Have any questions? See if I’ve answered them below. If not, you are welcome to email me.
“How can you add anything of value to a character when it’s not yours?”
My three years of therapeutic training help me clarify extra details with you. I’ll give you an example of a character I’ve added to without stepping on my client’s toes.
This character’s name is Derry. His creator, Derilect, approached me for a commission and said he didn’t have much detail for me about his character, but that Derry was “a big ball of anger”.
Now, anger comes in all sorts of levels of intensity and be expressed in many different ways, so that meant I knew what to ask Derilect to tease out what Derry’s particular anger looked like. For instance, anger can be expressed in these levels of increasing intensity:
These can be demonstrated – or not – for a whole host of reasons, so I keep my ears open, and ask appropriate questions, to find out what the correct profile for each level is.
In addition to that, anger that had its origin in different life stages is going to look different. Such as:
Infanthood – Anger from here is a wordless, intolerable, flailing rage, and it’s not easily pacified.
Toddlerhood – Anger from here is not much more tolerable than anger from infancy but has a slightly better of agency, since toddlers have some muscular control which influences their feeling of ability to influence their situation.
Young childhood – Anger coming from here has a more focused energy and direction but is also likely to be callous and cruel.
Older childhood – A person who had problems in this stage but not in the ones before is likely to be far more moderated in their expression of anger, but it’ll still be painful and deeply felt because disruption in this life stage means they feel useless or incapable.
Adolescence – We pretty much revisit all of the above when we have problems as teenagers. Because of this, residual teen anger tends to give a kind of double-layered quality to peoples’ problems.
Young adulthood – If a person had a good childhood it’s unlikely they’ll have severe anger problems as a result of anything that happens in this life stage. It’s not impossible, though. Young adulthood anger can come from being isolated or not allowed to contribute to society.
Middle age – This is where people start to lose their sense of agency, not necessarily because of their own failings but because the next generation is all grown up and ready to make their own mark on the world, and they need the middle-agers’ support. I’m sure you’ve met people who resent being in that situation.
Old age – Anger at the end of one’s life is a terrible thing, mainly because by this time it’s too late to do much about it. Anger here can be expressed as despair for this very reason.
And then there’s the question of whether the anger’s coming from a position of “I’m better than you (therefore you’re scum and I despise you)”, “You’re better than me (and I hate you for it)”, or “I’m no good and neither are you”. And the specifics of how that character switches between those three positions.
That’s why I offer this service. When I interviewed Derilect about Derry, I found out a lot more about Derry that Derilect hadn’t uncovered for himself because he doesn’t have the training I do. For him, finding these things out was a joy and he was very eager to tell me so.
“These sheets are too long. I don’t want to read so much text!”
It just so happens that I also make short write-ups. Want to see some?
Click the link to open a downloadable file.
“Why would I use your service when there are Myers-Briggs tests online I can use instead?”
Online tests can give you insights, however they are automated online forms and not people. What I bring to the table is that if you talk to me (as opposed to using a Myers-Briggs test), I can answer you personally. Unlike a form I’m live and present and can give a personal response and can answer any specific questions you might have, use my intuition in addition to training, and offer after-care.
“My characters are too early in development for this to be useful.”
Many of my clients say they find filling out the questionnaire to be a fantastic way of discovering more about their characters. Here are what a few of my past clients have said:
“After having Hayley recommended to me, I decided to give her service a try, for a bit of fun and to help develop my character a bit more deeply. I ended up learning things about the character even I didn’t know!”
“I am really surprised by how much you get out of that character!”
“I am the one who knows my character best. Why should I commission you when I am the owner of my character?”
You do indeed know your character best, and that’s the secret ingredient in the write-ups I make.
My role is more subtle than straightforward character creation. I don’t add anything to a character; what I do is facilitate you in developing your character in new ways that you may not have thought about.
Think of it in the same way beer is made. A brewer can put together the ingredients, but he cannot personally make beer. It’s the yeast that makes the mixture into beer. It’s only the yeast that can ferment and turn them into beer. The brewer’s role is vital in creating the best conditions for the yeast to work its magic, but all he can do is facilitate, not create.
