Beyond The Basics in Building Characters
(Or making your 'house' come alive with interesting tchotchkes)
This isn't going to be the typical character questionnaire that asks what the character's height, religion, job, ect. I like knowing things about characters beyond their likes, their height and weight, parents' names, and such. I like putting them in hypothetical situations and watching them…come alive, so to speak. If naming and assigning appearance to a character is laying the foundation and giving them background information is building the house, then think of this questionnaire as filling the place with tchotchkes! Sure, you might not mention Bob's scaly feet in your story, but it's nice to know something about him besides his being five feet three inches tall and bald. Yeah, there are 75 questions. I'm sure there are other things I could have asked, but have fun with the ones I have here.
1. Character's Name: Nova
2. Character's Age: 28
3: Character's Gender: Male
1. Would your character rob a bank if they knew they could get away with it?
2. If your character could go back to college (or to college), what would they major in?
*Oh jeez, ha. If Nova ever had the chance to attend college he would probably major in mechanical engineering. Smart bastard.
3. Did they ever bully anybody in school? Were they ever bullied? How did they react to the bullying or what prompted them to bully someone?
*Nova never had the chance to attend school given that he was born into a post-society world.
4. Your character's car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. What do they do?
*If he drove a car at all and it broke down in the middle of nowhere Nova would simply fix it and get back on the road.
5. Your character needs to go clothes shopping. Where do they go? What do they buy?
*Ha! Nova wearing something other than armor XD if it came down to that though he'd probably just wear something practical like jeans and a plain t-shirt.
6. Oh man! Your character failed a class with flying colors! What class is it and how do they react?
*Nova would definitely fail home economics. No doubt about it.
7. Your character is given a choice to read Harry Potter or Twilight. Which do they choose and why?
*He would probably read both if he had the time, but I doubt he'd like either of them.
8. Your character is given an opportunity to travel to a different time for a week. Where do they go? What do they do?
*Hm..tough question..Nova would most likely want to travel further into the future to see what kinds of technological advancements were made.
9. Your character is to get one super power. What do they choose and why?
*Probably super strength.
10. Your character's boss is coming over for dinner. What do they cook?
11. Does your character believe in the supernatural? Why or why not?
*No. Nova is a very skeptical person by nature. He believes none of what he hears and only half of what he sees.
12. If your character was to write a book, what would it be about?
13. Where would your character take a date? The diner? The opera?
*I don't think Nova would go on a date..
14. What's your character's idea of rebellion?
*Standing against oppression or wrong doings.
15. Is your character a trend-setter or trend-follower?
*I don't think Nova gives two shits about trends XD
16. Awww, your character is sick! Do they like to be tended to or left alone? At what point would they go to the doctor's?
*The stubborn little shit HATES when people are around umm when he's sick so he usually just rides it out while curled up in a cave or something.
17. Uh-oh. Your character was just canned from their job. How do they handle this?
18. What is your character's idea of paradise?
*Hmm..probably a world where civilization was never destroyed. People worked to better the future with technology. No wars, no fighting, no killing.
19. What is your character's idea of hell?
20. So your character has an enemy. What is their past? Why do they hate each other?
*Heh, oh boy. Nova has (had) A LOT of enemies in the Pit. But most of them are dead now, save a few that escaped the desolation of the Pit. The one man Nova is desperately searching for right now is the one who got him into the Pit in the first place. I guess you can say he's Nova's archenemy?
21. Describe your character's first kiss.
*Nova has never kissed anyone.
22. Describe your character's bedroom.
*Whatever safe place he can find to hole up for the night.
23. If your character won the lottery, what would they do with the cash?
*Money is no good to Nova.
24. If your character had to donate money to a cause, what would it be?
*Probably some form of anti-human trafficking organization.
25. Your character's at a bar and there's a jukebox stocked with every kind of music you can think of. Do
they pick something to be ironic? Or do they pick songs they like? What kind of bar is it? Swanky? Frat
boy? Hipster dive bar?
*Nova doesn't drink anymore, but in the Pit he would go to any place that sold alcohol. Usually they were pretty disgusting and grungy places, nothing nice. As for music, I'm not sure he's really sat and listened to any music. Aside from when he was really young his mother would sing but that was about it. That being said, I think he would enjoy Eddie Arnold or Roy Rogers.
26. If your character were to open a business, what would it be?
27. Your character finds a bug in their house. What do they do with it?
*If it's big enough he'd eat it *shrug*
28. Your character hears strange noises from the basement. What do they do about it?
*His first instinct would've to turn on his heat scanners and see the size of the thing. Once he assessed the danger levels he'd go down and 'take care of it'.
29. Your character is walking down a dark alley and a person steps out in front of them. What happens next?
*The person hauls ass outta there.
30. What's the cruelest thing your character ever did to someone?
*..dear lord. He's killed A LOT of people, women and children included, but the absolute cruelest thing he's done was definitely when he literally ripped a man's three young daughters into pieces in front of him before force feeding the man their raw flesh. Nova was a terrible person. More on that later.
31. What's the kindest thing your character ever did for someone?
*Probably saving his traveling partner's life on multiple occasions.
32. Your character is falling in love. Do they take things slow or fast? Do they make decisions or do they make a lot of compromises? How secure are they?
*Nova is asexual, but that doesn't mean he can't have feelings of compassion towards another person.
33. Is your character insecure or confident?
*Outwardly confident, but sometimes his insecurities peak through.
