Need help building a believable character?
Here’s an extensive questionnaire that I created a few years ago (and finally put up somewhere besides scribbled down in a tattered notebook). I suggest answering every question, even the ones that seem tedious or don’t pertain to your story. For example, even if you never mention your character’s favorite color, you can still add that detail to the way they dress, the choices they make when buying something, etc. Even the smallest detail can add A LOT to your story. And while it may seem silly to answer eye and lip shapes, those are details that not only help you and the reader imagine the character, but it helps you as a writer to use synonymous words throughout to give yourself a clear image and to keep from being repetitive. I highly recommend filling out the nervous tics and subconscious movements (like your character tugs at their ear, or brushes at the back of their neck when talking for example) because it makes your character very human and it’s something I personally think more books/stories need in their characters. I might be missing some things and sorry if it’s too small, but here’s a link for a pdf you can download: [X]
It may seem like a lot to answer but I feel that knowing the answers to these questions really helps build a realistic character and they’re great to use on secondary characters, too. I hope that this helps others in the way that it has helped me. Happy writing!
PS: Friendly reminder that I am not a professional writer. These are just things I have picked up through years of writing, reading, editors, and teachers/classes.
(Special thank you to my friend Katie for helping catch anything I might have missed—especially in the family/morals section. Follow her book blog, amoralteething or her personal blog, thewayward-sonn!)