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 Character Development Sheet

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Bernadette
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Number of posts : 137
Age : 30
Location : Swamp
Registration date : 2008-12-05

PostSubject: Character Development Sheet   Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:56 pm

I decided to put this up if anyone is unsure how to make a good character C:



1. Name
Your character's full name, any nicknames he is known by or titles he bears.

2. Sex

3. Age
Self-explanatory. Aim for a precise birthdate, so that you can keep track of her aging.

4. Occupation
This is important. A character's occupation does much to define him; it gives him a place in the world, a reason and a means to exist. It also gives clues as to his social status, and provides you with things against which to react. A character without an occupation exists in a sort of void; the all-too-popular Independently Wealthy Idler needs a very strong personality to succeed as a character.

Character Roles in a Low-Tech Setting suggests many interesting jobs for a fantasy MUSH character.

5. Place of origin and place of residence
Her place of origin defines the culture she arises from; though this may not necessarily be a major factor in her personality, it will still subtly influence her behavior and thoughts. Place of residence is where she lives now, and may be the same place or not; it will determine where on the grid she is likely to be found, what sort of means she has to live on, what sort of neighbors she has (and thus may interact with), etc.

6. Family members and/or close friends
Describe the members of his immediate family. Give them names, and ages. If he has no actual family, describe the people who stand in that place to him -- the people he grew up with. Describe his relationships with these people -- not necessarily in deep psychological detail, but describe them. Do the same for his close friends, and if he has any particular enemies, for them too. If he is married and/or has children, same.

7. Appearance
Hair color and general style, eye color, skin tone, approximate height and build, facial shape and structure. Note any freckles, scars, blemishes; the appearance of hands and nails, details like long eyelashes, thick ankles, prominent ears, a pot belly. Avoid value judgments if possible. This should include more detail than you plan to put in your @desc.

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Part Two: Personality
8. Three separate and distinct character traits
If you can sum up your character's personality in one word, you haven't thought her out far enough. Three separate traits should make a good summary, provided they are not synonymous; "bright, sunny, and cheerful" is not useful; "embittered, compassionate and insecure" might be better.

9. Objective Values:
a) Greatest virtue. What is, in fact, the best thing about your character?
b) Gravest flaw. What is, in fact, the thing he most needs to overcome?

10. Subjective Values:
a) Greatest source of pride. What does she believe to be the best thing about her?
b) Greatest fear or source of shame. What does she believe to be the worst thing about her or the thing most dangerous to her?

[Note that these may, perhaps should, conflict: 9a and 10b might be the same thing, for example, honesty/outspokenness, patience/weakness, etc., or then again what a character believes his best attribute may in fact be his worst.]

11. Secret
A good character has something he isn't telling people. This need not be a terribly important thing, even to him, and it need not even be a negative thing, but it will be there, providing tension. It might be:

an event or deed - such as a murder committed or witnessed, an important message he never sent, the fact that the handsomest man in the village once proposed to her...
a circumstance - such as illegitimacy, homosexuality, left-handedness, a birthmark, twinhood, a humble origin when he is now highly placed....
emotional - such as being in love with a sibling's spouse, perhaps, or admiration of a sibling/parent/friend which she wishes not to admit.
an idea - such as a phobia, a prejudice, a scientific or religious theory
informational - such as the location of a treasure, knowledge of the bizarre tribal customs of the elves, or an event/circumstance/etc. that another character wishes to keep secret.
12. Physical/mental flaws
Note any disfigurements or diseases, worrisome mental quirks or outright insanity, physical disabilities from mortal homeliness or a missing finger to paraplegia. Flaws, rather than "virtues" or positive things, are specified because the overwhelming tendency is to make a character good-looking, able-bodied and physically and mentally healthy; such flaws, even if they are extremely minor, help to round out a character.

13. Interests
Everyone is interested in something, usually more than one thing. Note some things that tend to engage your character's interest, such as her work, someone else's work, her family, a hobby (gardening, archery, stamp collecting, flower arrangement), a subject (shells, ancient history, horses), a person (her lover, the Queen, an historical figure), or a place (France, Telgar Weyr, Faeryland, the house she hopes to live in someday).

14. Mannerisms and demeanor
Note any habits of movement or speech your character may have; such things, when they arise out of the character rather than being tacked on for the heck of it, serve to characterize the person, like a signature. One may tend to run his hand through his hair frequently; another might fuss with her clothes or jewelry; a third stammer, a fourth tend to repeat herself. Think about the sorts of things he might tend to do. Note also his usual manner: whether the character is generally nervous, or at ease; graceful or clumsy; whether she seems friendly or sullen, meets people's eyes or looks away, etc.

15. Motivation

This one is of course the killer, and is the one question which it is most tempting to skip. Wink What drives your character? Love of his country, hatred of his enemy, ambition, a haunted past, a fascination with late Gothic architecture? What gives him things to work for (or against), what's the reason he gets up every morning? It won't necessarily govern all his actions, but it's an important factor in his character, and will keep him from being static.

_________________
I don't enjoy killing, Mr. Smith. I do it because I'm addicted to it. - Mr. Brooks


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