34. What are your character's workout habits?
*Nova doesn't have an exercise regiment, but he gets a lot in while fighting for his life.
35. Does your character like children? Why or why not? How do they react to bratty children? Do they want children of their own? Do they already have children?
*Oooooooh no. Nova would sooner eat a child before having one of his own.
36. Describe your character's ideal wedding.
*Not having one.
37. Your character gets a new bulldog for Christmas. What would they name it?
*Eeeehhh, he's more of a cat person I think.
38. Your character is applying for college. What kind of a college would they apply to? Tech school? State university? Art school?
39. What kind of art does your character appreciate? The old masters? Modern art? Impressionism? Or have they no interest in art?
*Art is emotional, Nova doesn't see the interest.
40. What section of a museum interests your character the most? Dinosaurs? Native Americans? Food court?
41. What does your character smell like?
*Normally? Metal, smoke, sweat. Other times he'll smell like a dead person's entrails.
42. What is your character's ideal weather?
*Cool, but not cold. No rain.
43. How well does your character sleep?
*Not very well. He has PTSD and that prevents him from getting good rest most of the time.
44. Has your character ever been in a physical fight? Describe what prompted it.
*Yes. Countless times. His life in the Pit was a constant fight for his life and he still has to do so now that he's out.
45. Does your character have any nerdish leanings?
*Well he's extremely interested in the mechanics of weapons and gets pretty obsessive about it, does that count?
46. Has your character ever written a story? A song? What was it about? Have they ever painted/drew anything? Describe it if they did.
47. What is your character's handwriting like?
*Probably not very good. Nova never went to school.
48. A typical weekend for your character is like…
*Hunt for food, find shelter, fight off any bandits or animals trying to attack him.
49. Your character finds a skeleton in the basement. What happens next?
*He wonders when he got a basement XD
50. Your character gets the opportunity to have five famous people, living or dead, over for dinner. Who do they pick and why?
51. What kind of video games does your character play? If your character from a different time, what video games would they play if they lived in the present?
*I think video games would frustrate Nova too much, plus he'd find them pointless.
52. Where was your character on September Eleventh? On the day Neal Armstrong walked on the moon? When President Kennedy was shot? When Pearl Harbor was bombed? Or, if they didn't live during any of these time periods, what significant world event occurred in their lifetime and how did they respond to it?
*Nova wasn't alive during any of these events.
53. Your character is in a post-apocalyptic world like Cormac McCarthy's The Road and they're allowed to only have one person with them as they struggle to survive. Who would it be and why?
*HA! Nova already lives in a post-apocalyptic world XD he prefers to travel alone, but his new traveling companion, Azure, has kinda changed his mind on that. He likes having her around.
54. If your character were on a diet, what kind of a diet would they go on? South beach? Atkins? Tape worm? Would they succeed or fail? What kind of a toll would it take on them?
*A diet for Nova would be illogical (LOL)
55. Your character is at a poetry reading. What kind of work would they appreciate? Not appreciate?
56. Your character passes a homeless person in the street. Do they give them money or walk past them? Why?
*Nova would either keep walking or kill them, depending on how the person reacted to him.
57. What is your character's favorite holiday? Why?
*The only holiday Nova has ever celebrated was Christmas, so I guess it would be his favorite. But he hasn't celebrated it since his mother died when he was sixteen.
58. If your character could be any character from fiction, who would they be?
59. Your character wants to go on vacation for a week. Where would they go? Why?
60. If your character were to play a professional sport, what would they choose? Why?
61. Your character is at the county fair. Where do they go? Beer tent? Games? Rides?
62. How good is their sense of direction? Do they oftentimes get lost or are they good at finding their way around?
*Nova had an excellent sense of direction. Also the built in compass in his helmet helps XD
63. Is your character good at keeping their checkbook balanced? Have they ever bounced a check? Are they generally pretty good with money? Do they pay their bills on time or do they tend to forget?
64. Has your character ever tried sushi? Would they?
*Nova will eat any kind of food he can get his hands on, but I don't think he'd like sushi.
65. Your character is going to get one service from a spa. What would they get done?
66. It's Christmas and your character is going shopping! What do they buy for other people? How much
do they tend to spend?
*When Nova's mother was still around, neither around neither of them made or bought anything for the other, they just gathered broken Christmas lights that had found throughout the year and spent the day trying to get them to work. Once the lights were fixed, the two of them would sit around and watch the bulbs flash until they burnt out. That was his Christmas and he loved it.
67. Has anybody ever been discriminatory toward your character because of his/her race, gender, religious beliefs? Describe the event and how your character reacted?
*No one really knows about Nova being Asexual but almost everyone knows that he refuses to believe in any form of deity. No one has ever hounded him for it though.
68. If your character had a child, what would they name it?
69. Would your character have a Facebook account? Do they? Why or why not? How often do they update their status? How many friends do they have?
70. Has your character ever trolled a forum? Why or why not?
71. Your character wants to take some things to Goodwill. How do they decide what to get rid of and what to keep?
72. It's Halloween. What does your character dress up as? Do they buy candy for trick-or-treaters or do they hide in their house with a sign on the door?
*I think Nova would be totally confused by Halloween.
73. What does your character spend the most money on?
*He doesn't use money, it has no value anymore.
74. Does your character live by any kind of philosophy?
*Logic above emotion.
75. Does your character resemble anybody famous?