That’s what I do with my clients. However, sometimes I do other things too, such as compare my potential clients to fungi.
“I already know my character really well. I don’t think you could contribute anything to their development.”
If that’s what you think, you might want to read the answer to the previous question in this FAQ list, my fun guy!
What I offer is structured knowledge about how personalities and relationships work. I’m an advanced trainee psychotherapist specialising in Transactional Analysis, and this gives me lots of ways to define and describe personality traits and behavioural patterns. When we work together on your character, I facilitate you finding out more detail about your character by sharing my knowledge with you.
In short, I have a map of how personalities work, but you are the one holding the compass!
“I can make a sheet like this myself.”
Excellent! There are some wonderful graphic designers and artists around and I’m always up for getting in touch with them. I run a DA group for showcasing reference sheets. Why not join and submit some of your works?
Your graphic design skills are an asset, and you are welcome to just have a No Frills and make up the sheet yourself.
“My characters change often so a sheet would soon be out of date.”
This is one of the reasons I make the No Frills sheets. In addition to being searchable and able to be copy-pasted, they can also be updated. No matter what product you order from me, it will be based on a No Frills as that is the basis for everything I make.
So if you have ordered from me but your write-up is now out of date, feel free to update the write-up. If you no longer have the original write-up, I can always send it to you.
You may also be interested to know that I can make a specific type of No Frills with empty boxes for you to fill in extra information, if desired. Here’s an example:
Click the link to open a downloadable file.
“I’m intrigued but my characters are very personal to me. I wouldn’t want to show your write-up of my character publicly.”
You can always ask for your finished product to not be uploaded. What kind of artist would I be if I wasn’t prepared to listen to my customers’ wishes?
If it helps, as a trainee therapist I have a keen awareness of (and even formal training in) confidentiality. If you don’t want your finished sheet to be made public, that is completely up to you.
“I prefer my commissions to look really visual and amazing. Your commissions are writing-based so I don’t like them.”
I make sheets and videos with extra art whenever I can.
Here are a few examples:
A word about art: I’m not much of an artist myself, so the art you see on my Infographics and videos are in fact by various artists. I always ask the artists’ permission before using their art.
Sometimes more art is available, sometimes less. When less is available (or if you just fancy having some new, custom art!) I can offer an artist find service. Pay What You Want plus a small fee and I’ll get you a good deal on the best art for your character that I can get. Usually this will be bulk-bought from a particular artist.
Ask me about budget ranges for this!
“I’ve got too many characters and can’t decide who to have one for. I can’t afford sheets for them all!”
That’s a hard one for me to help you with – but it would be a shame for you not to have any! Ask me about bulk discounts.
“Designing characters is half the fun! Why outsource it?”
Pretty much every single one of my characters have had a world of fun designing their characters with me. I aim to make the design of your character fun!
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what some of my past customers have had to say about the experience of working on their characters with me:
“It’s interesting to see Tau’s life explained through the eyes of someone well-versed in character nuance!”
“It’s real neat!”
Loren John Presley
“English isn’t my first language so I am afraid it will be difficult for me to describe my character to you.”
I have worked with several customers whose first language is not English. See my testimonials.
“Ik was erg benieuwd naar hoe anderen mijn karakter zouden zien, en toen ik de “The Character Consultancy” zag was ik gelijk geïnteresseerd hoe zoiets werkte.
Hayley was erg geduldig met mij, ondanks dat ik constant lange warrige verhalen verstuurde waarvan ik dacht dat het iets nuttigs was en te maken was met mijn karakter, ik werd verbaasd met hoe ze dat allemaal in een verhaal kon verwerken.
Dit alles heb ik ook mijn eigen karakter beter leren begrijpen zodat ik het beter kan beschrijven in RPs en verhalen.
Dus heel erg bedankt Hayley voor deze mogelijkheid, en misschien meer commissions in de toekomst!”
Khezef, over zijn rollenspelkarakter
“I was really interested how others would see my character, and when I saw “The Character Consultancy” I was really curious about how it worked.
