A little while ago I wrote a blog post titled “121 questions to ask you characters” which I find incredibly useful when I am developing characters, so I have decided to do some questions specifically for characters within the fantasy world.
J.K. Rowling is known for having planned many minor details regarding the layout of Hogwarts and the characters themselves. I personally find creating character questionnaires helpful because I learn more about the character than I ever would know without one. Even if you do not include much of what you learn about your characters in your book or story, the experiences will have helped frame the way that the character thinks and feels and will allow you to provide the reader with more vivid imagery of the character and a deeper insight into their personality.
If you are a writer who likes to focus on the depth of characters, like Dicken’s and Shakespeare, then creating a character profile is the best way to do it. Here are 100 questions you could ask your fantasy characters to help give them more depth and credibility.
- What is your name? Why were you called this?
- What is your nickname? Why were you given this nickname?
- What gender do you identify with?
- What species are you e.g. human, werewolf, witch, goblin, e.t.c?
- How did you become this species? Have you been this way since birth? Is it something that is passed down through your family?
- Do you look like a human or like your species all of the time? Can you/do you keep who you truly are a secret? Is it necessary?
- How old are you/what is your date of birth?
- Is this your first life?
- Where were you born, on earth or another world entirely?
- Where do you live? Is it a real place that exists?
- Do you have any special powers? What are they?
- Do you have any royal blood?
- How tall are you?
- What is your body type? Athletic, slender, curvy . . .
- What colour is your hair? Is it long, short, wavy, coarse, thin…?
- What colour are your eyes? Are they wide and enchanting or dark and mysterious?
- What is your stand out feature? Captivating eyes, elven ears, button nose, long legs? What is the first thing others notice about you?
- Are you considered to be attractive by others?
- Do you have any tattoos, piercings, birthmarks? If so, what and where are they? Describe.
- Do you wear makeup? Is it heavy or natural? Are you skilled?
- Do you take pride in your appearance?
- What condition are your teeth in? ( Do you have…cavities a golden tooth or perfectly straight teeth?) Do you have fangs?
- Do you have any facial hair? Describe it.
- Describe your hands. (dirt under the nails, weather-worn, overgrown nails, talons, etc.)
- What kind of clothes do you wear?
- Is there an item which you always carry with you or wear?
Childhood Memories and Experiences
- What is your fondest memory?
- What are you most proud of?
- What was your bravest moment?
- What is the worst thing that has happened to you?
- What is your darkest childhood memory?
- What scent or smell reminds you of your childhood?
- Have you ever lost someone that you loved?
- What is your biggest regret?
- Have you ever been arrested?
- What was your worst injury/illness?
- Have you moved around a lot? If so, where have you lived before?
- Have you travelled much of the world? Been to other lands or planets? If so where have you been to? What is your favourite country you have visited and why?
CAREER AND EDUCATION
- What is your occupation?
- What is your work ethic like?
- What is your income?
- Did you ever train with a master or at a school? If so, what for?
- What is your dream?
Family and Relationships
- About your mother: What is your mother’s name? What species is your mother? What powers does your mother possess? Where was your mother born? What is your mother’s occupation?
- What is your father’s name? What species is your father? What powers does your father possess? Where was your father born? What is your father’s occupation?
- Do you have any siblings? If yes, how many? What are their names? How old are they? Are they close to you? Where do they live? What species are they? What are their powers?
- What is your relationship status? If you have a partner, what is their name? What is their date of birth? Profession? Where were they born? How long have you been together? What species is your partner? Do they know about your real species?
- Do you have any children? If yes, how many? What are their names? How old are they? What species are your children?
- Do you have a large circle of friends or a small group of close ones? Who are your friends?
- How would friends and relatives describe you in one sentence?
- Are you a loner or do you love the company of others? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
- Who was your first love?
- Who can make you smile no matter how down you are feeling?
- Do you have a reputation? What is it?
- Do people love you or fear you?
- Do you seek revenge against anyone?
- Are there any particular monsters/species you despise or would like to fight?
- Do you have any enemies?
- Are you a night owl or an early bird?
- Do you suffer from a reoccurring nightmare? What happens in it?
- Do you worry about the future?
- What is your worst fear?
- Do you have a positive outlook on life and try to see the best in things, or are you pessimistic and negative?
- Are you in control of your emotions, or are your emotions in control of you?
- Do you deeply feel empathy?
- Are you good or evil?
- How devoted are you to your God?
- Do you believe in zodiac signs? If so, what star sign are you?
- How do you view other races/cultures/species?
- Fight or flight?
- Do you find it easy to forgive others?
- Do you find it easy to admit when you have made a mistake?
- Are you brave, strongminded and capable of standing up for yourself, or are you shy, vulnerable or easily mislead?
- Are you disciplined or reckless and impulsive?
- Do you have any bad habits?
- What does your home look like? Gothic and dark or cosy and colourful? Neat and organised or messy and dirty?
- Do you have any deep, dark secrets?
- What is your favourite colour?
- Do you prefer hot or cold weather?
- How do animals act around you? (are they friendly, aggressive, scared etc…)
- What kind of music do you listen to?
- Do you drink alcohol? If yes, how often? Does it impact your life? Are you a light or a heavy drinker? What type of drunkard are you?
- Do you have any health problems?
- Do you have any pets or familiars?
- Do you have any rituals?
- Are you embarking on a journey, adventure or mission? Why does your journey matter to you personally?
- Do you have a secret spot to retreat to? Where is this spot and why did you choose it?
- Describe your diet, e.g. human blood, vegan and everything in between!
- When do you sleep? Are you more active day or night?
- Do you practice magic?
- Can you fly?
- What is your Achilles heel?
- What is your first language?
- Does everyone in your species speak the same language?
- Can you speak any other languages?
- Do you have a characteristic phrase?
- Do you have an accent?
- What are the characteristics of your voice? Are you softly spoken or loud and sharp?
- What is your vocabulary like? Do you use big words or are your sentences often poorly structured?
- Can you read and write?
A list like this will surely give you all of the information you need to write a magical character with depth and believability. Good luck with your next bestseller!