Have you ever read a book and wanted to know more about the people in the book? In my book club, we often have unanswered questions about the characters we’ve read. So, as a writer, I thought it might be fun to share one of the character profiles I used when writing my two historical fiction books, Never Waste Tears and Never Waste Dreams.
The character profiles I develop are usually for my eyes only. They are notes that help me get to know my characters better. However, not all their details are revealed in my books. They are simply an aide to help me know how characters would react to the story as it develops.
The character preview below is everything I know about Carl William Taylor. Those who have read his stories might recognize some of his features.
Carl William Taylor
b. 5-12-1839 m. 3-10-1861 to Hannah Jane Lucas Taylor 22 yrs. old
Father – Anton Taylor
Mother – Viola Taylor - 9 children (6 brothers – 2 sisters)
Brothers – Jacob *(1942) Robert * both killed in war -- Theodor * Philipp * joined the South (never heard from again) -- Evert * returned from war a little before Carl (never talked about war – married Esther) -- Levi * youngest brother stayed on farm w/parents
Sisters -- Cora * Elizabeth (married local farmers who survived the war)
Born and raised in Illinois on the farm
Tall – 6’ 1” light colored brown - starting to bald on top – walks as though he unfolds himself with each step – robin-egg blue eyes – a long but very pleasant face
Carl and Hannah married shortly before the war. Carl was a strong believer that all men and women were created equal. He did not believe that a man should beat his wife or own another man. He was 22 years old when the Civil War started and went willingly to fight for the freedom of all men. He had nightmares after the war and found peace in Kansas when he went to visit the mother of a soldier who died in his arms. He killed the man who killed the soldier, and hates any killing. After the war, he and Hannah stayed in Illinois for two and one-half years. Carl wanted to make a claim for free land in Kansas and while Hannah didn’t want to leave her family, she supported him and left willingly.
Carl – hard working – honest – has a great understanding of animals and nature
He chews on grass when thinking – likes to have a smoke --
Dog – Corky
Horses – Bill & Barney
Cow – Bossy (calved June 1869)
“Maybe that’s for the best – knock on my noggin’ – hiself – yearned for – ever’thing – betwixt – men-folk – ever’body – ’round – gonna be – I didn’t understand it all – my Daddy always had a sayin’ maybe it’s for the best – givin’ it much consideration – the land was thirsty for rain – tinderbox – let’s have a smoke for the day – git for home – I think that’s a fine thing to do -” took it all in
Carl William Taylor (May 8, 1868) filed for a homestead claim in Junction City, KS. Traveled by train from Ellsworth, KS – He chose to NOT use his special compensation for his service years so that he wouldn’t have to pay taxes on the land for several years (# 161 NWT)
Civil War – April 12, 1861, to April 9, 1865 (last shot fired June 22, 1865)
For those of you who have not read Carl’s story in Never Waste Dreams, I will have a Goodreads giveaway starting on Tuesday, June 20, and finishing on Thursday, July 20.