Kitty's Writing Toolbox

Unlike the World-Building Worksheet, this one isn't geared towards creating a character for a specific outline. Partly because character ideas come individually without accompanying storylines a fair bit (at least they do for me) and partly because this has manifested at least once as a roleplaying tool for various tabletop and online games.

Full Name:
Primary Language:
Secondary Language(s):

Spouse(s)/Serious Lover(s):

Defining marks (natural):
Defining marks (added):

The Character Physically
1. What is the character's stature and build? Is s/he overweight? Thin? How much of his/her build is muscle and how much fat? Is s/he visibly out of shape?

2. Describe her/his posture. Is it good? Does s/he carry himself well? Is s/he crooked and bent over? Slouched? Straight?

3. Is s/he in good shape or out of condition? Is s/he coordinated or does s/he move awkwardly or stiffly? If there is combat, would the character be swift and capable or sluggish and slow to react? Is s/he a trained dancer or some other physical profession that would give the character grace?

4. How is her/his health? Any illnesses or conditions? Any physical disabilities?

5. Is s/he physically active or sedentary? How is the character's stamina? Does the character tire easily because of lack of habitual exercise or physical disability, or is the character capable of going for a few hours without significant rest, or days?

6. Does s/he move in straight or curved lines? Is s/he physically tight or fluid? Tense and controlled or relaxed and free? Is the character free with motions or largely still, economizing movement?

7. What are her/his chief efforts? What actions is s/he accustomed to taking? What physical movements are habitual and embedded in muscle memory?

8. Is the character good-looking by the standards of the setting, pretty, beautiful, average, plain, ugly, disfigured?

9. How aware is the character of herself/himself physically? Health and physical ability? Her/His looks?

10. Describe the character physically, as you would in the story itself. Skin, hair, typical grooming, body shape, teeth and nails and any habitual ornamentation or medical devices.

The Character's Appearance
1. How many clothes does this character have? What sort of clothes, and why? How much ornamentation (bracelets and earrings, body piercing items, hair decorations) does the character have? In a given day, how many does this character use? In a given month? For what purpose? Is s/he aware of fashion, does s/he go through longer cycles (seasonal to multiple years) of wearing the same style(s), then change drastically? Why?

2. What are her/his favorite articles of clothing? Why? How often does s/he wear them? What about ornaments?

3. What colors are the clothes? Is there a wide range? Bright or dull? What are her/his favorite colors to wear? What are the character's favorite materials to wear?

4. Were they bought or home-made, hand-me-downs, expensive? How long has the character owned the wardrobe? Is there a mix of origins and ages to the clothes and ornaments?

5. Do her/his clothes fit well? Is s/he comfortable in them or does the character fight and tug and pull at the clothes and decorations? Do the clothes increase or decrease his/her confidence?

6. Does s/he care for her/his clothes? Keep them up and neat? Is s/he worried about how they look?

The Character's Voice
1. Does s/he speak in a high or low pitch voice? When might s/he be higher than usual? When lower? Is there a wide range to pitch and volume or is the character's voice largely consistent and even?

2. Is s/he a loud or soft talker? Resonant or reedy, windy, or nasal? Is the character a trained speaker or actor? Does s/he know how to project the voice?

3. Does the character show emotion through voice or is s/he tightly controlled in that aspect? Make an effort to speak properly or not bother to control his/her words at all?

4. Is there an accent? Anything unusual in pronunciation? Emphasis? Phrasing? Does the character speak with consistent and correct grammar? Does the character stutter and 'um' a lot?

5. Is s/he self-conscious when s/he speaks to others? How large a group could the character speak to before s/he became self-conscious? [code-switching goes here]

The Character's Mind
1. Is the character clever and quick-thinking? Slow of thought and ponderous? If quick, does s/he rush to judgment and conclusion or are his/her thought processes just that quick? If slow, is it because the character wants to examine every angle or because it takes them longer than most of the other characters?

2. Does the character grasp new ideas quickly or slowly? What about new ideas that contradict what the character previously thought?

3. What kind of education has s/he had? [oh lord the class/race/gender questions depending on your world might go here, too]

4. What subjects does the character have knowledge or expertise in?

5. Is the character logical, rational, or emotional? How does the character approach a logical or logistical problem? An emotional problem?

6. Does the character think out things before speaking or can s/he "think on her feet" while speaking?

7. Does the character have contemplative times? Under what circumstances? What are the recurring issues or questions s/he thinks about when thoughtful and at rest?

8. Is the character an idealist or a pragmatist? Thoughtful or inclined to action? How does the character balance thought and action? How does the character relate abstracts with practical, solid concepts?

