Character Development

As I write the next Mickey Malone Mystery, I am also studying under the master, James Patterson. He is part wise uncle, mentor and writing coach and what I am learning is taking my writing in places that I never imagined.

character development


This week our assignment in Patterson’s Master Class was to list 20 traits for a character. Then we had to edit the list down to just three traits.

The character of Little Tommy is a barkeep in the next Mickey Malone Mystery. Do the three traits I chose make you wonder about Tommy’s role in the plot?



Little Tommy

  • taciturn
  • loyal
  • watched his father kill the enemy of his boss with his bare hands

The 17 traits which did not make the cut, so to speak

  • reserved
  • insecure because of his small stature
  • boxer’s hands in a small frame
  • dock worker
  • uneducated
  • slow to trust
  • abandoned/orphaned as a young boy when his Dad went to prison
  • eager to please
  • pleasant and will greet locals he has known forever
  • dislikes tourists who mess up the neighborhood
  • never married nor had a girlfriend that anyone can remember
  • observant in a discreet way. Can see all without being seen.
  • very strong from a young age because of hard labor on the docks
  • Chivalrous to ladies
  • Swings a pocket watch when he’s in thought or nervous or standing still. It’s his tie to the past as it was his Dad’s
  • Private
  • Naïve