Mastering English

Creating Great Characters

These tidbits are funny but offbeat. If you're uptight, better leave them alone.

Men vs. Women

Here are several Personality Test web sites. What are your character's personalities? What are their political leanings? You can run these tests 'for' your protagonist and villian, or all of your characters. Heck, while you're at it, try them on yourself!


(Here's a very brief then a more comprehensive test.)

Self Government

Political Compass



Spiritual Belief


Morality Play

Your Morals


Locus of Control Test

Myers-Briggs Test

Jung Typology Test

The Personality Project

You can also do this kind of analysis with good 'ol pencil and paper! This Character Sheet can help you bring your characters to life. Print out or copy this list, then fill out one sheet for each of the major characters in your story.



Born and raised:

What does he/she look like?
(Height, weight, hair, eyes, bald, thin, tall, short, muscular, flabby, etc.)

Facial and body contours:

Habitual posture:

Most used facial expression, showing mood or emotion:

Walks and gestures (characterized by action):

Religion and ethnicity:

Physical, mental, or emotional handicaps or scars:

Tone of voice and way of speaking?
(Relate sound of voice to a specific sound with which the reader is familiar.):

Tempo of speech?
(Slow, measured, jerky, nervous, etc.):

Is she/he married, single, gay, divorced, or shy? Sex life?:

Occupation--what kind of work? How well does he/she do it? If retired, how well did she do it? Good, malcontent, etc.:

What are his hobbies? Sports? T.V.?:


Dress. Is s/he neat? A slob? To establish this, describe his/her dress, closet, a drawer of desk, trunk of car, etc.:

What does he drive?:

Picture him making something with his hands, using a simple tool, shaping wood, model?:

How do her hands behave? Relate them to tangible things that surround her.:

Best friend? Could be an animal:

Men/women friends? Their own sex life?:

Enemies, and why?:

Is she musical? Is there one special instrument that he plays well or badly? Does she play alone, or jam it up for audience of friends or strangers?:

Kinds of music, art, books, reading material?:

(What was his school like? Who was the teacher he respected and why? Who taught her his vocation after school? Who does he look up to in his profession?):

What events, items, pets, pals does he remember for years?:

Other than memories, what are the tangible trinkets she saves and treasures from her past?:

Ambitious? Does he have any goals? Does she set them? Vague or defined?:

Whom does she dream about? Yearn for? Hate?:

Philosophy of life? What does he believe in? Where has he failed or triumphed?:

Which opinion on the editorial page does she agree with or dispute? Argue bitterly? Silently, or to anyone who has to listen?:

Expectations? What does she expect of others? What do others expect of her? How does this affect him and others?:

Description of home?
(Physical, mental, and emotional atmosphere?):

Most important thing to know about character?:

One line characterization:

What trait will make character come alive and why?:

Why is character worth writing about?:

Why is he different from other similar characters?:

Do I like this character? Why?:

Will readers like/dislike this character for same reasons?:

Characters who are remembered are those who are strong in some way--saints, sinners, or combination of both. Why will this character be remembered?:

Food preference?:

Exact state of health? Is she athletic?:

Does he smoke? Drink? What and how much?:

How will this character react in a given situation? Mental, physical, emotional reaction? No reaction?:

What motivates this character?:

First impression as you meet your character walking down the street -- a word, phrase, a warning?:

General physical impression -- cued by posture, stance, stride, and rhythm of movement, body gestures and density of physical build:

Are you reminded of an animal or object?:

Can you sense a color in your character? Something beyond skin color? A color of greed, gentleness, hatefulness, prejudice?:

Does the decade in which your character formed his personality influence him in his actions and philosophy?:

Does he accept the standards of his time or does he rebel?:

How far will this character go to get what she wants?:

How does she handle competition?:

How does he react to children, animals, foreigners, old people? In many societies, stranger and enemy are the same:

How does the character shape the plot? How does the plot shape him?:

Where would he go on vacation if he had a free choice and didn't have to think about money? Check travel sections of newspapers:

Last lie character told?:

Favorite costume for bed?:

What he will die from? Foreshadowing of things to come:

Places where character will typically be found?

Character receiving bad news through the mail, etc:


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