Need Help With Character Creation?
Characters are the hardest part of writing. Getting them just right is difficult, and trying to discover more about them can be the same. However, I’ve found a few ways that could help you make them realistic and in depth.
Please note, there are a few different ways. Meaning, just because I numbered them, those aren’t the steps you have to follow. That would be a lot of work-but it’s not hard once you get one of them finished.
1. Character Interviews
I’ve found that character interviews are very useful in this process. By doing these, you’ll find out more about your characters in a way that feels natural and easy. Many interviews don’t take a lot of work and you will be able to dig deep in ways you would of never thought of. Here’s an example:
- How old are you?
- Where were you born?
- Who do you look like? Your mother, father, or someone else?
- Do you have any brothers or sisters?
- Are you married or single?
- Do you have someone you care about?
- Did you or do you know your grandparents?
- Is anyone in your family famous?
- Are your parents still living?
- Are you adopted?
- What do you like to drink?
- Are you a morning person?
- What are your hobbies or interests?
- What do you do for a living?
- What is your education level?
- What’s your favorite food (or drink)?
- Do you travel much?
- What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
- Do you like to read?
- Where are you going?
Which Describes You Best?
- Nervous or calm
- Teacher or student
- Leader or follower
- Brave or fearful
- Religious or superstitious
- Humble or proud
- Tall or short?
- Long hair or short?
- Honest, stretch the truth when necessary, or all out liar
- Introvert or extrovert
Some interviews will take longer than others, but they’re all here to help you develop your character. If you’d like you could answer some questions on one interview, some on another. Or even make up your own questions that your character would respond to. (If you need help making an interview, click here!) Once you get the interview all done and over with, you could try to form each section into a paragraph and there you go, you’ve written a bio! A tip when doing this, create each question into at least a sentence, and always vary them. Describe the more important ones in three or four and connect them with the next question with information that wasn’t included in the interview.
Here are a few more interviews, interviews I find are more helpful then the one above. (I just tried to find the shortest one for above) I’d suggest using one of these:
- Interview 1
- Interview 2
- Interview 3
- Interview 4
- Interview 5
- Interview 6
- Interview 7
- Interview 8
- Interview 9
- Interview 10
- Interview 11
- Interview 12
2. Bullet Points
This is the way that I always write my characters and I find it to be incredibly helpful. You start off with three (or a few more) bullet points and write a simple fact on each. You’ll eventually be expanding these, but I think it’s the best to start with a few small facts at first. I usually include a fact about childhood, present life and what they hope to become. For example:
- As a young child, Rose was always the first one at school. She absolutely adored school and always made her parents drive her an hour early so she was the first in line.
- Rose works at the local bar, Red, as a bartender. It wasn’t her ideal job, but she’d have to live with it.
- She’s hoping that she’ll eventually get enough money to move out of her crappy apartment and actually start her life. Being a bartender sucked and she wanted to be so much more than that.
As you can see, these bullet points don’t really inter-connect with each other, but that doesn’t matter. We’re getting somewhere and that’s a good thing. Next up, I usually add more to each bullet point, trying to get more information about their childhood, job and what they wish to be. This is where we begin to see a character form. As you continue on, adding more information on the three bullet points, you should begin to add more bullet points. From starting those three bullet points, I’m always bombarded with more information about my character and end up with about 20 one-paragraph bullet points, but you don’t have to write that much. It’s honestly all up to you, but I’d suggest writing more than 8.
Now that you have your bullet points all finished up, you should be able to form them into paragraphs. This should be an easy task since you already have the character fully written, all you really need to do is cut down and make sure they all flow together.
3. Just Write!
If you don’t feel like writing interviews or bullet points, you can always just write. If you need inspiration, check out the ‘openf’ or ‘openm’ tag on tumblr. It might be helpful to check out what others have done. Another place to check out is my list of personality traits or even a few of your favorite blogs, music, etc.
Your biographies are mainly for the purpose of developing complex, three-dimensional characters. A bio is in no means restricted to the following, but should include a majority of what is listed.
- Physiological —height, weigth, age, sex, body colors (eye, hair, skin), age, sex, race, health, gear, clothing style. Pretty or ugly, short or tall, fat or skinny, etc. Identifying features.
- Sociological —social class, where they grew up, type of school they attended, groups they were a part of, how they interact with people, childhood, parents’ attitudes. Lots of friends or few friends, introverted or extroverted, assertive or passive. Past experiences that have affected them. Their heroes. Write their resume.
- Psychological (The true make-up of a character and each point affects strongly how your character interacts)—Fears. Guilts. Wants and Goals. Aptitudes. Special abilities. Talents. Habits. Irritability. (possibly) Mental illnesses. How they view themselves. Favorite phrases and words. Reasoning and Beliefs.