Ideas for generating characters…
I wish I had something that would come up with random character backgrounds, like Central Casting. (Friends- If you have borrowed my copy of Central Casting, please let me know. I think I loaned it to someone in my Altaia game group, but I’m not sure.) Central Casting has a lot of detail, and creates a pretty complete background, but it has drawbacks. 1. it takes a lot of time to generate one character, 2. it is appropriate for medieval/fantasy only, and 3. I have currently mislaid my copy so I can’t use it anyway.
There are a couple online sites that generate NPC’s, at least one is here.
Here is a worksheet, which was part of an article found here. This is not a source of ideas, but guides you through constructing a character from your own ideas.
Character Profile Worksheet
Socioeconomic Level as a child:
Socioeconomic Level as an adult:
Siblings (describe relationship):
Spouse (describe relationship):
Children (describe relationship):
Grandparents (describe relationship):
Grandchildren (describe relationship):
Significant Others (describe relationship):
Glasses or contact lenses?
Shape of Face:
How does he/she dress?
Habits: (smoking, drinking etc.)
Style (Elegant, shabby etc.):
Intellectual/Mental/Personality Attributes and Attitudes
Any Mental Illnesses?
Character’s short-term goals in life:
Character’s long-term goals in life:
How does Character see himself/herself?
How does Character believe he/she is perceived by others?
How self-confident is the character?
Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof?
What would most embarass this character?
Introvert or Extrovert?
How does the character deal with anger?
What does the character want out of life?
What would the character like to change in his/her life?
What motivates this character?
What frightens this character?
What makes this character happy?
Is the character judgmental of others?
Is the character generous or stingy?
Is the character generally polite or rude?
Does the character believe in God?
What are the character’s spiritual beliefs?
Is religion or spirituality a part of this character’s life?
If so, what role does it play?
How the Character is Involved in the Story
Character’s role in the novel (main character? hero? heroine? Romantic interest? etc.):
Scene where character first appears:
Relationships with other characters:
1. Character’s Name: — (Describe relationship with this character and changes to relationship over the course of the novel).
2. Character’s Name: — (Describe relationship with this character and changes to relationship over the course of the novel).
3. Character’s Name: — (Describe relationship with this character and changes to relationship over the course of the novel).
4. Character’s Name: — (Describe relationship with this character and changes to relationship over the course of the novel).
How character is different at the end of the novel from when the novel began:
Additional Notes on This Character:
Here is another one that looks to be much more complete, found here.
Fiction Writer’s Character Chart
Date this chart was completed:
Character’s Full Name:
Reason or meaning of name:
Nickname: Reason for nickname:
Age: How old does s/he appear?
Eye Color: Glasses or contacts:
Type of body/build:
Skin tone: Skin type:
Shape of face: Distinguishing Marks:
Is s/he healthy?
If not, why not:
Character’s favorite color:
Character’s least favorite color:
Least favorite Music:
Mode of transportation:
Daredevil or cautious?
Same when alone?HABITS:
When and how much?
When and how much?
How does character spend a rainy day?
Type of childhood:
Most important childhood event that still affects him/her:
Relationship with her:
Relationship with him:
How many? Birth order:
Relationship with each:
Children of siblings:
Close? Why or why not?
Most at ease when:
Ill at ease when:
How s/he feels about self:
Past failure s/he would be embarrassed to have people know about:
If granted one wish, what would it be?
Greatest source of strength in character’s personality (whether s/he sees it as
such or not):
Greatest source of weakness in character’s personality (whether s/he sees it as
such or not:
Character’s soft spot:
Is this soft spot obvious to others?
If not, how does character hide it?
Optimist or pessimist: Why?
Introvert or extrovert: Why?
Drives and motivations:
Extremely skilled at:
Extremely unskilled at:
Character’s darkest secret:
Does anyone else know?
If yes, did character tell them?
If no, how did they find out?
One word CHARACTER would use to describe self:
One paragraph description of how CHARACTER would describe self:
What does CHARACTER consider best physical characteristic?
What does CHARACTER consider worst physical characteristic?
Are these realistic assessments?
If not, why not?
How CHARACTER thinks others perceive him/her:
What four things would CHARACTER most like to change about self? (#1 most
important, #2 second most important, etc.)
If change #1 was made, would character be as happy as s/he thinks?
If not, why not?
INTERRELATION WITH OTHERS:
How does character relate to others?
How is s/he perceived by…
How does character view hero/heroine?
First impression: Why?
What happens to change this perception?
What do family/friends like most about character?
What do family/friends like least about character?
Long range goals:
How does character plan to accomplish these goals?
How will other characters be affected?
How character reacts in a crisis:
How character faces problems:
Kinds of problems character usually runs into:
How character reacts to NEW problems:
How character reacts to change:
Favorite clothing: Why?
Least favorite clothing: Why?
Where does character live?
Where does character want to live?
Spending habits (frugal, spendthrift, etc): Why?
What does s/he do too much of?
Too little of?
Most prized possession: Why?
Person character secretly admires:
Person character was most influenced by:
Most important person in character’s life before story starts:
How does character spend the week before the story starts?
(c) copyright 2001 Rebecca Sinclair & eclectics.com ~ Permission granted to copy the Fiction Writers Character Chart INTACT, complete with this notice and the URL where it was found: http://www.eclectics.com/articles/character.html — an offshoot of Eclectics (http://www.eclectics.com) and The Eclectic Writer (http://www.eclectics.com/writing/writing.html). Updates of the Fiction Writers Character Chart are posted on an unannounced & unscheduled basis.
OK that is all for now