The Character’s Personality

If you answer the following questions, you will begin to get a good feel of what a character’s personality will be based on. Once you have the reasons for the way a character should behave, you can then figure out how that character will actually act.

Here are the questions to ask:

  • What is your character’s personality and how has your character’s history affected that personality?
  • What is the character’s name? This sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how many characters don’t have a name.
  • What is the character’s family tree?
  • Is the character based on legend or myth? If the character is based on one, will the audience know and understand the origin of the legend or myth?
  • Is the character based on another’s work? If so, is the author living or deceased? Will you have any licensing issues if the character is too recognizable?
  • Was the character born, created, or hatched?
  • What is the character’s body language, and how does that help define the personality? Subconsciously, we all read each other’s body language. Make sure that your character’s body language fits the character’s personality, profession, or gender.
  • Was the character’s family life good, bad, neutral, or nonexistent?
  • Is the character educated or illiterate? An educated caveman will behave entirely different than an uneducated caveman. Likewise, an educated caveman will be different than an educated astronaut. Make sure the education is appropriate to the character.
  • What are the character’s current living conditions? Is the character obsessively or compulsively neat, or is slob a more apt description? Are the character’s living conditions advanced or primitive?
  • Does the character have a job, trade, or commercial skill? Though this may not directly affect the look or feel of a character, it may. A lumberjack assassin will look different than a ballet dancer assassin.
  • Does the character need a commercial skill? Again, this may or may not affect your character design.
  • Does the character have or need a financial status? A rich character may be able to outfit itself better than a poor one. A rich character will possibly be able to hire others to do his bidding.
  • What are the character’s favorite foods?
  • Does the character have any favorite activities, hobbies, etc.?

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