There are numerous ways to create a believable, unique character. One is to fill out a character chart. By the time you have answered all of the questions below, you will know more about the key players in your novel than you know about your friends. This chart should also help trigger some plot points.
Name of your character (first, last, and middle):
Meaning of name. Reason parents named character. Nickname? As a child or adult? How do they feel about that nickname and how did they acquire it?
Age: Height: Weight: Race/ethnicity:
Hair color: Eye color: Skin tone:
Physical illnesses or afflictions:
Any scars or birthmarks? How did he/she get the scar?
Way of dressing/style/favorite outfit:
How does he/she feel about their face and body?
Speaking style (talkative, taciturn, soft, loud, formal, etc.):
Where were they born? In what city? Specific details, if important.
Where do they live now? Why?
Describe their living space (neat, cluttered, sparse, etc.)
Education: Level of school finished. How did they fit in at school? Favorite teacher. Favorite memory. Most embarrassing moment. Friends. Enemies.
Occupation(s): How does he/she feel about job? Have he/she lived up to parents’ expectations?
Income: earned? Inherited?
What is character’s skills/abilities/talents/expertise?
Marital Status: Married? How long? Happily? Living with someone? Who? Single? Children? Status of marriage. Spell out relationships.
If children, spell out names, ages, etc.
Parents: Write out a paragraph about relationship with parents.
Siblings: How many, relationship with each.
List any other important relative and influence on character such as grandparents, aunt, uncle.
List childhood traumas, moments that shaped character: arrests, rejections, failures.
Describe greatest fault: anger, unwillingness to confront, etc.
Describe greatest strength: ability to keep a secret, loyal, trustworthy, etc.
What does he/she do for entertainment?
What kind of food/drink does he/she like?
Does he/she have any pets? As a child?
Any quirks? Admirable traits? Negative traits? Bad habits or vices?
How about prejudices or pet peeves?
What embarrasses your character?
Religious beliefs. Write out his/her testimony.
Opinions on politics, environment, crime, gun control etc.?
What is your character’s biggest dream?
Long term goals/short term goals.
What major problem does he/she have to solve or overcome?
What character growth will there be by the end of the story?
What lessons will your character have learned?
How will his/her life change by the end of the story?