Hayley was very patient with me, even though I kept sending her long confusing stories about literally everything what could have meant something for my character and I was amazed about what kind of story she made from it.
This project we did was also a way to understand my own character so I can work better and more flawless in stories and RPs.
So really thanks Hayley for this opportunity and maybe in the future, more commissions!”
Khezef, about his roleplay character
“Cuando ella me aserco para preguntarme algo yo no esperaba lo que ella me ofresio al prinsipio yo iva a desir que no pero desidi aselo,yo ledi mi informasion de mi personaje I lo q ella creo esperfecto. Yo loque puedo desir es que si quiere una buena historic de tu personaje abla con ella.”
Blackruby107, sobre su caracter personal
“When she asked me if I’m interested of a commission at first I was about to say no but then I decided to go with it all I did was just give her my character information and then I saw what she created and it was a perfect. I will extremely recommend her if you want a good background story for your character.”
Blackruby107, about his hobby character
“I want a sheet but can’t afford one.”
Would you like an instalment plan? Contact me suggesting a rate of payment that works for you and we can work from there.
“My character doesn’t have much of a history. I don’t think there’s enough information for you to analyse.”
I can take a lot out of a surprisingly small amount of information. As an example, you might want to try reading about how I analysed Derry (see the first question on this FAQ).
But even Derry was well-defined compared to Jeffra Cox. This is all Hale-Art was able to tell me about him:
“Born into nobility, Jeffra underwent extensive training for knighthood and was the top of his class by a considerable margin. He could not take the pressure, however, and became the leader of a terrifyingly strong bandit clan. He has the equipment and skills of a top tier knight after decades of continued practice. The next step for him is an assault on the capitol itself for a coup.”
What I mainly picked out of this was that Jeffra pushed himself so hard that he exhausted himself. This means that it’s unlikely he worked hard purely for the sake of being competitive, or for greed (a successful knight could become very rich indeed). We do not exhaust ourselves to the extent he did for our own sake; we do it to appease somebody else.
So we know that Jeffra had somebody he had to please, and that they would not be pleased by a mediocre effort. This could have been a person, but my training and reading the timing of Jeffra’s exhaustion tell me something else: that he was appeasing not a person, but a projection of a person. In Transactional Analysis we call this an ‘introject’ – a working model of somebody who demanded a lot of us once upon a time, which we keep in our heads.
Adults are independent – that’s what defines adulthood. They can walk away from anything that doesn’t benefit them or actively does them harm (theoretically, at least). Jeffra kept on with the appeasement behaviours as an adult. It couldn’t have been a person who was causing it, so it could only have been an introject.
The other main snippet of information I get from Hale-Art’s blurb is that Jeffra trained as a knight. A half-hour of research on traditional knight training made it clear to me that Jeffra would have been on this career path since he was little, and that’s when introjects are usually planted.
And hey presto: I had the basic outline of the drama of Jeffra’s life! Other details slotted in quite easily after that. Details of the different stages of knighthood training, specific features of the stages of growing up, and the implications of a personality type that responds to introjects by striving rather than cowering did the rest.
“How long will they take to make?”
The questionnaire takes around an hour to complete, and I usually send a first draft so that you can tell me if anything needs to be changed. Usually there are questions in the first draft so this may take around half an hour in itself. You are welcome to decline to see a draft, in which case the first draft will be the final product.
“My character is really messy. I’m kind of embarrassed to show it to you.”
That’s okay! Some of my customers have had messy character backstories, and have used their time with me to straighten out time-lines, and ensure that events they wanted to be in the story remained present and made sense.
If you don’t think you can organise them all the way, that’s fine too. Sometimes making progress towards a well-organised character is enough, without going all the way.
“What happens if my character doesn’t have a standard human psyche such as a longer lifespan?”
I can work with non-standard psyches! I’m well enough trained in human psyches that I can confidently depart from that when need be. Ultimately, the workings of non-human minds is a speculative art, and I have already written up speculative analyses for the following characters. Here they are:
“I don’t like reading.”
Would you prefer to listen instead? I do videos!