Character Development Questions

I’ve never known anyone who was what he or she seemed; or at least, was only what he or she seemed. People carry Worlds within them.

Neil Gaiman

Character Chart

  • Character’s full name: 
  • Reason or meaning of name:
    • What was the meaning that their parents/ guardians/ person who named them had in mind?
    • What meaning did you, the writer, have in mind?
  • Character’s nickname:
  • Reason for nickname:
  • Birth date:
    • Astronomical sign? Astronomical chart? 
  • Character’s Gender identity and pronouns?

Physical appearance

  • Age: 
  • How old does he/she appear: 
  • Weight: 
  • Height: 
  • Body build:
    • Are they muscular? Lean? Thin? Fat? Longer torso? or legs?
  • Shape of face:
    • How big are their facial features?
  • Eye color: 
    • Does this eye color change?
  • Glasses or contacts:
  • Skin tone:
    • Race and ethnicity?
  • Distinguishing marks: 
    • Freckles? Birthmarks? Albinism? 
  • Predominant features: 
    • Scars? Missing eye? 
  • Hair color: 
    • Is it natural or dyed?
  • Type of hair: 
    • Curly? Straight? Wavy? Dry? Damaged? Greasy?
  • Hairstyle: 
    • How is it cut? Do they have a hair routine?
  • Voice: 
    • Do they have an accent? High pitch or low? Do they have any vocal tics or a stutter?
  • Overall attractiveness: 
    • How do they view themselves? How do others view them?
  • Physical disabilities: 
    • Current or permanent? 
  • How do they dress:
    • Favorite Outfit? Least favorite thing to wear? How do they accessorize? Jewelry? Bags? Pins? Jackets?
  • What is their favorite physical feature? Their least favorite?
  • What do they think other people like about their looks? What do people actually like?

Personality

  • Good personality traits:
    • What is something they like about themselves? Something other people like about them?
  • Bad personality traits:
    • What do they not like about themselves? What is something others don’t like about them?
  • Think of Inside out, what emotion is at the wheel? What emotion is frequently ignored or not felt?
  • Sense of humor:
    • Dry? Immature? What makes them laugh? What jokes do they like to tell?
  • Character’s greatest joy in life:
    • What is their favorite thing to do? Their prize possession? 
  • Character’s greatest fear:
    • What keeps them up at night? What are some of their smaller fears? Is there a story behind their fear?
  • What event could potentially ruin/ derail/ or drastically change your character’s life (for the good or bad)? 
  • What environment, person, or thing puts your character at ease?
    • Why?
  • What makes your character uncomfortable?
    • What makes them angry?
    • What makes them sad?
  • What is the most important thing in their life right now?
    • What was important before or what led to this being important now?
  • Do they like living?
    • Are they afraid to die?
    • What do they think comes after death?
    • Religious views? 
    • What do they think of the world?
  • If they could have anything in the world, what would it be? What would they sacrifice for it?
  • What is your character’s weakness? Who or what would they do anything for? 
    • Are they comfortable sharing their weakness?
    • Are they closed off? (to certain people or everyone?)
  • Greatest strength:
    • What made them feel strong? What makes them strong but they don’t realize?
  • Biggest regret:
    • Smaller regrets?
  • What are they most proud of?
    • What makes them proud in general?
  • What makes them embarrassed? 
  • Character’s darkest secret:
  • Does anyone else know?
  • What would they change about themself?

Goals

  • What does your character get out of bed for in the morning?
  • What do they want to accomplish today? Tomorrow?
  • What do they want their life to be like in the future?
  • Do they have a plan for the future?
    • Are they currently working toward it? 
    • What is standing in their way?

Past

  • Where did your character grow up? With who?
  • Do they remember their childhood fondly? 
  • Pets:
  • What is the first thing they can remember?
    • Who do they remember the most?
    • What do they think of a lot now?
  • Who did they look up to? Has that person changed?
  • What did they want to be when they grew up?
  • How much education do they have?
    • How did they feel about their education?
  • Was their family poor or well off?
  • Was their family religious? How did they feel about it?

Present

  • Where does your character live?
    • How do they feel about their living situation?
  • Does your character live with anyone? 
    • Do they like them? How long have they known each other?
  • Do they have pets? How many? How old are they? How attached are they to their pets?
  • Are they working? In school? Where? How do they feel about their job or school?
  • Finances:
  • How do they travel? Do they drive/ own a car?

Family

  • Make a family tree (it doens’t have to be extensive, just the people your character knowns). 
  • Give basic information about the family members and describe your character’s relationship with each of them.
  • Who is most important to your character?
  • Are there any family disputes going on?

Favorites

  • Most and least favorite color?
  • Favorite form of media:
    • Favorite music/ band?
    • Favorite movie/ director?
    • Favorite book/ genre/ author?
    • Theater?
    • Art?
  • Food:
  • Favorite meme?

Habits

  • What are their favorite hobbies?
    • Do they play an instrument?
    • Are they sporty? Do they exercise?
    • Do they like to lay on the couch all day?
    • Do they have a blog?
  • Describe their usual day:
  • What do they do when they can’t do what they normally do? i.e. what do they do on their days off work? What do they do when they’re sick? 
  • Spending habits:
  • Do they smoke, drink, or do drugs?
    • What are their opinions of those things?
    • How often do they do them?
    • Do they shame others for doing them?
  • What is something they are obsessed with doing? What do they hate doing? What are their nasty habits? What are their good habits?
  • What do they feel they are good at doing? What are they actually good at doing?
  • What do they think they suck at? What do they actually suck at? 
    • Is there something they think they are good/ bad at but are actually bad/ good at?
  • Do they have any nervous tics? Do they get antsy easily? 
  • What is their normal posture? How does their posture change with their emotions?
  • Describe their mannerisms and peculiarities:

Traits

(Are they only one of these things or a combination of both?)

  • Optimist or pessimist?
  • Introvert or extrovert?
  • Daredevil or cautious?
  • Logical or emotional?
  • Disorderly and messy or methodical and neat?
  • Prefers working or relaxing?
  • Confident or unsure of himself/herself?
  • Do they like animals or people more?
  • Do they have any mental illness? How are they dealing with it?

Relationships with others

  • How do they think about people?
    • Do they think people are generally good or bad?
  • Is the character emotionally vulnerable or do they put up a wall?
  • Who (in can be an individual or group or both) does your character hate the most?
  • Who do they love the most?
    • Who is their closest friend(s)? 
    • Do they live close by? 
  • What is your character’s sexuality?
    • Do they have a crush? A partner? Several partners? 
    • Are they monogamous or polyamorous? Are they cheating on their partner? How do they feel about their partner(s)?
    • How long have they been together?
    • How long has your character known about their sexuality/ gender? How long have they been out? Or who knows?
  • Who does your character ask for help/ advice? 
  • Who does your character feel responsible for or takes care of?
  • Who makes your character feel shy or uncomfortable?
  • Is there someone your character openly or secretly admires?
  • Who is the most important person in your character’s life before the story starts?
    • After the story starts? 



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