The Big Reveal

Welcome to The Big Reveal
I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them.

But first, congratulations to Steph Campbell on the
release of her new novel, Beautiful Things Never Last

Do you put a lot of thought into picking the jobs of your main characters?


Theresa Paolo, Agented Author
For the manuscript I’m writing now, everything begins because of the place she works, but I knew that going in. Other than that not really. I just write and whatever job that pops into my head happens. The parents are the same thing or I never really mention it unless it directly affects my characters. Like my 1920’s book the main character was very wealthy so I had to make sure her parent’s job reflected that. But now that I think about all my manuscripts and the parent’s job; lawyer, nurse, all pretty basic.

Lynne Schmidt, Un-Agented Author
I do put a lot of thought into what they do. Even the parents. Some are work from home, but no real title. Some are coffee shop baristas. It’s kind of like Chandler from Friends, you know they have jobs…just not quite sure what they are…

Mindi Scott, Published Author
I write YA, so my main characters don’t always have jobs! But, yes, the details matter. Parents’ job matter a lot because whatever they do for a living can impact the my narrator in many subtle ways. In Freefall, Seth’s mom is a bartender. In Live Through This, Coley’s stepdad is an attorney. In my current manuscript, Kyle’s dad is a dentist. Each of these jobs were chosen after much deliberation.


Steph Campbell, Published Author
I think for some characters,what their hobbies or jobs are just come naturally, but for others, it takes a bit more to figure them out. In A TOAST TO THE GOOD TIMES, we always knew Landry would own a bar. His personality was just perfect for that environment. In GROUNDING QUINN, Quinn’s father needed a 9-5 job that was very no-nonsense. So, he became an accountant.

Christa Desir, Pre-Published Author
I tend to go with jobs I know about. Luckily, I have about 700 jobs since I graduated college so variety isn’t really a problem for me. I do have a tendency to put either a social worker or therapist in every book I write. Go figure.

Dahlia Adler, Agented Author
When it’s not absolutely fundamental to the plot, I prefer to pick what I know – I think authenticity and firsthand knowledge really do shine through in manuscripts. For the rest… well, my main characters are generally teens, so being a student tends to be #1 there!

Jenny Morris, Agented Author
Most of my characters don’t have jobs since they’re in school. But I do spend a lot of time figuring out what the parents do. What a parent does for a living can have a huge impact on the MC. Especially if you factor in the financial aspect of it. And how often they are around.
Do you put a lot of thought into picking the jobs of your characters?

6 Responses

  1. Yes, I usually think about them. A lot of times I’m just trying to match them up with a certain time frame that parent works, like to get them out of the house. So a nurse who has to work in the evening or late night so that opens things up for the teenage to get into trouble then.

    Or to match up with the finacial status. But even then I usually stick to the basics.

    Except my 2 current WIPs. One mom is a thief and the other works in the sex industry.

  2. Congrats! to Steph. And I do put a lot of thought into their jobs. What they do drives who they are. Especially the bad guys as their jobs give them access to do even badder things.

  3. Just like their names, where they live, who is in their family, it comes to me as I write. I usually don’t know much about my characters until they flesh themselves out on the screen. That sounds really crazy, doesn’t it? 🙂

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