Meaning of name:
Origin of name:
Socioeconomic level as a child:
Socioeconomic level as an adult:
Most important childhood event that still affects him/her:
Other memories/events that still affects him/her and why/how:
Past failures s/he would be embarrassed to have people know about and why:
Biggest role model:
Biggest disillusions from childhood:
Describe their smile:
Who does s/he take after; mother or father?
Style (Elegant, shabby, etc):
How does s/he dress or what do they typically wear?
Other outfits one might find in their wardrobe:
Are they generally balanced or clumsy?
Describe their walk:
Describe their fighting style:
Do they curse, and if so, to what extent?
Write a piece of dialogue that this character might say (can be between someone else):
Describe their laugh:
Describe their sleep patterns (light/heavy sleeper, no sleep, sleeps too often, etc):
Describe their dwelling/house:
Describe their bedroom:
Describe their daily rituals:
Psychological/Personality Attributes and Attitudes
Character's long-term goals/desires in life:
Character's short-term goals/desires in life:
How self-confident is the character?
How do they see him/herself?
How do they believe s/he is perceived by others?
What is the character most proud of?
What does the character like least about themselves?
How do they express themselves?
Is this character generally dominant or submissive?
Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof?
Most at ease when:
Ill at ease when:
Describe their sense of humor:
If granted one wish, what would it be?
If they could be described with one of the seven virtues, which would it be?
If they could be described with one of the seven sins, which would it be?
Biggest Vulnerability (non physical):
Optimist or Pessimist:
Introvert or extrovert:
Character's darkest/deepest secret:
Room in the house and why:
Songs and Singers/Bands:
Subject in school:
Subject in school:
Where does this character like to hang out?
Where is this character's dream place to live?
What sorts of books are most likely to be found on their shelves?
Mode of transportation:
Most prized possession:
Describe character's sense of morals:
If they could sum up the meaning of life, what would they say?:
What do they consider taboo (something they personally would never do):
Describe character's etiquette:
Describe character's sense of self-control:
Spontaneous or structured?
Instinctual or logical?
How does this character act in public?
How does this character act in privacy?
How does this character act around strangers vs. how they act around friends?
How does this character act around family?
How has this character most changed from youth?
How have they remained the same?
Has this character dealt with the loss of someone they knew?
If so, who?
How has it affected them?
How does this character deal with or react to:
Being insulted (superficially: name calling, etc):
How does this character express?
Love (Consider the "Five Languages of Love"):
Dislike (of a person, thing, or idea):
Approval (of a person, thing, or idea):
How does this character generally express themselves?
What does this character think/feel about?
The opposite sex:
The same sex:
Racism/Races in general:
Their role in society/job/etc:
Drugs and alcohol:
How does the character view life?
How does the character view death?
How does the character view society?
How does the character imagine his/her own death?
What does the character want out of life?
What does this character consider "success" to be?
What would the character like to change in his/her life?
What motivates this character?
What discourages this character?
What makes this character happy?
What makes this character sad?
What makes this character angry?
What humiliates this character?
What most describes this character's personality?
Psychoanalysis (Describe why they act the way they do):
Does it stem from childhood or an event, or chemical?
Relationships with Others (Non-Married)
Loves (non sexual):
Did it last?
Why or why not?
What kind of person would s/he consider to be the perfect partner?
Is the character judgmental of others and how so?
How is s/he perceived by...
What happens to change this perception if at all?
Describe their sense of trust
What type of individuals does s/he like or associate with?
What type of individuals doesn't s/he like or associate with?
How do they treat members of the opposite sex?
How do they treat members of the same sex?
What do family/friends like most about character?
What do family/friends like least about character?
Do they know anyone who's died, and if so who and how were they affected?
What do they consider to be a romantic setting/activity/date?
What did they do on their first date?
How does a normal date go for this character?
How would they like to propose or be proposed to?
Describe his/her sex life:
How often does this character have sex?
How long can he/she go without sex?
How does this character feel emotionally, after sex?
Does this character have self control around individuals of their sexual desire? Describe:
Does sex play an important role in their relationships, if so, how?
Usually on the top or bottom?
Dominant or Submissive?
Describe their first sexual experience:
At what age?
Was it planned/originally intended?
Was it consensual?
How did they feel emotionally, afterwards?
How has this affected the character, if substantially at all?
Have they ever impregnated someone, or been impregnated?
Was it planned?
Was it consensual?
Was it a successful pregnancy (did it live)?
