Character Creation Form

In learning more about creating characters for my novel I learned far more about creating the world around them, and the history to them then ever I thought I would, or would need to.

A person is not only a personality, but they are experiences, hopes, joys, passions, and foibles all rolled into one little package. For a writer you must not only create these in yourself, but for several, if not hundreds of other people as well. Those with the fullest detail, I have found, are actually far easier to write about then those who I know nothing about.

With that having been said, I have devised a way to have all of this in one easy place, a list of questions to answer about any character for any setting so that I can have a complete history, personality, and everything else all at my finger tips. How often have you started on the third chapter, or even the third page, and had to go back to the beginning and remind yourself that “gee, her hair was blond, not red.”

This list of questions makes that a lot easier. For convenience I have print ready versions here for page 1 and page 2. For those of you who do not think there is enough room to write what you need to, or want a digital vertion here is a list that you can cut and paste into a word processor, and use it as much as you like. If you need explanations on any of the questions, or advice on answering one, send a comment, I am sure someone will love to answer it.

Remember: The questions are about your character, not about you, so answer appropriately. Keep in mind that these questions are not all necessary for every character, in fact for bit parts you may only want to answer a couple of them. This was designed for the lead character of a novel in mind, and you will have to adjust it as necessary. This was also designed with fantasy and SF stories in mind, so some questions are specifically geared to those genres. Also, some of these have been changed slightly from the originals posted on the pages above, but it all boils down to the same thing.

The Questions

  • Date this form was created:
  • Full name of Character:
  • Reason, meaning or purpose behind the name:
  • Nickname:
  • Reason for nickname:
  • Race:
  • Occupation/class:
  • Social class:
  • Physical Appearance:

    • Age:
    • How old they appear:
    • Eye Color:
    • Glasses or contacts?
    • Hair color length and style:
    • Weight and height:
    • Type of body (build):
    • Skin tone and type (i.e., harry, slimy, scaly, oily, fair, burns easily):
    • Shape of face:
    • Distinguishing marks (dimples, moles, scars, birthmarks, etc.):
    • Predominant feature:
    • Is s/he healthy?
    • If not, why not? Or why are they healthy?
    • Do they look healthy? Why/why not?
  • Favorites:

    • Char's favorite color:
    • Least favorite, why?
    • Music?
    • Least favorite music, why?
    • Food:
    • Literature:
    • Expressions:
    • Expletives (curse):
    • Mode of transport:
    • Hobbies:
    • How do they spend a rainy day?
  • Personality:

    • Are they a daredevil or cautious?
    • Do they act the same alone as when with someone?
    • Habits:
    • Drinks:
    • How much:
    • Greatest Strength:
    • Greatest Weakness:
    • Soft spot:
    • Is their soft spot obvious, why/why not:
    • If not, how do they hide it:
    • Biggest Vulnerability:
  • Background:

    • Hometown:
    • Type of childhood:
    • First Memory:
    • Most important child hood event that still effects him/her:
    • Why?
    • Education:
    • Religion:
    • Finances:
  • Family:

    • Mother:
    • Relationship with her:
    • Father:
    • Relationship with him:
    • Siblings, How many, relationship with each:
    • Children of siblings:
    • Other extended family:
    • Close? Why or why not:
  • Attitude:

    • Most at ease when:
    • Most ill at ease when:
    • Priorities:
    • Philosophies:
    • How they feel about themselves:
    • Past failure they would be embarrassed to admit:
    • Why?
    • If granted one wish what would it be, why?
  • Traits:

    • Optimist or pessimist? Why?
    • Introvert or extrovert? Why?
    • Drives and motives:
    • Talents:
    • Extremely skilled at:
    • Extremely unskilled at:
    • Good characteristics:
    • Character flaws:
    • Mannerisms:
    • Peculiarities:
    • Biggest regret:
    • Minor regrets:
    • Biggest accomplishment:
    • Minor accomplishments:
    • Darkest secret:
    • Does anyone know?
    • How did they find out:
  • Self-perception:

    • One word they would use to describe themselves:
    • One paragraph of how they would describe themselves:
    • What do they consider their best physical characteristic and why:
    • The worst one? Why?
    • Are they realistic assessments?
    • If not, why not?
    • How they think others preserve them:
    • What four things would they most like to change about themselves:
    • Why?
    • If they were changed would they be the same person, why/why not:
    • Would changing of number 1 make them more happy? Why/why not:
  • Interaction with other people:

    • How do they relate to others:
    • How are they perceived by strangers:
    • Friends:
    • Wife/husband/lover:
    • The Hero/Heroin:
    • How do they view the Hero/Heroine:
    • First impression of the char:
    • why?
    • What happens to change this perception:
    • What do people like most about this char:
    • What do they dislike most about them:
  • Goals:

    • Immediate:
    • Long term:
    • How do they plan to accomplish them:
    • How will others be effected by this:
  • Problems/Crisis:

    • How do they react in a crisis:
    • How do they face problems:
    • Kind of problems they usually run into:
    • How they react to new problems:
    • How they react to change:
  • General:

    • Favorite clothing, why:
    • Least favorite, why:
    • Jewelry:
    • Other accessories:
    • Drives:
    • Where do they live:
    • Where do they want to live:
    • Spending habits, why:
    • What do they do too much of, why:
    • Most prized possession, why:
    • People they secretly admire, why:
    • Person they are most influenced by, why:
    • Most important person in their life before story starts, why:
    • How do they spend the week just before the story starts:
Tutorial reproduced with permission from Crissy Gottberg
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