I’ve shared this (or some version of it) on some of my other writing blogs, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared it here.
This is an example of the character profile questionnaire I use. Feel free to “borrow” any of these questions for your own character profiles, since I “borrowed” most of them from other people anyway, as we do.
Jodie’s profile is maybe more filled out than some of my characters’ are, since she appears in more of my books and is one of my older characters. And because she was in a novel rather than a shorter work. It’s not as extensive as some I’ve seen people do (or maybe it is, lol!), but it’s a good selection of basics to get started with. I note all of this mostly because I’ll need it for later books, but I tend to discover this stuff as I write, rather than have it all figured out before I start.
My favorite section to discover, in contemporary fiction at least, is the lifestyle section. You gotta know how they feel about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll! Though I also love the mosaics and theme song. The info helps me know a character, but the mosaics and theme song really help me feel the character.
born: November 5, 1977, scorpio
books/WIPs she appears in, and at what age:
Exactly Where They’d Fall (main): 29-30
Likely to Fail (main): ~38
Terrible Brightness (secondary): ~32
Outshine (flashback): ~18
name means: from Judea (diminutive of Judith)
- “sunshine” by Berges
- height: 5′ 6″
- hair: dark sable brown, blunt shoulder-length cut
- eyes: muddy dark blue
- body: average height, healthy weight but soft, average chest size, pear-shaped
- dress: business casual, pants, never skirts or dresses, gray, black, or red
- distinguishing features: cold eyes, very pale skin, tight lips, wide curvy hips, narrow shoulders, limp in the arms, long knobbly fingers, fingernails cut short.
human reference: Meiko, singer
- parents: father: unnamed, mother: Alana Fortney; divorced
- heritage: partially Scandinavian
- siblings: Eric Larsen, Melissa Fortney (half), several other half siblings unnamed
- children: never
- BFFs: Piper, later Berges
- first kiss: ???
- virginity: ???, age 19
- notable relationships: Drew (crush/love), age 29; Berges (love/friendship), age 25-present.
- current relationship: none
- cold, stubborn, blunt, driven, smart, somber, neat (bit OCD – hygenic, doesn’t like clutter)
MBTI: INTJ – the scientist
- calls everything “ridiculous”
- playfully foul mouth: fucking, hell (especially sharp tongue when she’s angry)
- hobbies: mindless TV and trashy magazines, drinking with friends
- job: OB/GYN
- education: medical degree
- drugs?: no, though she’ll drink when out with friends, and coffee when she’s working late
- sex?: with her vibrator, usually
- god?: atheist
- her parents?: are a joke
money // winning // being the best // cats // quiet // sleeping // saying what she thinks // men who can take her sass // men who can sass her back // dry martinis // trashy gossip magazines // contest shows // luxurious cars // instrumental music
happy couples // strangers // rain // snow // too much sunshine // being hot // being cold // dogs (and most animals) // most meats // children // crying // allergies // noise // being woken up early // feelings // saying “thank you” // saying she’s sorry // losing
“Bluff” by Pilot Speed
1. mood: grumpy
2. grew up: with her big brother
3. favorite food: shrimp fajitas
4. favorite color: gray
5. favorite weather: none, prefers air-conditioning
6. favorite drink: dry martini
7. currently reading: Entertainment Weekly
8. most important job: doctor
9. if he/she had one wish: to be left alone
10. thing he/she loves most in the world: sleeping in
11. one word to describe him/her: prickly
12. something else: she’s trying
15 random things:
1. She likes reading trashy gossip magazines – she doesn’t care much for fiction, and doesn’t get poetry (sorry, Drew).
2. She watches American Idol and Dancing With The Stars – she likes to see them mess up.
3. Her parents divorced when she was seven months old.
4. She’s mostly a vegetarian, or at least very picky about what meats she eats. She likes shrimp, especially in fajitas.
5. She doesn’t particularly like to be touched or hugged.
6. She lost her virginity at 19, to some mostly randomly chosen guy in college. She wasn’t holding onto her virginity for sentimental reasons, she just didn’t have many romantic possibilities and wasn’t very bothered to make it happen.
7. She hates weather – all kinds of weather, all seasons. She’d prefer to live in air-conditioning year round.
8. She’s allergic to dust, ragweed, grass, and cedar.
9. The best feeling in the world is achievement. She likes concrete goals that have strategic plans of execution. She knows exactly where she sees herself in one year, five years, or ten years. And she’ll probably get there too.
10. Her ten year plan has no goal for marriage. Romantic feelings usually only leave her feeling overwhelmed and confused.
11. She loves sleeping in late.
12. She laughs at her own jokes.
13. She hates giving up.
14. She and Eric both put themselves through school, not a drop of help from either parent.
15. Their mother is on her third marriage, their father on his fourth. She and Eric grew up in a chaotic and aggressive home where the two of them were the only consistency they ever knew.