Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Character Rap Sheet Redux

So many of you gave awesome suggestions on how I could improve my character interview process on Monday's post.  Thank you!  If I haven't mentioned it recently, you guys ROCK!

I decided that, since I don't want to be selfish and keep this to myself, that I would report this, updated with everyone's suggestions.  Feel free to use this any time, share with your friends, etc.  Also, if you have more suggestions, please leave a note in the comments, and I will continuously update the post at large.

Note A: Before conducting this interview, one suggestion was to push the character's buttons to the point of no return.  Piss them off and then push for information, and they'll be more likely to be bluntly honest.

Note B: If you're finding it difficult to discover this information, another suggestion was to take an idea and write (perhaps a blog post) about it in your character's own words.  For an example, click here.

Everything You Ever Wanted (and Didn't Want) to Know About Your Characters

Physical Appearance (eye color, hair color, other defining facial information, height, weight, scars, piercings, tattoos, is their second toe longer or shorter than their big toe? clothing style, hair style, makeup...)

General Historical Information (DoB, DoD (if applicable), education, extra-curricular activities, suspensions, broken bones, hospitalizations, first kiss, first extensive sexual experiences, mother's maiden name, heritage, children, parents...)

Personal Information (left/right handed, allergies, contacts/glasses/20-20, exercise routine or not, favorite color, food preferences, handwriting style, artistic tendencies or none? zodiac sign...)

Personal Quirks (nervous gestures/ticks, sweaty hands, what do they do when they lie? phobias?  pet peeves?  addictive behaviors...)

Turn Ons/Turn Offs (favorite smells, repulsive smells,

Other Randomness:
  • What did s/he want to be after growing up?
  • Did s/he have any pets as a child?  Names?
  • Hobbies?  How serious are they?  Past hobbies since abandoned?
  • Favorite iconic figures? (actors, writers, musicians, artists, world politicians, historical figures...)
  • Video game obsessions?
  • City or country or suburbia?
  • Boxers or briefs?
  • Favorite type of music?  Favorite type of fiction or non-fiction? Drama, sitcom, or documentary?
  • Do they drink?  What do they drink?
  • If s/he had a million dollars (or applicable currency)...?
  • Left brained or right brained?
  • Favorite/Worst childhood vacation?
  • Favorite/Worst childhood memory?
  • If s/he could visit anywhere, where would s/he go first?
  • Stance on social issues (whales/environment/water/polar bears/etc.)?
  • Introvert or extrovert?
  • How does s/he react around children?
  • Act or React?
  • Fight or flight?
  • Do they hold grudges or let them go?
  • What songs are important to them and why?
  • How do they see the future?
  • What inspired him/her?
  • How do other people perceive him/her?
  • Cats or dogs?
  • Who do they look up to and why?


Jules said...

What a list! Thank you for sharing. I had not thought of some of these.


Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Michele Emrath said...

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing. I didn't contribute to the list, but I'll certainly benefit from it.

Blogfest entry today on SouthernCityMysteries

LTM said...

this is a SUPER list--great inspiration exercise! Thanks for sharing~ :o)

RaShelle said...

A most excellent list Rosie. Knowing your characters makes writing A LOT easier - most of the time. =D

M.J. Nicholls said...

Excellent list. Usually I don't bother with these details, but recently I've found they help me to get more intimate with my characters. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Awesome list! Thanks for sharing :)

Claudia said...

This is a great post! I also wrote a post about great female characters some days ago. I'm still struggling with some of my characters (my mentor says they need to be fleshed out). BTW, I, too, have two cats: I found one on a busy street in FL when it was only a kitten, the other one found me on a street. My hubby and I brought them with us to Montreal. ;)
Love your blog therefore, I'm your newest fan.


RosieC said...

Thanks, everyone. I'm glad this is useful. Remember to kick in any extra ideas if you have any.


Franklin Beaumont said...

Hello Rosie. That's a very useful list, thanks for sharing it. Though I'm not sure I could even remember all that information about myself, let alone my characters! Nevertheless, it's a good inspirational tool.

Michelle said...

great list! I love the suggestion of pissing them off first... I sat and had a heart to heart with one of my moodier characters last night and got a load of great stuff!!

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