THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT REFERENCE
By Barry Marshall
Author can be reached at XXLBadboy@aol.com
Last modified: November 03 2012 12:33:13

This reference is designed to stimulate ideas to develop story characters.

  1. PART ONE -- TYPE OF STORY
    1. What type of story is the character in? (i.e. Science Fiction, Western, Contemporary, etc.)
    2. How does this help define the character?

  2. PART TWO -- DESCRIPTIONS
    1. Name:
      1. Does the name portray some aspect of character? (i.e. Blondie Jones, Sergeant Rock, etc.)
      2. Does the name immediately identify gender or race?
      3. Is the name dynamic, or commonplace?
      4. What is the length of the name?
      5. How difficult is the pronunciation?

    2. Age:
      1. What is the character's age?
      2. How does their age affect the character? (i.e. spoiled, patient, impatient, experienced, inexperienced, overconfident, sage-like, streetwise, world-weary, distinguished, etc.)

    3. Height:
      1. What is the character's height?
      2. What is the character's perspective according to their height? (i.e. timid, overbearing, defensive, average, etc.)

    4. Weight:
      1. How much does the character weigh?
      2. How does their weight affect their character? (i.e. proud, defensive, indifferent, etc.)

    5. Hair:
      1. What are the character's hair traits? (i.e. color, length, style abundance, bald, thinning, damaged, dyed, bleached, coarse, fine, gray, etc.)
      2. How do the character's hair traits affect the character?

    6. Eyes:
      1. What are the specifics about the character's eyes? (i.e. eye color or variations, glasses, contacts, implants, etc.)
      2. Is the character's vision impaired? Why and how? (see handicap section)
      3. How does any of the character's eye traits affect the character?

    7. Facial Features:
      1. What does the character look like? (i.e. unearthly, beautiful, average, homely, ugly, etc.)
      2. Describe the character's facial features.
      3. How does this affect their character?

    8. Sex:
      1. Is the character male or female, or a combination? (alien?)
      2. How does this affect the character?

    9. Build:
      1. What type of build does the character have? (i.e. average, superhuman, athletic, below average, etc.)
      2. Does the character have usual or unusual (alien) body features?
      3. Include a description of the character's body features.
      4. How does this affect their character?

    10. Handicaps (if any):
      1. Does the character have any handicaps in the following areas: physical, mental, spiritual?
      2. Include details such as how and why.
      3. Describe things used to correct the problem. (i.e. medicine, prosthetics, counseling, etc.)
      4. How does this affect their character?

    11. Speech:
      1. What does the character's voice sound like?
      2. What language does the character speak?
      3. Do they know any languages in addition to their native tongue?
      4. What verbal traits does the character have? (i.e. accent, slang, wordiness, precision, repetition, etc.)
      5. Is the character speech handicapped?
      6. How do any of their speech traits affect the character?

    12. I.Q.:
      1. What is the character's IQ?
      2. How does this affect the character?

    13. Mental:
      1. Is the character mentally sound, or unbalanced, or unbalanced occasionally under extreme conditions?
      2. How does this affect the character?

    14. Emotions:
      1. What are the major emotions experienced by the character?
      2. How does this affect the character?

    15. Race:
      1. What is the character's race?
      2. Is the character an alien (not from this planet)?
      3. How does this affect the character?

    16. Alien physical traits:
      1. Describe any alien physical traits if the character is an alien:

  3. PART THREE -- CHARACTER TRAITS
    1. Habits:
      1. What habits does the character have?
      2. How does this affect the character?

    2. Tastes:
      1. What tastes (if any) does the character have? (i.e. food, clothing, music, home, decorations, etc.)
      2. How does this affect the character?

    3. Hobbies:
      1. Does the character have any hobbies?
      2. How does this affect the character?

    4. Responsibilities:
      1. Does the character have any responsibilities? (i.e. family, job, military, etc.)
      2. How does this affect the character?

    5. Education:
      1. Does the character have an education? How much? Include details about the character's education:
      2. How does this affect the character?

    6. Skills:
      1. Does the character have any skills? If yes, include details.
      2. How does this affect the character?

    7. Occupation:
      1. What is the character's occupation?
      2. How does this affect the character?

    8. Income:
      1. What is the character's income?
      2. How does this affect the character?

    9. Environment:
      1. Where does the character live?
      2. How does this affect the character?

    10. Possessions:
      1. What kinds of possessions does the character have?
      2. How does this affect the character?

    11. Spirituality:
      1. What does the character believe?
      2. How does this affect the character?

    12. Eccentric/Non-Eccentric:
      1. Yes, or no? If so, what and why?

    13. Morality/Immorality:
      1. Yes, no, or combination?
      2. How does this affect the character?

    14. Reactions:
      1. Are there any special circumstances where the character has abnormal reactions?

    15. Powers (if any):
      1. Does the character have any unusual capacities? (i.e. magic, telepathy, extra strong, etc.)

  4. PART FOUR -- PERSONALITY TRAITS
    1. What personality traits does the character have? (i.e. courageous, caring, confident, hateful, loving, responsible, etc.)

  5. PART FIVE -- CHARACTER MOTIVATION
    1. What motivates the character? Elaborate.

  6. PART SIX -- FAMILY AND FRIENDS
    1. Does the character have a family? Who are they?
    2. Are the family members living or deceased (circumstances)?
    3. How does the character interact with family?
    4. Does the character have any friends? Who are they?
    5. How does the character interact with friends?
    6. Include short bios of family and friends:

  7. PART SEVEN -- CHARACTER HISTORY
    1. Include a short bio of the character's origin, etc.

Copyright © 1994-2002 Barry Marshall - All rights reserved.


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