Checklist for character development.
Created by myself, compiled from questions gleaned from several sources, and some of my own additions.
It should be noted, that not every character will check every one of these things off. It is not REQUIRED to have all this information, but this checklist is, rather, a guideline for helping you think of your character as an entire, three dimentional being with thoughts, feelings, possessions, contradictions and background.
A character is 20% revealed to the reader, 80% writer/author/Mun knowledge. What the Reader sees is just the tip of the iceburg, but without the other 80% the character can’t help but come off feeling shallow. There’s nothing beneath the surface - KNOWING as much bout your character as possible, instrinsicly, in detail, intimately, can do nothing but help build believability and dimension to your character.
Use only the things on this list that you feel are important, but I would like to remind you that the reader learns a lot about a character NOT through exposition (that’s kind of a cheat, and always feels , to me, like a rather clunky way of conveying knowlege), but through their actions, quirks, thoughts, and even through the things they own and carry with them. What kind of food they eat and how they eat it. What they wear. What they carry in their wallets. I encourage you, as writers, to consider these things when creating a character, and encourage you MORE to leave the exposition out and tell us about your character through these other means!
If nothing else, this will give you a LOT to work with when writing with your character. Maybe it’ll spur you to write about the character’s parents. Or the relationship between them and their family. Maybe you’ll find yourself inspired to write something about how they lost everything in a fire - and the importance each remembered lost item held.
There is certainly no rule that says you HAVE to do it this way, but invariably, the most memorable characters are the ones that we as readers can relate with. It’s hard to relate with just words - but people - with beliefs and dreams and fears - that’s something we can get behind.
I certainly hope you find this useful, and since so many have been inclined to reblog and like this, I shall endeavor to add more character creation and writing tips, lists and excercises up on this blog!
I think this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
You don’t need to describe your character down to the finest detail; let your reader do some imagining of their own (they seem to enjoy that!) But there are a few character points that affect how they interact with their world which you can reveal through action.
- Height: Do they need to duck through doorways, or bend to speak to their friends? Do they struggle to reach the top shelf in the supermarket? The way they cope with these things reveal how they feel about their height. Do they compensate by wearing heels or by slouching?
- Weight: Do they easily slip through small spaces and crowds? Or do they avoid sitting on flimsy-looking furniture? Do they suffer backache from pulling their stomach in all day, or do they wear layers to try and look bulkier?
- Eyesight: How well can they see distances or read small print? Do they proudly wear glasses, do they go more subtle with contact lenses, or are they in complete denial?
- Smell: Do they douse themselves in perfume or do people shy away from their sweaty smell? Do they realise what they smell like, or are they oblivious?
- Walk: Does the way they walk make them stand out, or blend in with the crowd? Do they look ahead or walk looking at their feet? How big is their stride, how big are their feet, and how does this affect the way they move around their world?
These are all things that can be used to reveal character, impact plot and affect the setting.
Think about how happy your character is with their physical attributes. Do they hide them because they’ve suffered years of bullying, or are they proud of who they are and have little care for what others think?
I find myself thinking about these things more often. Now I have to assign a smell to all of my characters… I HAVE TOO MANY.
Writers can use these 12 Archetypes to create characters
The 12 Common Archetypes by Carl Golden
The twelve archetypes are divided into ego types, self types, and soul types.
1) The Four Ego Types
1. The Innocent
Motto: Free to be you and me
Core desire: to get to paradise
Goal: to be happy
Greatest fear: to be punished for doing something bad or wrong
Strategy: to do things right
Weakness: boring for all their naive innocence
Talent: faith and optimism
The Innocent is also known as: Utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer.
2. The Orphan/Regular Guy or Gal
Motto: All men and women are created equal
Core Desire: connecting with others
Goal: to belong
Greatest fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd
Strategy: develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch
Weakness: losing one’s own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships
Talent: realism, empathy, lack of pretence
The Regular Person is also known as: The good old boy, everyman, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbour, the silent majority.
3. The Hero
Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Core desire: to prove one’s worth through courageous acts
Goal: expert mastery in a way that improves the world
Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”
Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible
Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight
Talent: competence and courage
The Hero is also known as: The warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player.
4. The Caregiver
Motto: Love your neighbour as yourself
Core desire: to protect and care for others
Goal: to help others
Greatest fear: selfishness and ingratitude
Strategy: doing things for others
Weakness: martyrdom and being exploited
Talent: compassion, generosity
The Caregiver is also known as: The saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter.
2) The Four Soul Types
5. The Explorer
Motto: Don’t fence me in
Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world
Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life
Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness
Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom
Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit
Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul
The explorer is also known as: The seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.
6. The Rebel
Motto: Rules are made to be broken
Core desire: revenge or revolution
Goal: to overturn what isn’t working
Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffectual
Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock
Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, crime
Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom
The Outlaw is also known as: The rebel, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast.
7. The Lover
Motto: You’re the only one
Core desire: intimacy and experience
Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work and surroundings they love
Greatest fear: being alone, a wallflower, unwanted, unloved
Strategy: to become more and more physically and emotionally attractive
Weakness: outward-directed desire to please others at risk of losing own identity
Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment
The Lover is also known as: The partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder.