The Character's Emotions and Personality
1. Does the character regain energy from being around people or from solitary activities, or being around one or two specific people? Does the character get along well with people? How much effort does it take for him/her to charm someone? How about a group of people?

2. Does the character have many friends? Close friends? What is the balance between the two, many casual friends but no close friends, many casual and one or two close?

3. Is the character hot-blooded or cool-headed? Does the character have good or poor impulse control?

4. Does the character have a narrow or wide range of emotions? Do they show often? Does the character fight his/her emotions or allow them and try to work with them? How does the character feel about emotions in general?

5. Is the character sensitive or receptive to new people or calloused and/or suspicious? Is the character cautious about trusting others with one part of themselves, all parts, just their emotions...?

6. Is the character an aggressive or reactive person? Does the character fight his/her surroundings, look for the negative, or is the character more passive and inclined to let things happen to him/her, or does the character seek out positive things and actively pursue goals?

7. In a danger or emergency situation would the character go to it or run away from it? In what situations is the character incapable of thinking clearly or reacting productively? Is the character more nervous or calm?

8. Does the character have a sense of humor? Is the character capable of making jokes or is s/he better at appreciating them? Can s/he see humor in unfunny situations or dark situations; does the character use humor as a coping mechanism or understand the use of it? Can s/he laugh at himself? Is the character's sense of humor cruel or generous?

9. Under what conditions could the character be harmful or mean or cruel to another person? What are the character's moral and ethical boundaries?

10. Is the character a loving person, either romantically or filially? Is s/he capable of or inclined to relate to others in a loving way? Is the character loved by others? In a romantic or a familial way?

The Character's Wealth, Power, and Influence
1. Does the character have much money? Other material resources? Is it renewable or finite? Does it provide position or respect from others for her/him?

2. Is the character generous or selfish with her/his money and possessions? Is this generosity need based or whimsical?

3. Is the character socially prominent? From wealth, position or office, family history, ability or accomplishment? Is the character socially respected or feared, and how much influence can the character bring to bear for a purpose? How much is the character willing to bring to bear under ordinary circumstances?

4. Does the character rate high in the pecking order with her/his household? How is the character's outside influence or wealth seen by his/her relatives?

5. By what means does the character exert influence over the people around him/her? Is it direct or indirect? Financial/material or influential/social?

8. To whom is the character subservient? To whom does the character owe fealty or respect? Is this submission by choice or unavoidable? Is it within a social framework or agreed upon by the individuals involved?

The Character's Activities
1. How does the character spend her/his free time? What activities does s/he choose to do and what activities must s/he do? What does the character hate to do?

2. What does the character's daily routine consist of?

3. What is the character's profession or work? What does this occupation involve, what sorts of actions and activities?

4. What kinds of leisure activities does the character plan and look forward to, long term? Such as preparing for a tournament or an event, practicing a sport, or creating a complex craft item.

8. Does the character like to eat or drink, or cook, or does s/he look at food as a necessity rather than a pleasure?

9. How important is sex to the character? What sexual activities does s/he partake in? What are his/her emotions regarding sex? Does the character's sexual inclinations or past affect how s/he behaves in the rest of her life and if so, positively or negatively?

10. Does the character enjoy performance or creative arts? How important does the character believe these are to life, in a general sense? In a specific sense, how important does the character believe the arts are to him/her?

Character's Personal Life
1. What are the character's specific religious beliefs? Does s/he belong to a specific sect or creed? Does the character advocate that group's beliefs or only elaborate them when asked? How are these beliefs reflected in the character's actions and activities?

2. How did the character come to the religion? How important is it to the character?

3. How big a role did family play in the character's upbringing? Was the character raised by a family considered normative by his/her society? Was the character raised by his/her biological family, adoptive family, or a mix of both?

4. How does the character define family, chosen or biological? To which does s/he feel stronger ties, or does s/he feel the ties equally?

5. How did the character meet his/her current spouse(s)/serious lover(s)? How did the character meet past ones? How long did it take before the character considered the relationship serious? Before the character proposed marriage, or did the spouse propose?

6. Does the character have children? Does the character want children? How does s/he view the offspring in question, how is his/her relationship with them?

7. Does the character have a physical home or is the character a traveler, preferring not to settle in any one place?

Character's Hopes and Fears
1. What things frighten the character, both abstract concepts and concrete items? What would the character's idea of a terrible fate be?

2. What are the character's hopes and dreams, abstract and concrete? What would the character's idea of the best fate in the world be?

3. What are the character's primary motivations? Are they active or reactive? Solid, tangible goals or concepts?

4. What is one thing the character wouldn't want anyone to find out about her/him?