Character Development: Conceiving Jordan Jakes

by Daco S. Auffenorde, author of The Libra Affair

The Libra AffairDeveloping a character in a novel is much like giving birth. Sometimes characters grow as the plot of a story unfolds and sometimes characters spring to life before a single scene of a story is ever written. Like giving birth it first requires a seed of inspiration.

Fictional characters must be believable with their flaws and bad habits, troubles and worry, heartache and loss. But a character can’t be made up of all hard luck. They’ve also got to have a fun side. That means they’ve got to be likeable, fun, caring, giving, and full of passion. Much like raising a child, our characters must also face emotional conflicts and obstacles that allow them to grow. This makes the story rewarding and the reader finds it easy to relate to the heroine. The heroine of The Libra Affair is Jordan Jakes.

Who is Jordan Jakes? Jordan Jakes is a spy. But that is just her job and it does not define the character and what she feels inside. While physical characteristics allow us to visualize the heroine, who is tall with blue eyes and long, dark auburn hair. Those attributes alone do not reveal the full character.

To relate to Jordan, we have to identify with her on an emotional level. We have to know that she has suffered the loss of her parents as a young teenage girl; and as a result, she now has trust issues. We have to know that she has found the man of her dreams, but won’t allow herself to fall in love because she’s afraid she’ll lose him just like she did her parents. She finds security in life by working as a covert operative for the CIA. Her job not only let’s her save the world, it also allows her to hide behind the badge. She sets her personal life aside. Jordan must face her demons if she wants to find true happiness and love.

Through dialog and action, the reader develops a relationship with the character. By the end of the story, it is the hope that the reader will have fallen in love Jordan. By the end of the read, an author hopes that the characters will seem like old friends and will miss them when they close the book. This is what makes sequels so successful.

There were many influences that inspired me to write about a strong secret agent heroine. I’ve always been fascinated with spy movies and thrillers: James Bond, Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity, Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible, the Matrix movies, and yeah, Angelina Jolie in Salt, my idol. The literary market is heavily dominated with tough guys, I thought it was time to make room for a kick-butt female spy. I named my heroine Jordan Jakes because the name rolls off the tongue and though the name is quirky, it lets the reader know she is a normal person. I feel like Jordan Jakes is my own child and I nurture her as I would my own.

How would you conceive your heroine and what would she be like?

Author Bio:
Daco was born at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland and raised in Wernher von Braun’s Rocket City of Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a B.A. and M.A.S. from The University of Alabama in Huntsville and a J.D. from Samford’s Cumberland School of Law. When not practicing law or encouraging her children to become scientists, she spends her time writing novels.

Daco’s debut novel releasing in eBook on April 8th, 2013, print to come later, is a romantic suspense entitled, THE LIBRA AFFAIR.

Currently reading: The Affair by Lee Child
On the shelf next: Angelology by Danielle Trussoni, The Anatomist’s Wife by Anna Lee Huber; Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman, Sweet Little Lies by J. T. Ellison

Twitter: @AuthorDaco
Goodreads: Daco
Facebook: Daco author

7 thoughts on “Character Development: Conceiving Jordan Jakes

  1. Christine S. Feldman

    I like a heroine who is flawed but also worth rooting for. Have you ever read Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat book? It’s a screenwriting book, but a lot of it could pertain to any work of fiction, too. In it, he says within the first five minutes of a film, we have to be given a reason to root for the hero/heroine: a “save the cat” kind of moment in which he or she demonstrates that they have a spark of something admirable or likable by doing or saying something that wins us over, like saving a cat stuck in a tree or something to that effect (or something much more subtle). I think it’s good advice!

  2. Daco

    Thanks for your comments Christine. I am going to go out and buy Black Snyder’s Save the Cat book right away. I am always thrilled to have fed back and good ideas from other authors. I hope one day our paths will cross. The cover of Coming Home is very compelling and I like your webpage as well. I wish you much success. Daco

  3. Daco

    Hi Laila! I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I’m all for strong heroines, that’s why I enjoyed putting together Jordan’s character. I wanted to create a girl that was both sexy and tough, but also human. I hoped I accomplish that from page one where Jordan’s dying inside because she has to break up with the man she’s in love with.

    Cheers to the heroine!!

  4. Betty

    Spy novels are one of my favorite genres, and a woman spy makes it even better! I, too, love Jason Bourne and count The Bourne Identity as my favorite Ludlum novel. Nice post, Daco.