This is something I read somewhere. If you’re hung up on some plot detail, or not sure what one of your characters would do, have them describe themselves.
What they say may not be the way you, or the rest of the world sees them, but it gives you insight into how their mind works.
This is a character I’m building for a short story.
I’m a thief, a burglar to be precise. I do what I do, because it’s what I do. The shadows, open windows, and cheap locks are my friends.
I’ve never held an honest job in my life. I don’t have a bank account. My work is cash and carry, no credit, no payment plans, just cash for what I carry. I do have a social security number, but only because the hospital insisted.
As far as family goes, mommy dearest was some drugged out working girl, and daddy dearest was some guy who had an extra c-note in his pocket. And when my dear sweet mamma bailed on both me, and the hospital bill, the hospital was only worried about the bill.
Growing up, I bounced from foster home to foster home, then at a very young age, I ran away. I was what they call a “troubled youth,” and honestly, I’m not certain anyone ever looked for me.
As far as appearance goes, I’m so “average,” unless I make eye contact, people don’t notice when I walk by.
But before you feel sorry for me, life provided a more practical education than any MBA program in the country.
I speak three languages and can puzzle out a couple more.
I’ve never owned a calculator because the math I need, I do in my head. –When you’re figuring your take, you learn about percentages in a hurry.
When it comes to business, I know what my cut should be, and I know what my business associates ROI should be. –It helps if you know how badly they’re trying to screw you.
And finally, because I grew up on the streets, I can survive pretty much anywhere. –Like a cockroach.
And no, I don’t dress in black, they only do that in the movies. Out of habit, and because of my trade, I tend to dress to suit the neighborhood I’m working, usually in muted colors.
Because I don’t have any close friends, I don’t stay in one place very long, and because I’m mostly out after dark, the word on the street is that I might be an assassin.
You know how gossip works, the more I deny it, the more folks believe it. –The truth be told, I’ve never killed anyone, I’ve never fired a gun, and the only time I have a knife in my hand is when I’m cooking. But, if people want to believe gossip, who am I to discourage them? It gives me street cred and keeps the real bad guys polite.