Work in Progress–Characters

I’m using my character profile worksheet again. This character plays the lead in a book I’m calling See Willy See for now–because of his initials and middle name. So here he is, Connor William Conroy, brother, son, farmer, hobo, soldier, just trying to get along.

Connor Conroy Profile Worksheet

Basic Statistics
Name: Connor William Conroy
Age: 21
Nationality: U.S. Citizen, Irish, Scottish, English, German, Wyandotte. Shawnee
Socioeconomic Level as a child: upper middle class
Socioeconomic Level as an adult: destitute at the beginning of the story.
Hometown:  Elk Creek, Nebraska
Current Residence: None
Occupation: Hobo
Income: Catch as catch can
Talents/Skills: living off the land; can do most manual tasks; interested in and good at making things grow; good at making friends; good at organizing groups of people to accomplish specific tasks.
Salary: None
Birth order: First Born
Siblings (describe relationship): One, Nora. Very close.
Grandparents (describe relationship): William and Frank Carpenter. Close, informal relationship. Often worked together with dad growing up.
Significant Others (describe relationship): Parents, sister, friends. All at a distance for most of narrative.  We’ll get to that.
Relationship skills: Really good. Parents’ example partnership-in-life, openness-and-helpfulness-to-others telling.

Physical Characteristics:

Height: 6’2”  Tall for his generation.
Weight:  155 pounds.  Very slender
Race: WASP
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Connor has a shock of black hair that’s always falling over his forehead.
Glasses or contact lenses? No
Skin color: Deeply tanned.
Shape of Face:  squarish, broad grin, big teeth
Distinguishing features: One gold filling in front.
How does he/she dress? Informally. Mostly jeans and work shirts.
Mannerisms:  whistles–while he works, walks, does most anything. Sings sometimes–off key. Runs fingers through hair when frustrated. Rakes it back off his face when he’s trying to concentrate, or work on something.
Habits: No smoking or drinking at beginning of novel–learns both in Pacific. Spends as much time as possible outdoors, looking at wildflowers, checking out birds’ nests, waiting quietly for wild critters.  READING. He reads and writes so many letters and takes so many notes about what he sees in the jungle, he’s earned the nickname Professor.
Health:  Robust good health.  Broad shoulders, narrow hips, well muscled.
Hobbies:  Photography, bird watching, reading, writing
Favorite Sayings: Don’t judge until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.
Speech patterns: Occasionally falls into folk slang.
Disabilities: Mechanically inept
Style (Elegant, shabby etc.):  Down-to-earth, not given to keeping up with the Joneses. A little vain about dress–wants to be clean, pressed. Wants to look like he cares what he looks like.
Greatest flaw:  Too willing to take risks, to jump into new situations without thinking about the consequences. Often insubordinate, to do things his way.
Best quality: Ability to empathize with others

Intellectual/Mental/Personality Attributes and Attitudes

Educational Background: Finished high school, unable to attend college due to Depression
Intelligence Level: above average
Any Mental Illnesses?  None
Learning Experiences: As a kid, when he starts working with his dad, he finds he’s mechanically inept. When his dad loses all the savings he had in three banks, he learns even your most commonsense precautions sometimes don’t work. Inability to attend college teaches him to adapt to different expectations.
Character’s short-term goals in life:
  Stay alive and see some country–contribute to ending the war.
Character’s long-term goals in life:  Connor’s goals change as the story progresses, although somewhere in the background is always the assumption that he will eventually settle down and have a family—take care of living things.
How does Character see himself/herself?  As a fun-loving, friendly guy who’s always willing to help out in an emergency. He knows he’s smarter than some of his friends, but doesn’t set a premium on that. He expects to be an asset to the community if the economy ever settles down so he can do something more than just survive.
How does Character believe he/she is perceived by others?  As a fun-loving, friendly guy who’s always willing to help out in an emergency.
How self-confident is the character? Very self-confident without being arrogant.
Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof?  Connor’s a bit of a dreamer, with high hopes that he’ll get to go to college someday and become a plant geneticist. He’s blown away by Luther Burbank’s cross of plums and peaches to get nectarines and he’d like to do something like that. His inability to attend college is a real blow to his emotional universe, but he takes on his father’s attitudes about caring for his own bit of the planet to quell his disappointment.
What would most embarrass this character? 
Being unable to complete a task he’s committed to doing.

Emotional Characteristics

Strengths/Weaknesses:  Physical strength, good health, able to see other’s point of view, intelligence, tolerance for differences of all kinds. Not very assertive, naive, going off half cocked, risk-taking.
Introvert or Extrovert?  Extroverted Introvert. Able to take leadership role, able to easily mix with others, as long as he has plenty of time to himself. Too many people, too much of the time exhausts him.
How does the character deal with anger?  Not easy to roused to anger during first part of novel. Stress of combat gives him hair trigger which he often vents verbally.
With sadness?  Ignores it and it goes away–mostly. After combat scenes, falls into deep depression.
With conflict?  Willing to go with the flow, sometimes to his own detriment.
With change? Embraces it with enthusiasm.  War changes that.
With loss? Philosophically.  Until losses pile up in New Guinea.
What does the character want out of life? A stable home and family life; intellectual stimulation; to make a difference.
What would the character like to change in his/her life?  More money!!
What motivates this character?  New experiences. Taking care of people.
What frightens this character?  Hurting someone else; loss of friends/family.
What makes this character happy? Unspoiled nature, friendship, new ideas
Is the character judgmental of others? No
Is the character generous or stingy?  Generous
Is the character generally polite or rude? Polite.

Spiritual Characteristics

Does the character believe in God? Yes
What are the character’s spiritual beliefs?  Very nature centered
Is religion or spirituality a part of this character’s life? Not a big part.
If so, what role does it play?  For Connor religion/spirituality is a background sense of connection to the cosmos–though he’s not very aware of the cosmos, just his little piece of it. Seeing other parts of the world enlarges that concept for him, but what’s beyond the earth’s atmosphere little concerns him.

How the Character is Involved in the Story

Character’s role in the novel: main character
Scene where character first appears: First scene
Relationships with other characters:

1. Nora Conroy: — Close sibling relationship, teasing but would do anything to make sister’s life work for her, an attitude that’s reciprocated. Sometimes takes her for granted, but defends her in any conflict situation. Respect verging on awe as sister takes on foreign service–helping Jews immigrate.
2. Claire Conroy: — Respectful son; grateful for mother’s understanding of his less-than-commonsense/practical attitude; very protective.
3. Henry Conroy: — A little rebellious; respects father’s climb out of poverty, but wants to be on his own; not aware of how much he depends on dad’s good sense.
4. Three Hoboes: — Just a passing acquaintance, except for Charlie, who treks the mountain states with him for a season. Serves as Charlie’s teacher about surviving in the wilderness with almost nothing; strong camaraderie between two men; amused tolerance for each other.
6. The men of is squad: — Protective, sometimes amused, often frustrated—like a father trying to deal with sons’ misbehavior, often in awe.

How character is different at the end of the novel from when the novel began:  Connor has been on a roller coaster from the get-go, but he remains optimistic throughout most of the set-backs–until he loses his squad at Wakde Sarme. At the end of the novel, he’s just beginning to crawl out of the depression caused by that loss; he’s much less naive–much less trusting of blind luck to get him out of trouble–more realistic about what to expect in his future, but still trying to believe in a home and family.

Additional Notes on This Character: Connor starts out a naive farm kid out to see the world. His experiences in New Guinea turn him inward where he tries to find meaning for all the death and destruction. His friendship with Big Eagle will be critical to his search.

 

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