22 Dec 2015: ..The Quilt Test … Do your characters stand up?

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but among my many hobbies, I’m also a quilter. Well, quilter might not be the correct term, I’m more of a fabric artist.  I make wall hangings and tablecloths mostly.  I’m currently collecting fabrics to make a wall hanging piece about my The Purity of Blood novel series.

So what does this have to do with writing?

Well … Each of my main characters in the books is going to have their own block in the quilt. The fabrics in the blocks will somehow be descriptive of the characters personality, likes, dislikes, major events, etc.  I started to make a list of what fabrics I already had and what I could look for and in doing this I realized some characters were easier to make a list for than others. I kind of got to think that this has something to do with the depth of the characters themselves.  The better written ones had easier lists to write.

For example, let’s take Sara, my protagonist. Her fabric list goes something like this:

  • Apple Fabric (she loves anything with apples in it.)
  • Guns/Weapons fabric (represents her extensive weapons training)
  • Sweet Pea fabric (her pet name from Daniel)
  • Sail Boat Fabric (she loves sailing and goes sail on her honeymoon)
  • DNA helix fabric (Because it’s her DNA that sets her apart from other humans)

Sara was pretty easy, but some other characters not so much.  I was working on this so much of the past weekend that I kind of got to thinking about my current book project.  If I was going to do a quilt block say about my new hero, Travis, what would it include?  Do I have enough depth to his character that I’d be able to come up with a quick list of his traits, likes, dislikes, hobbies? It’s something to think about, a litmus test of sorts to see how well you’ve written a character.  I’m going to call this the “Quilt Test” from now on.

So how do your characters stand up to the Quilt Test?


Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.

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