Imagine finding a dragon egg one day, and it hatches in your house and thinks you’re its mom. Then the next morning you wake up and find this mini dragon has gathered all the lose change and shiny objects in your house in a pile, and is gnawing on a nickel. And then when you take it out for walks, it picks up every coin it sees cause its a hoarder. And your house is eventually full of coins. And you are rich. And have a dragon.
Back in the day, my fiction professor thought that our class wasn’t creating vivid enough characters, so he had us write 5 pages about one of the characters in our existing stories, or about a character that would be in an upcoming story. Basically all we had to do was describe the person, using the below outline to help us think of some details about our characters. What resulted were these great character vignettes, and you’d be surprised how much of the character outlines ended up being really great content for the actual stories. They really, really helped our characters pop. I’d suggest that everyone try it, especially those of you who have a hard time creating “round” characters or getting to know who your characters really are.
You don’t necessarily have to fill this list out before you write a character sketch—it can also just be used as a reference—but here are a zillion-and-one character traits to think about (loads more under the “Read More” cut):
ORIGINS & FAMILY:
Reason for name:
Place of birth:
Places lived since:
Parents’ names, backgrounds, occupations:
Number of siblings:
Relationship with family (close? estranged?):
Children of his/her own?:
If so, relationship with their mother/father?:
Age he/she gave birth/became a father:
[pushes unnecessary love triangle out of the way to make room for some nice happy polyamory] nice