Now that we’re done noting the basic physical characteristics, we’re going to note some basic psychological characteristics about our new character. These are small points that maintain the essence of the character and how s/he relates to others.
Charisma—does your hero have the ability to charm even the living and dead? Does she have problems with alpha males, turning them off when all she wants is to be seduced by one? Charisma is that hard to define quality of likeability. When someone has charisma, they have the ability to charm people, to get people to like them and believe in them. I usually rate charisma from 1-18, one being the lowest, eighteen the highest in being charming. Most times, I randomly roll three 6-sided dice three times, writing down the total score. I toss out the lowest and the highest, using the middle score as the charisma factor for my character. Then I note what is so likeable about the character- are they defenders of the underdog, do they smile at people and make them feel special and respected? Do they seem to have the ability to lead without being rude? Do people seem to gravitate towards them? Are they seductive to any and all they meet? These qualities are good to have when you’re showing them with others.
Sexual preference—is your character straight, gay, or bisexual or even omnisexual? Do you know what kind of sex position they like best? What turns them on? What turns them off in a heartbeat? What are their top three sexual fantasies? What are they sexually afraid of? What do they want to try but are afraid to tell their lover? These things go in this section, allowing you to build a sexual profile of your character. Note-- Lena Austin does an excellent workshop on writing sex scenes and I’ve incorporated many of her ideas to help deepen this aspect of my characters. You won’t regret taking it if you get the chance.
Personality type- Are they a Type A personality? Are they alpha, beta, gamma when it comes to their essence? Are they emotionally, physically, or motive driven? This is the area where you can list what kind of person they are, how they act professionally, how they are in private, and what they want to change about their personality. If you’ve never seen a personality profile, there are many online sites that ask questions and the responses will tell you what kind of person you are. When I need to quick create a character, I often find one and fill it out as if I’m that character. The answers often give me that little edge in how to deepen the character further. I mark what drives them- emotion, physical things, or motive. I also list personality quirks here as well.
Character type—how is this different from the above? Simple. Here is where you can give an example of who your character is like. Are they a cross between Han Solo and Wolverine? This is where I normally have reference points regarding the overall character. One of my characters is what I call “Damsel in Distress Buster.” She believes a woman can help herself, conquer the bad guy, save the hero, and succeed at all she does. She’s a cross between Storm from the X-men and Red Sonja. Because I have these reference points that I’m familiar with, I know that though she’s emotion driven with a tendency towards Type A overdoing things, she also will go out of her way to help the underdog without making sure they truly are underdogs. This is where you take the above and refine it, giving you some deeper markers to guide you.
Occupation—self explanatory. What does your character do for a living? Do they live to work or work to live? Are they successful by their standards? How about by other people’s standards? Where do they work? What kind of money do they make? Do they have good benefits, vacations, sick days? This is where you can take the time to give them a solid working history—which will reflect the character’s essence. If they’re the creative type, are they a writer, a jeweler, perhaps even a mage? Perhaps they’re in a job because it pays, but not because they love it. Note this. It’s important to know how they see their job since it affects how they react to any threat to their way of paying bills and taking care of themselves. If their job plays part in the storyline, this is where you can refine the details that you might need to incorporate later.
Now that we’ve gotten this far, we’re going to get deeper into learning about our character. The next section we’ll be dealing with GMC (Goals, Motivation, and Conflicts) and other aspects that help us better understand the characters and how they relate. For those who write romance, I’ll also be including a section dealing with the romantic interaction between the hero and heroine. Angela Knight introduced me to this worksheet, and now I don’t know how I ever wrote without it.
Assignment #2-- Fill out the character sheets and think about how these points can help enhance and deepen the original story idea.