Questionnaire for Writing Character Profiles – Character Description

How detailed your character worksheets are depends on what works best for you.  Readers like to be given some physical description of a main character, in order to help create an image for themselves. Decide on how much you are going to tell your reader about your protagonist’s appearance, and how best to convey this information. Avoid clichés such as having a character examining himself or herself in a mirror. There are other ways to include character description, such as:

  • Having one character observe another character’s appearance
  • Describe actions that reveal a character’s physical characteristics
  • Describe clothing, setting or an object while making a point to compare/use them to show a character’s appearance. This should fit naturally into the narrative

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

Character Bio: Meenu Sharma

meena-image_2Name: Meenu Sharma

Supernatural or Human: Supernatural / Primordial race, Chimera

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

Age: One hundred and thirty-three Earth years young

Relationship status: girlfriend, Fionnley McCarthy

Current family: twin sister, Leela Sharma

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

Friends: Reidar Troelsen, Khalil & Yarah Mansour, Chief Gagnon

Other close relationships: Niels Troelsen, Elan Cohen, co-workers on the police force, Gunner (her Pegasus)

Job: Police Detective; 2nd ranked knight to the Primordial leader

Favorite pastimes: trying new restaurants with Fiona

Favorite sports: Soccer (watching); bowling & darts (playing)

Favorite foods: Makkey Di Roti aur Sarson Ka Saag

Strongest positive personality trait: pragmatic

Strongest negative personality trait: strong willed, inflexible

Sense of humor: dry wit

What does she care about?: Work, rank as a knight, Fionnley, Leela, family & friends, the law

Biggest fear?: Losing her sister

What is the best thing that ever happened to her? The worst?: Best – Graduation from university/police force/becoming a detective/being named 2nd ranked knight & meeting Franny; Worst – Parents’ divorce, Leela being attacked

Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to her?  Kissing her best friend, she closed her eyes and went to kiss her, but the girl turned away

meena-design-1Biggest secret?: Loves romance novels and has read every John Green & Nicholas Sparks novel twice

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

How other people see her: hardnosed, strong

Other traits, especially those to be brought out in the story: overprotective, leader

Ambitions: marry Fionnley

Pet peeves: slow drivers

Fondest memory: family vacation to Honolulu, after she and Leela left the Pegasus Air Force & their parents were still married

Hobbies/interests: knife collecting

Special skills/abilities: a whizz at darts

Things that make her happy: spending time with Fionnley, riding her Pegasus Gunner

Things that embarrass her: her mother’s gossiping

This character is highly opinionated about: animal rights; equality between Primordials

Favorite bands/songs/type of music: Classic R&B and folk music, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones

Favorite movies: Fargo, No Country For Old Men, Training Day

Favorite TV shows: The Closer; Law and Order: Special Victims Unit; Rizzoli & Isles

Favorite books: The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

meena-dager-arma-1176364_1280What is on your character’s night stand?: A badge, A hard cover copy of Ian Rankin’s Knots and Crosses: An Inspector Rebus Novel that she’s going to try to read someday

Dress/style: solid colors, classic work clothes, button down dress shirts, one black wrap dress

What does their writing look like?: Heavy, clear strokes

What disgusts them?: squeaky doors

This profile describes Meenu in the first novel, Hound Dog Confidential.  Things change in book two. Questions like “what is the worst thing that has happened to your character” would contain spoilers since it happens in the novels.

“Whether a character in your novel is full of choler, bile, phlegm, blood or plain old buffalo chips, the fire of life is in there, too, as long as that character lives.” —James Alexander Thom

“Developing a character with genuine depth requires a focus on not just desire but how the character deals with frustration of her desires, as well as her vulnerabilities, her secrets, and especially her contradictions. This development needs to be forged in scenes, the better to employ your intuition rather than your intellect.” — David Corbett, The Art of Character: Creating Memorable Characters for Fiction, Film, and TV

“It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does.” ― William Faulkner

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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