She’s a social worker who works with foster children. Maybe she was herself once a foster child. A foster child with an artistic ability with drawing/painting that was never nurtured, so perhaps she’s taking it on herself to establish some sort of program for foster kids that encourages/teaches/nurtures artistic talents — painting, drawing, playing an instrument, theater…On the negative side (giving her some internal and external conflict), she’s so into what she does, that she doesn’t know where her job ends and she begins. Therefore, with the possible exception of one friend from her fostering days, Kayla has no friends or close people. She has work relationships. And worrying too much is an excellent cross for her to bear – worrying that no foster kids will want to participate in her program, worries she won’t be able to find the appropriate adult teachers/professionals to volunteer time to her program…fear of failure.
Your Soul Urge number is: 3
A Soul Urge number of 3 means:
With the Soul Urge number 3 your desire in life is personal expression, and generally enjoying life to its fullest. You want to participate in an active social life and enjoy a large circle of friends. You want to be in the limelight, expressing your artistic or intellectual talents. Word skills may be your thing; speaking, writing, acting, singing. In a positive sense, the 3 energy is friendly, outgoing and always very social.
You have a decidedly upbeat attitude that is rarely discouraged; a good mental and emotional balance.
The 3 Soul Urge gives intuitive insight, thus, very high creative and inspirational tendencies. The truly outstanding trait shown by the 3 Soul Urge is that of self-expression, regardless of the field of endeavor.
On the negative side, you may at times become too easygoing and too optimistic, tending to scatter forces and accomplish very little. Often, the excessive 3 energy produces non-stop talkers. Everyone has faults, but the 3 soul urge doesn’t appreciate having these pointed out.
Okay, from this, I’d take that Kayla has the ability to express herself clearly in words, both verbal and written. People are going to be drawn to her cause because she’s got the outgoing personality and charm to engage volunteers. When she gets nervous, she talks non-stop.
Your Inner Dream number is: 3
An Inner Dream number of 3 means:
You dream of artistic expression; writing, painting, music. You would seek to more freely express your inner feeling and obtain more enjoyment from life. You also dream of being more popular, likable, and appreciated.
From this, I’d take that Kayla wants everything she didn’t have as a foster child – a close-knit family, a large circle of friends. Popularity, not so much, she just wants to be SEEN and appreciated for being Kayla. And accepted, whether she succeeds or fails with her Big Idea.
And now that I know all that about Kayla, I can match her up with a hero who plays (positively and negatively) to her strengths and weaknesses. I can tell you already, he’s one of the professionals she’d like to attract to her program as a volunteer. I’m thinking he’s a musician. He’d be intrigued by her brightness, drawn to her for her dedication to her job, this program, and the kids, but stymied because he can’t get a handle on who she is without all that about her. I might or might not run the hero’s name through the numerology site, but leaning towards not in this instance, as pulling all that I did about Kayla has given me insight to the sort of hero she needs. Now I need a setting, the secondary characters, and a willing Muse! The plot twists will reveal themselves as I write, as well as more information about the characters – quirks, likes and dislikes, etc.