Monday, February 6, 2012

Writing Help - Creating your character!

I'm an unusual writer, in that people don't spring into my head fully formed. I have to actually WORK to make a character become flesh and blood. Something that's really helped me make great people is a "character profile." People aren't just visual, after all. They have lives before the book opens and continue to have lives after the book shuts. This list of questions has really helped me hone in on what makes a character tick. If you're like me, I think it'll help you too!

Answer these questions for each character you need to make rock on the page:

1. Character Name.
2. Where did character grow up?
3. Choose three clubs/sports the character was involved in in high school.
4. What is a quirk (such as spinning hair around a finger when nervous, etc.?)
5. When decorating an apartment, where would your character shop?
6. What role does money play in your character's life (is a 20" b/w television just as good as a 50" HD flat screen?)
7. Inspiration for Character (i.e., character from a movie, fairy tale, story, etc.)
8. Possible physical features like scars, tattoos, etc.
9. How do you see the character (i.e., sterotype, caricature)
10. Possible conflicts in personality (i.e., likes to watch sports, but hates to PLAY them.)
11. Possible need for change.
12. Values and beliefs (church-going, would the character steal if starving, etc.)
13. How beliefs and values clash (would the character steal if sufficient reason? What is that reason?)
14. What do they need in a mate?
15. Who is the worst person for them to fall in love with?
16. What makes the character emotionally dangerous (seeing someone strike a child, etc.?)
17. What is it about the character that makes it impossible for him/her to simply "walk away" from the crisis of the plot?
18. What does the character most admire about their best friend?
19. What drives the character insane about their best friend?
20. How does the plot help the character learn a lesson or grow?
21. What is the error in thinking during the plot (i.e., thought they could trust someone untrustable, so didn't spot the danger, etc.?)
22. Why do they hold this belief?
23. As a result of this belief, what do they need to learn?
24. What is keeping them from learning it?
25. What are the ways the character tries to "cheat" to keep from having to grow?
26. What event in the external plot forces the character to either grow or change?
27. Pinpoint your character's greatest fear.
28. What is your character's greatest secret?
29. What is your character's best childhood memory?
30. What is your character's WORST childhood memory?

Hope these help! Good luck turning the paper person into a living being!


  1. Your posts are always interesting and exciting to read. I really appreciate your level of imagination and showing on post with quality writing. Thanks a ton for sharing.

  2. You're very welcome! Hope they help. :)