Questionnaire for Writing Character Profiles – Acquainting Yourself With Your Characters

The purpose of a character profile is: to help writers create characters that are as lifelike as possible and to help with continuity issues in the story. Authors write detailed character sketches before starting their first draft, determining the characters’ personal history and tastes in advance. Much of this information will not appear in the book. Acquainting yourself with your characters will help you to write about them with confidence, and they will seem three dimensional.

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

Character Bio: Leela Sharma

leela-image_3Name: Leela Sharma

Supernatural or Human: Supernatural / Primordial race, Chimera

General physical description: black hair, brown eyes, dark brown skin, Indian features

Relationship status: single

Current family: twin sister, Meenu Sharma

Family background (parents, previous marriages, etc.): Parents are divorced, both live in India

Friends: Yarah Mansour

Other close relationships: Reidar Troelsen (her work partner), co-workers on the police force, Siegfried (her Pegasus)

Job: Police Detective; 3rd ranked knight to the Primordial leader

leela-horse-collection-unicorn-611886_1280Hobbies: Collecting horse figurines

Favorite sports: basketball

Favorite foods: Chiwda Dahi

Sense of humor: snarky

Temper: playful, but serious at work

Did he/she have a happy childhood? Why/why not?: Yes, her parents were laid back. They expected her to excel at school, but didn’t push her to do anything she really didn’t want to do

Past/present relationships? How did they affect her?:  She has had a couple boyfriends and a girlfriend when she was in school and the army, but once she became a cop (then a knight) she has only had time for brief flings and dates that go nowhere.  Hasn’t had a serious relationship in years. At point in 1st novel she doesn’t think she will ever have time for one this century

What does she care about?: Meenu, Yarah, Reidar, Khalil, friends & family, co-workers, her job

Biggest fear?: Growing old alone; working so much that she grows old without ever having enjoyed her life or done things that everyone else has

What is the best thing that ever happened to her? Worst? Best – Graduation from university/police force/becoming a detective; Worst – Parents’ divorce

Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to her?: A jelly fish sting on her ass

Biggest secret: Cares deeply about what people think of her

Philosophy of life: Don’t let good Roti go bad

Most important thing to know about this character: She was in the Pegasus Air Force

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why? Yes, she’s caring and funnyleela-design

Things that make her happy: hanging out with Yarah, doing undercover work with Reidar and Yarah back in the 1980s

Favorite bands/songs/type of music: classic R&B, anything Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, James Brown

Favorite movies: Star Wars, all except the prequels

Favorite TV shows: The Wire; Cagney & Lacey

Any pets?:  Cat

Best thing that has ever happened to this character: Won 1st place and broke the Air Force speed and agility record with her Pegasus

Worst thing that has ever happened to this character: Had to kill a criminal who stalked & attacked her on the job

What is in your character’s refrigerator right now? A box of baking soda, expired milk and vegan chocolate chip cookies that she bought two months ago

On her bedroom floor: A pile of laundry, all of which are work clothes

What does their writing look like?: chicken scratch

What disgusts them?: dirty cat litter, sweaty feet

This is all about Leela as she is in the first novel, Hound Dog Confidential. Her life changes in book two.

“Remember: Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.” —Ray Bradbury

“People—and characters—are made up of their past experiences. When crafting a character, one of the most important aspects we consider is her past.” —Skye Fairwin, quote from Your Character’s Very First Relationship

“I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story.” ― G.K. Chesterton

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.

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