Did they keep, adopt, or abort the child and why?
Did he/she stay with the child/family/partner, and why or why not?
Have they ever had intercourse or a sexual experience with the same sex?
Was it planned/originally intended?
Was it consensual?
How did they feel afterwards?
Possible psychological reasons for their sexual fantasies or behavior:
Family (they were raised with)
Immediate family members and their ages:
Ethnicity and/or species of the mother:
Ethnicity and/or species of the father:
Any important/infamous/famous ancestors, and if so, who?
Describe their ancestral history, if anything of particular note:
Are they still alive?
Did they raise this character?
If not, why not, and/or what happened?
At what age was the character when this happened?
What did they do for a living?
Are they still together?
If not, how, when and why did they separate?
How did each parent treat the character, growing up?
How does each parent treat the character now?
What does each parent think of the character?
What changes their opinion of the character, if at all, and how so?
How did the character treat each of their parents growing up?
How does the character treat each of their parents now?
Caretaker(s) (if someone other than birthparents):
What is their relationship to the character?
Are they still alive?
At what age did the caretakers begin to raise this character?
Did the caretakers know the birth parents and if so, how was their relationship?
Did the character know the birth parents?
How did the father/caretaker1 treat the character?
How did the mother/caretaker2 treat the character?
How did the character treat their father/caretaker1?
How did the character treat their mother/caretaker2?
Siblings (if any):
Are they still alive, if not who died and when?
Describe how each one treats this character:
Describe how this character treats each one of his siblings:
Does this character still keep in contact with their siblings?
How has this character's relationship changed with their siblings since childhood?
How did s/he get along with the family as a whole?
How did s/he get along with the siblings, if any?
Describe their family life/dynamic, growing up:
Describe their family life/dynamic now:
Family (that they have created, if at all)
Is this their first marriage/family? (if not, copy, paste, and answer these questions for the previous marriages/families too):
How, why and when did they divorce/split?
Was it mutual?
If they had children, who kept them?
If it was a death, what happened, and when?
Did they get remarried, and if so to whom?
How did the children, if any, respond to that?
Are they legitimately married?
If not, are the other characters aware of this?
When did they get married?
How did they meet?
How did he propose, or how was she proposed to?
Mistress(es)/Secret Lover(s)/ Lover(s) outside of marriage:
Does the spouse/partner know?
If so how and when did they find out?
How did they react, and what was the end result?
Any illegitimate children with them, and if so who?
Does anyone know?
If so, how and when did they find out?
How did they react and what was the end result?
Children and their ages:
Who are each of their parents (ie: from which marriage, if any other)?
Were any conceived/born out of wedlock, if so, which ones?
How does (each) son/daughter treat of this character?
How does this character treat (each) son/daughter?
How does (each) son/daughter think of this character?
How does this character think of (each) son/daughter?
How does this character's relationship change with their child/children as they grew older?
Does the character believe in a god or goddess?
What are the character's spiritual beliefs?
Is religion or spirituality an important part of this character's life?
If so, what role does it play?
If this character were an animal, what would they be?
If this character were the opposite sex what would they . . .
If this character were to be characterized by an object, what would it be?
What would/does this character do if confronted with someone identical in personality?
What would/does happen if this character became physically handicapped, and how would that change them?
What would/does this character do if spontaneously placed in a whole new and unfamiliar environment/country/planet/etc?
If they don't already, what would this character do/act like if they had a child?
What song best fits this character?
If you could compare this character to an existing character, who would s/he be and why?
If you could choose an actor for this character, who would it be?
If you could choose a voice actor for this character, who would it be?
Who/what was your character inspired by?
How the Character is Involved in the Story
Character's role in the story (main character? hero? Villain? etc):
Scene where character first appears:
Relationships with other characters:
Where, how and when did s/he first interact with other characters:
What was this character's life like before something, if anything, happened to change it all:
How Character is different at the end of the novel from when the novel began:
Additional Notes on This Character:
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If you use this form, please include the following tag:
Adaptations from The Writer's Guide to Character Traits
© Fyuvix. To fill out your own form, please see fyuvix.deviantart.com
Notes on creating effective characters
Motivation: When considering a character, always ask yourself 'why'? Question your character's motive for everything they do, think, or say. Delve into the psychology of your character. Don't just make them 'insane' for no reason, or 'just always happy,' or anything that can't have backup. Every thing has a reason, and this should be relatively obvious to your readers, unless you mean to keep it a secret; but a good, solid character has depth. One creates depth through a deep understanding of their character's past, psychology, and motives. For instance, it doesn't make sense for a female character in a sexist society, to "just suddenly have the will to rebel." No, rebellion comes from a catalyst, an instigator, something has to happen for this character to want to rebel; afterall, if you've built that society to generally accept sexist ideals, what would make this female character different from the others? What happened in her childhood to make her think otherwise? How did her father treat her that may have inspired this desire to break the norm? How about her mother? Was there a role model, tv show, event, etc, that inspired this character to break the mold? People never do anything without reason, be it conscious or subconscious, and as a writer, it is your job to write their history and motivations.
