So… NaNo grows nearer, and the desperation in the air is almost tangible. (Not mine, but other peoples’ desperation.) ‘Cause you see, I have a handy-dandy character tool.
A list. But not just any list. It’s a long, thorough list of questions for your characters‒ranging from the basics details to questions concerning your character’s beliefs.
I, as a very detailed person, love this list. It’s part of the reason why my stories tick, since you can’t have a great character-driven story unless you know said characters. (Or I don’t think you can. You can complain below in the comments, if you so desire.)
(And random bit of info, for all of the people out there who like to know things: 203 questions are in this list.)
Role in the story:
Date of Birth:
Accent (if any):
What does their voice sound like?
Personality and Quirks
MBTI personality type:
What is their temper like?
What words or phrases do they use a lot?
Left or right handed?
How do they treat others?
What stresses them out?
How do they deal with stress?
What shocks them?
What scares them?
What is their sense of humor like?
What makes them laugh?
Are they spontaneous, or do they always need a plan?
What relaxes them?
Do they have any bad habits?
What are some of your character’s more notable merits and flaws (including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc.)?
How did they develop?
How has this helped or hindered them in the past?
What about them is heroic?
One trait they admire?
What disturbs them?
Do they forget easily?
What three things might they consider themselves good at?
What three things might they consider themselves bad at?
Do they like themselves?
What three words would they think others would use to describe them?
What is the one thing others would remember them for if they died?
Do they care what others think of them?
Do they trust anyone to protect them?
How honest are they about their thoughts and feelings?
Where do they live currently?
Describe their living space.
Why did they choose it, and how did they acquire it?
Who do they live with?
Where have they lived in the past?
What social class do they belong to?
Who is their closest friend, and why?
What do they like to do with this person?
Do they have any rivals?
Who and why?
Describe their morning routine on a typical day.
Who would they turn to in a desperate situation?
What are they allergic to?
Do they have any diseases?
How do they usually dress?
What do they wear to sleep?
Do they wear jewelry?
Is there anything about their appearance they wish they could change?
What do they smell like?
Why (do they wear the scent or does it occur naturally)?
Do they have an accurate mental picture of their appearance (how they see themselves versus how the world sees them)?
Likes and Dislikes
Favorite books or Favorite music artists:
Favorite movies or TV shows:
What are some of their pet peeves?
What sort of gifts do they like?
Most treasured possession?
What is their favorite time of day?
Where do they like to spend their time?
Hot drinks, soft drinks, or alcohol?
Do they have any pets?
Do they want any?
What are some things that they don’t like? (least favourite food/drink, weather/season, etc)
What are some of your character’s hobbies?
What do they do with their time?
Economical factors, ie. job, money, etc.
Where did they learn their abilities?
If they have an income, where does it come from?
Do they have a job?
Do they like it?
How do they feel about their co-workers?
Why do they have their resources?
How long have they had them, and how have they served the character over time? (Ex. Contacts, money, political power, fame, etc.)
What sort of education have they had?
Do they want more?
What college did they go to/do they want to go to?
If applicable, what school are they doing right now?
How are they with technology?
Are they specially qualified in any particular field?
Would they be considered at the top of the field?
Have they ever been publicly acknowledged for anything? (Ex. Nobel Prize)
Is there anything they’ve deliberately sought to improve at?
Do they speak more than one language?
Apples or oranges?
Coke or Pepsi?
Cats or dogs?
What do they have in their pockets at the moment?
How would they spend a typical Saturday night?
What would they do if they had insomnia and had to find some way to amuse themselves?
What is their philosophy of life?
How do they handle intruders?
What would they die for?
Do they have any prominent sensory associations? (Ex. the smell of their mother’s perfume, the sound of ice cracking under their feet as a child, etc.)
Where were they born?
Are they adopted?
Legal guardian’s names:
Legal guardian’s occupations, marital status, and living status:
What is their family history like?
How does it affect them?
How do they feel about their family?
How does their family feel about them?
Describe their earliest memory.
What were they like as a child?
What was their favorite toy?
What did they want to be when they grew up?
Describe their best memory.
Describe their worst memory.
Where did they grow up?
How did they view it as a child, and did that change as they matured?
How do they feel about the place now?
Do they, or have they in the past, had a mentor?
What was their relationship with this person, and how has it changed since then?
Who was their idol growing up?
Have they ever been betrayed?
By who, and how did it affect them?
Who was their first kiss with?
Have they ever been addicted to something harmful? (ex. drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc.)
What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to them?
When in their life have they been the most frightened?
Do they have a criminal record?
If there they could change one thing in their past, what would it be?
What is one thing in their past they’re ashamed of?
One thing they’re proud of?
Describe one fight they’ve had in the past (physical or otherwise).
What are they attracted to in a partner?
If applicable, who is their current partner, and what attracted the character to them?
How did they meet?
How long have they been together?
What kind of a relationship is it?
Do they have any plans for the future?
What would be their perfect date?
Describe one of the character’s past relationships and what was significant about it.
Have they ever hurt someone they loved?
Do they fall in love easily?
Do they fall out of love easily?
What are their dreams?
What do they want to do someday?
Are there places they want to go?
Where and why?
If these don’t apply already, do they want to get married?
Would they ever consider adopting a child?
Why or why not?
Who do they want to meet?
What would the character be like in their old age?
Morals and Beliefs
Are they active in politics or do they not care?
What is one thing they feel strongly about?
Do the ends justify the means in their eyes?
Are they a leader or a follower?
What do they feel responsible for? (Ex. I owe it to the world to do this.)
Do they believe that a person can redeem themselves from mistakes of the past?
How do they feel about death?
Have they been significantly affected by it?
Do they value faith over reason or vice versa?
Do they believe in an afterlife?
Do they have any habits that reflect their beliefs? (Ex. regular prayer, vegetarianism, etc.)
Do they respect the beliefs of others?
Would they be more likely to act for the good of one or the good of many?
Are they manipulative?
Is the character religious?
What are their views, and why or why not?
How would they like to die?
What would they die for?
Do they believe in true love/soul mates?
What are their views on things like homosexuality, premarital sex, and abortion?
What do they believe to be the most evil thing a person could do?
What do they believe makes a successful life?
Do they have any biases or prejudices?
Is there anything that they absolutely refuse to do under any circumstances?
Why do they refuse to do it?
So, my lovelies, that is my list. Use it, forget it, take it to the bank... though I seriously doubt that they would take it. Haha. Good luck! I hope this won't be my last post until NaNo, but who knows. We don't...er, I don't.
Have a wonderful evening, tell you family that you love them, and listen to "King and Lionheart" by Of Monsters and Men 10,000 times. ;)