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Welcome all dreamers, fantasists, bibliophiles, and romantics. Join me Mondays and Fridays for speculation about other worlds, exploration of the human heart and soul in fiction and fact, sojourns in history and science, advice and tidbits in the realms of story, and thoughts on everything in between...

Friday, November 4, 2011

12 Unusual Character Creation Ideas

Winter, or what will pass for it until its official arrival in late December, has arrived, so I’ve started lugging around my sweatshirt everywhere, shivering and huddled, while my husband strolls around in short sleeves and smirks in amusement at me. While thinking of a topic for today and trying to ignore the chill, I started considering less commonly discussed aspects of characters.

Most people think of eye and hair color, height, traumatic childhood experiences, role models, favorite foods, and so forth. But what about temperature preferences and other unusual traits? I prefer warmth; my husband likes the cold. In fact, he likes it so much that he prefers the fan on in winter, a habit I cured him of once we got married.

But what else is there that’s not as likely to be listed on a character creation questionnaire? Here are a few of mine:

1.      Do they prefer cold or warmth? How do they cope with the opposite? Suffer in silence? Complain loudly? Leave? Wear lots of extra clothes? Embrace nudism?

2.      How do they trim their nails? Clippers? Biting? Toes or fingers first? Do they file as well? Do they wait until their nails are daggers, or are they fastidious about taking away any perceptible increase in length?

3.      How do they bathe? Shower? Bath? Sponge bath at the sink? Water hose in the back yard? How often, or do they bathe at all? What gets washed first and last? Why and what does this say about them?

4.      Are they a night person or a morning person and why?

5.      What is their strongest sense? Taste? Hearing? Touch? How can you use this to add a unique touch to the story? (No pun intended.)

6.      What manner of death most frightens them?

7.      What injury would they most like never to endure and why?

8.      Are they one for midnight snacks, or do they stick with a strict eating routine?

9.      What type of weather do they most look forward to?

10.  How would they decorate their Christmas tree or whatever else they use during the holidays?

11.  What would they want their funeral to be like?

12.  If they were in a burning house with all those they loved inside and they could only save one person, who would it be? What might this do to them afterward?

Whatever the question, remember to ask why? What else can you add to this list?

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