8. The Creator
Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done
Core desire: to create things of enduring value
Goal: to realize a vision
Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution
Strategy: develop artistic control and skill
Task: to create culture, express own vision
Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions
Talent: creativity and imagination
The Creator is also known as: The artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.
3) The Four Self Types
9. The Jester
Motto: You only live once
Core desire: to live in the moment with full enjoyment
Goal: to have a great time and lighten up the world
Greatest fear: being bored or boring others
Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny
Weakness: frivolity, wasting time
The Jester is also known as: The fool, trickster, joker, practical joker or comedian.
10. The Sage
Motto: The truth will set you free
Core desire: to find the truth.
Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world.
Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.
Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.
Weakness: can study details forever and never act.
Talent: wisdom, intelligence.
The Sage is also known as: The expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative.
11. The Magician
Motto: I make things happen.
Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe
Goal: to make dreams come true
Greatest fear: unintended negative consequences
Strategy: develop a vision and live by it
Weakness: becoming manipulative
Talent: finding win-win solutions
The Magician is also known as: The visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man.
12. The Ruler
Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
Core desire: control
Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community
Strategy: exercise power
Greatest fear: chaos, being overthrown
Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate
Talent: responsibility, leadership
The Ruler is also known as: The boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager or administrator.
Note: There are four cardinal orientations: freedom, social, ego, order. The types have a place on these orientations.
Article via soulcraft.co
Hey guys! Sorry its been so inactive around here. I’m slowly but surely getting finished with my finals.
Anyway, I found this and thought I had to share. The way body language can tell how a person is really feeling is something that I consider very interesting. I think it would be a great way to show, in a subtle way, how a character is really feeing.
Hope its useful! And good luck with finals! Hopefully, this place will be a bit more active once summer kicks in.
- What Will Your Character Do When Disaster Strikes?
by Carolyn Kaufman, PsyD
- Characterization and Conflict: Using Psychological Tests to Improve Your Writing
by Carolyn Kaufman, PsyD
- Gathering Information from Characters: Types of Questions
by JJ Cooper
- Using Body Language in Writing
A weird-as-hell gangster story set in a world where people drive giant mechanical dinosaurs instead of cars.
Her name is Psycho June Howard, aka Armadillo Fists, a woman who replaced both of her hands with living armadillos. She was once the most bloodthirsty fighter in the world of illegal underground boxing. But now she is on the run from a group of psychotic gangsters who believe she’s responsible for the death of their boss. With the help of a stegosaurus driver named Mr. Fast Awesome—who thinks he is God’s gift to women even though he doesn’t have any arms or legs—June must do whatever it takes to escape her pursuers, even if she has to kill each and every one of them in the process.
From the author of: The Haunted Vagina, Apeshit, Crab Town, The Morbidly Obese Ninja, I Knocked up Satan’s Daughter, Fantastic Orgy, Zombies and Shit, The Menstruating Mall, The Baby Jesus Butt Plug and maaaany more…
And now tell yourself that your novel isn’t worth it.
Armadillo fists is my new mantra for writing, editing and sending to publish houses.
Are you an aspiring writer who would love to take some university courses on writing, but don’t have the money to spend on classes?
Well don’t fear. Here is a list of ten universities who are offering free online writing courses to anyone who wants to through a program called the OpenCourseWare Initiative.
Though on their own they won’t give you any official credits, the courses offered are quite in-depth, some taking up to sixteen weeks to complete and are comparable to the classes one would take in a professional writing degree program.
If you go to the link above, you’ll get more detailed links on these writing courses. Listed below are the universities offering the free writing courses:
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (mit.edu)
- Utah State University (usu.edu)
- Open University (open.ac.uk)
- University of Utah (utah.edu)
- University of Massachusetts Boston (umb.edu)
- Purdue University (owl.english.purdue.edu)
- Steven Barnes’ UCLA Writing Course (lifewrite.com)
- News University (newsu.com)
- E-Zine University (ezineuniversity.com)
- Wikiversity (wikiversity.org)
Uninvited by Alanis Morissette is yet another example of me falling in love with a song after reading the lyrics. The song had me at “Must be strangely exciting to watch the stoic squirm”.
The song is also the newest addition in the NaNoWriMo writing set list I’m trying to do, currently including:
Pharaoh’s Chariot – Soulsavers
Lay me low – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Loverman – Metallica (cover)
This corrosion – Sisters of Mercy
Kädet Siipinä – Korpiklaani
And then there was silence – Blind Guardian
Funeral cry – Dark Sanctuary
9 crimes (demo version) - Damien Rice
The bottom of the well – Airbourne
(Yes, I favor the epic and the depressing when writing. TBH, most songs I already had in my last writing set list)
… all your witty writing ideas are a stablished cliché, as shown in tvtropes.org.
All your fetishes, too: I indulge in “bodyguard crush”, “good scars, evil scars”, “May-Secember romance”, “huge guy, tiny girl”, “best served cold” and many many more.
Maybe it was obvious all along: half my favourite films revolve around revenge, kick-ass females and brooding long-haired guys.
Please don’t judge me.
Prophecy is the duct tape of fantasy writing.