Stick to what you know: It's hard to have a deep understanding for your character, if they have no basis in reality. It doesn't mean you can't have superheroes or fantasy elements, but their traits and personality must still realistic and believable within that realm of reality. Even in an alternate universe, there is a state of consistency. Lack of consistency creates an unbalance and a poor foundation for your character, and they will be loose and shallow to the reader. A reader connects with a character when they can sympathize, or feel an emotion from them. Keep at least that much realistic in anything you do. In order to understand your character, you have to understand, or research them. Do you know enough about the period in which they were born, or their habitat? Do you know anything about their demographic, their race, their age? All of these things you must familiarize yourself with in reality before you attempt to recreate it in your story. It is the same with an artist; an artist can not learn to exaggerate reality before they learn to replicate it, at least to some extent. Therefore, you must truly know your characters inside and out, and practically live them. These above mentioned traits only come from putting yourself in your character's shoes. "If I were him/her, how WOULD I wake up in the morning? What would be my daily rituals? What would I order if I were them, at a restaurant?" Think about your characters all the time, even when you're waiting on a bus, or standing in line, constantly ask yourself "what would my character do in this situation?" This is how you can come up with truly unique character traits, that are both believable AND relatable. Draw from people you know, situations you've been in, or even yourself (but don't be one of those writers who just writes their fantasy self into everything they do).
Clichés, Stereotypes, and Archetypes: Clichés are not the same as archetypes or stereotypes, mind you, and to some extent these things are necessary for a story, however a cliché should never be used as an important story element. That being said, this does not mean that all clichés are bad. You can have a cliché storyline, but a diverse range of characters with depth and personality interesting enough to keep your reader into what you're writing. Cliché characters may run the risk of becoming flat and undeveloped if they are not subject to change. If you do not move beyond it, they will remain stagnant, and thus hinder the potential of your story. Avoid them when you can, and work around them when you have them. What is the difference, you ask? In my personal opinion, archetypes are 'genres' of stories or characters, a very basic and general 'theme.' These are hard to avoid. Archetypes of stories could include: love triangles, the classic Romeo and Juliet fate, jealousy, etc. Archetypes of character may include: the stubborn king, the blinded-by-love youth, the whore or even beast/monster with a heart of gold, the corrupt official, etc. These are things in which you base your story on, but build off of. Stereotypes are only acceptable in moderation. You have to make a character believable. Certain fashions, dialects, and generally accepted truths about a stereotyped character might be necessary to get your point across. This is especially helpful for minor characters. Let's say you have a bartender, who is in only one or two scenes. He needs no real development, as he only acts as a prop for your main characters to interact with. It's okay to go with a stereotype or cliché. If you start going to the extreme opposite, and try to create the 'super unique, most original awesome character ever,' or as I like to call it, the 'anti-stereotype,' you run the risk of 'obviously trying too hard,' which will come off to your reader as amateur. If he's only a minor character, or someone in passing, don't make the bartender "a midget, old woman with a beard, who's lesbian for no reason, has wings, and speaks backwards in French." It doesn't make sense, and is completely unnecessary for a minor character. It is, therefore, unbelievable and leaves the reader questioning "why did they even bother?" Don't try too hard to create something no one has ever seen, because you'll inevitably fail. It doesn't mean that you can't create something original. Originality comes from making the particular character just unique enough from the others to stand out, however many aspects of this character probably have their inspirations from other sources. Don't be afraid of that, but at the same time, don't let your inspirations be all you draw from.
Conclusion: Most of all, keep practicing. Writing is like an art, no one is perfect the first time they start. No one creates masterpieces with their first works. Don't bank all your money on one story, or one character. Continue to create, because you never know which one might be the big hit. Even when you have created something people like, don't stop there. A true artist or writer is never pleased with their work. Continue to aspire to create more, create something new, and most of all, let your love of the hobby inspire you to never stop.