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.
 

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

 

Jackie Felger
I don’t put much thought into picking out jobs for my characters. It seems to just fall into place as I go along in the writing process.

 

J.A. Bennett
I just go with whatever pops in my head. Since I usually write high school students, that’s their job, so it doesn’t require much thought. As for the parents, unless the job is part of the parent’s personality, I go with something basic.

 

Stephanie Faris
They’re all students but there are things in tween/chapter books that you have to consider. Do they have siblings? Pets? Do they live in a house and apartment? I’m constantly reading books where I’ll think, “None of my books ever feature characters living in a big-city apartment. I need to try that!” Mostly you just want to avoid getting stuck in a rut where every book has the same set of circumstances.

 
Tanya Reimer
Jobs fall into two categories; 1) they define the character 2) they contrast the character. So, if I need a job that means he’s going to be in touch with the earth, he should be a farmer. But if he’s a teacher by nature and stuck in the fields, that is going to add to his character even more. As for secondary character, their jobs usually serve a purpose. I need a loan? I luckily have a banker friend handy. I need the parents out of the way? Thank goodness they have to travel a lot!.

 

Trisha Leaver
Actually, I don’t put much thought it to it. I mean, they have to fit the Contemporary World I have set them in, but as for their actual jobs . . . not so much. I spend more time worrying about my MC’s hobbies, summer job, sports interests then I do trying to figure out her parent’s occupations. Because of that, my MC’s parents tend to have less exotic, more traditional occupations.

 

Danielle Bertrand
My characters usually gravitate towards being librarians, students, criminals, has-beens, but most are professionals in badassery.

 

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

4 Responses

  1. My main characters don’t work a whole lot as teens, but many times I’ll think hard about what to use for the parental figures. Many times it’s more about finding a schedule of a certain job that fits.

    Like with one of my WIPs, I needed the mom to have the summer off so the kids stay at the lake with her all summer. But dad works and only joins them on the weekends. So obviously teacher.

    Or another, a foster father. I need his schedule to be erratic and it has to be a job that provides enough money for an upper middle class lifestyle. So he’s an ER doctor.

    There’s usually some reason why I pick a specific job.

  2. In YA it’s easy if the main character has a part-time job, but for parents I think hard about their jobs, their work hours, etc., since I need to know how present they’ll be in their children’s lives.

  3. My characters’ jobs tend to be central to my stories and central to their personalities as well. Peter Stoller is who he is because he’s a spy. Andra Martineau is a K-Pro (the title of the novel IS her job—and for those who are wondering, it’s kind of like being a modern-day fairy godmother). So I don’t know whether I put a lot of thought into the jobs? Since it’s more that the characters come pre-packaged with their jobs.

  4. Isn’t it so much easier to use jobs we know about? I always feel so stupid when my guy is working with rats and someone comes along and points out rats don’t actually do that. lol.

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