Questionnaire for Writing Character Profiles – Get To Know Your Characters

Creating convincing and engaging characters can be one of the most difficult areas of writing a novel.  A story is interesting because of who it’s happening to.  Characterization is a vital part of making a story compelling. Characters need to seem real in order to interest and touch readers. Writers achieve this by providing details that make characters individual and true to life. Good description gives readers a strong sense of characters’ personalities and complexities. It makes characters vivid and alive. One of the best ways to get to know your characters is to ask questions about them.

Here are some questions I used to flesh out my characters in my urban fantasy series, The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus.

Character Bio: Yarah Mansour

yarah-pictureName: Yarah Mansour

Sex: Female

Supernatural or Human: Supernatural / Primordial race, Chimera

General physical description: Black hair, brown eyes, tan skin, middle eastern features

Hometown: Flower City, Maine

Relationship status: Married, wife of Blaire Underhill

Current family: Father, Khalil Mansour

Family background (parents, previous marriages, etc.): Mother & brother deceased

Friends: Leela Sharma

Job: Restaurant owner

Favorite pastimes: goofing off with Leela, going to the movies

Favorite foods: Middle Eastern comfort food, anything eggplant

Strongest positive personality trait: big heart

Strongest negative personality trait: selfish, makes stupid decisions

Sense of humor: slapstick, fart jokes

Temper: bubbly

Consideration for others: overly concerned about the people she loves

Did he/she have a happy childhood? Why/why not?:  Yes and no, her parents were strict but caring, things changed after her mother died

What does she care about?: Her restaurant, wife, father and friends

Biggest fear?: losing her restaurant and who she is to her relationship

What is the one word you would use to define her?: beautiful

How other people see her: some see her as fun, ditzy & flaky and others as spoiled & dumb

Philosophy of life: Any mistake can be fixed if you work hard at it

Most important thing to know about this character: She is a recovering addict of drug alchemyyarah-social-media-design

Favorite movies: Star Wars, all of them even the prequels; Flash Gordon; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Barbarella

Favorite TV shows: The Bold and the Beautiful, Guiding Light, Dallas, Star Trek

Favorite books: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë; A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Best thing that has ever happened to this character: The day she opened her restaurant

Worst thing that has ever happened to this character: Mother died; She almost overdosed from drugs

This profile is based on Yarah in book one, Hound Dog Confidential.  Her life changes in the second book.

“Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. … I have 10 or so, and that’s a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them.” — Gore Vidal

“To have a great story and engaging characters, you would need to get under all that hair and makeup to find the not-so-beautiful person beneath who has needs and fears, and believes lies.” — CS Lakin, quote from Ordinary Characters Can Be Extraordinary

“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” ― Ernest Hemingway

“Overly tragic back stories played up front are not the way. Characters’ reactions and the way they deal with what’s happening to them in the ‘here and now’ tells us so much more than acres of flashbacks or expositional dialogue about their traumatic childhoods.”

Lucy V Hay, quote from Top 5 Ways Writers Screw Up Their Characters

Hope you found this week’s post helpful. You can read the first chapters of my urban fantasy series The Children of Ekhidna and Typhoeus on the books page.

Next week’s blog will share another character bio.

Please let me know what you think by liking, commenting or subscribing.

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