Your Character’s Financial Health

In our discussion of character development, I talked about our characters’  fitness and health. you also have to consider that. Are your characters good with their money? Are they wealthy or do they live paycheck to paycheck? are they homeless, or do they own a home. Are they able to keep up with the mortgage payments, if they have one? How about their taxes?

These things may or may not come out in the story, but it is important for you as the writer to know them. for one thing, you can use the character’s worries about money to show their basic character. throwing money around when you don’t have much of it says a lot about a person. that’s all I’m saying here. all you have to do is know what kind of financial circumstances your character has and you can indicate it with ease. If the situation calls for it, you can mention finances in a few short sentences at the beginning of the story and never refer to it again. you can write something like, “Jim wondered where the rent money was going to come from.” or even, “too bad the rent was due before payday.” or something along those lines. Just a mention here and there is all you need, as with everything you grant to your characters, you don’t have to go overboard and mention it all the time. Just once in a while is sufficient.

Another good way to show your characters’ finances is to have them pay the bill at the restaurant or worry about how much it is. Show them at the grocery store, or that they have been to the store. They can either pay without thinking about it, or worry about the items in their shopping basket and whether they have the money for it. For something like that, just do it once in a piece. Finances shouldn’t be the focus of the story, unless you are building up to have your character embezzle funds or face the temptation to embezzle.

People in the real world have money issues. A well rounded character should have money issues as well. It’s fairly easy to show that, but it is also very easy to overdo it. Striking a balance is good. All you need to so is indicate in a sentence or two, or even a paragraph if the work is longer. Show it in passing, but make sure that it doesn’t take over the scene, unless it is a key issue in the story. It’s all you need to do. Remember, all you have to do is allude to money in the body of your work, but you need to know how your character’s financial health is doing. That’s all there is to it.


I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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