Creating Characters in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

I thought I knew everything about my characters. I’d put them through rigorous profiling. I had pages of backstory. But then during the editing process, one of my editors asked – ‘how old is this character’? And I realised – I had no idea specifically how old they were now – which seemed like a large oversight!

So I went back to my initial profile form and added in Character’s Age and Birthdate.

Point of the story – the profile list I’ve added below is not the definitive source, it’s a work in progress. There are many others out there, but this is one I’ve put together with the information I personally like to know about my characters, and it’s my usual starting point for all my main characters.

As a side note: a writing friend of mine was looking at this list and said that the things I expected myself to know and understand about my characters, most people didn’t even know about their partners, or even themselves. That really made me think – it also made me fill out my own profiling sheet and force my husband (under great protest) to do the same – with interesting outcomes. So if you’re in the mood for self-discovery or nagging your significant other – give it a go! I actually found filling it out gave me a better understanding of how my characters might approach the questions.

 

Character Profile

*include a picture of your character if you have someone specific in mind

NAME: (first, last, nicknames, alias)

AGE: (and birthdate)

CURRENT PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES: (occupation, marital status, children, current home, health – physical/psychological)

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE:

DRESS STYLE:

TALKING STYLE: (accent, fav words/sayings, other languages, trade-mark gestures)

PERSONALITY (basic nature, list of traits, sense of humour, temper, sees himself/herself as…)
Why is character likeable?

Why is character loveable?

SKILLS/ABILITIES/EXPERTISE:

PROBLEMS/COMPLEXES/FEARS:

EXTRA INSIDE INFO (fav food/drink, fav show/movie/music/celebrities, any pets?, pastimes/hobbies, peeves/loves/hates, guilty pleasures, habits/destructive behaviours?, one thing they wouldn’t tell anyone).

PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE (religion? where are they coming from? what do they want to pass on to their children or others?)

AMBITIONS:

RELEVANT HISTORY/BACKGROUND (family tree, birthplace, major house moves, educational background, work history, relevant medical and psychiatric history, defining moments, major accomplishments, regrets, love life/relationships)

RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER CHARACTERS (how do the other characters in the book feel about him/her? How does he/her feel about the other characters in the book?) 

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Creating Characters in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

  1. Kylie Scott says:

    That’s very interesting your including their philosophy of life and what makes them likeable/loveable. I think it would definitely help to give them depth. I think knowing their fears is especially important so you can exploit each and every one. Aren’t writers mean? Cool list, Nina. 🙂

  2. ninadaleo says:

    🙂 thank you Kylie! xoxo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s