Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Detailed Character Sketch for Travay Allston

by Elva Cobb Martin @elvacobbmartin

If you read my previous blog, you will know that last week I sent in my requested full manuscript, In a Pirate's Debt, to a publishing house. Today I want to begin sharing how I prepared to write this inspirational historical novel. It finished out at 74,000 words.

In preparation to plot In a Pirate's Debt, I wrote out a detailed character sketch of my heroine and hero. Here is the sketch I completed for my heroine, Travay Allston, age 17.

First, I found a photo I liked. It's a lot easier to fill in characteristics while looking at a photo. I found this on the internet, I think for hair color ads, and I don't actually know the model's name.
Travay Allston, heroine, In a Pirate's Debt

Character Sketch

Physical and Emotional Attributes: 

Golden auburn hair, blue eyes, full lips, flawless ivory complexion, feminine, a smile that lights up a room.
Medium height - five foot seven inches, slender but well endowed (Olivia de Havilland, Maureen O'Hara)
Age: 17
Educated, able horsewoman, can do needlework, knows how to run a large house.
Fiery, proud, independent spirit, quick temper, quick to judge and jump to conclusions but also has determination, courage, and tenacity.


Born In Charles Town on a rice plantation to wealthy parents, Travay takes riches and position for granted and is proud. Governesses and her mother taught her how to be an accomplished, aristocratic young woman. A boy from the Poole's neighboring plantation, Lucas Barrett, the son of indentured parents, was her frequent childhood play mate whom she often got into trouble. He later ran away to sea. When she was 10 her planter father was killed by pirates coming back from a trip to England. When Travay was 12 her mother remarried a deceitful charmer and gambler, Karston Reed. He lost the Charles Town rice plantation in a game and moved Travea and her mother to their sugar plantation in Jamaica. He is cruel, heartless and greedy and Travay's mother dies an early death when Travay is 17. Her stepfather loses the sugar plantation and Travay's hand in marriage to Sir Roger Poole. The story opens with the scene of Travay running away to escape this terrible fate. 


As a result of the bad things that have happened in her life, Travay has lost most of her mother's Anglican faith. She thinks she can go it alone without God (but God is waiting for her to turn to Him). 

Negative Traits: 

Travay is quick to judge and jump to conclusions. She extends little mercy to anyone, especially a confessed pirate who tries to make excuses for his pirating by calling himself a privateer. Through the course of the story, she discovers her own need of mercy and how to extend it lovingly to others.


Travay values a good name, wealth, heritage,compassion and determination.

Goal: to escape a forced marriage and win the love of a good man, find security and regain her lost estates.

Epiphany (a sudden intuitive leap of understanding). 

Travay will come to see her pride and spoiled attitude as wrong and become humbled by her love for Lucas, whom she rediscovers as the pirate Captain Lucas Bloodstone Barrett. During the crisis of his arrest and sentencing to hang, Travay comes to a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. She determines to save Lucas from the hangman's noose, no matter what it costs her, and repay a debt she owes him for his earlier rescues.

Do you have other ideas to add to a character sketch? Next time we will look at my hero's character sketch, Captain Lucas Bloodstone Barrett.

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Elva Cobb Martin