I have been asked to do some revisions on one of my manuscripts and something I am to do is work on character development of some of the supporting characters.
I've been having some fun doing it and thought I'd share with you how it's done.
OBSERVE - the Character Questionairre!
This is where you feel like you have multiple personalities because you are not answering the questions as yourself, but are channeling your character, what they think, feel and have experienced in their lives.
Much of the stuff in the questionaire - probably most in this case - won't end up in the book but I find it really helps you gain a thorough understanding of who that character is, how they would react to situations and why.
So this is a bit about Coby.
Name and nicknames (if any): Coby
Physical description--tall, short, or medium height? Straight hair, curly, wavy, bristle-head? Slender fingers or knobby joints? Thick wrists? Tiny feet? Chin too weak or too strong for the rest of the face?
-Blond Beach hair. It sticks up and in all directions without any assistance of product (really dirty)
-Weedy – big hands, knobbly elbows, long skinny legs.
-Body out of proportion, hasn’t grown into it yet.
Are you single? Married? Divorced? Widowed?
-Single – too nervous to ask girls out. Also too chilled. Not really thinking about girls yet.
What do you do for a living?
Are you any good at it? Why or why not?
Irritating habits--bites fingernails, leaves shoes in the middle of the floor, turns the car engine off with the radio on the highest volume, clears throat all the time...
Runs hands through his dirty hair which makes it stick up more. People don’t want to touch his hands.
A bit vague, doesn’t listen/kind of stupid in an endearing pet-like way.
Eating habits--granola cruncher, junk-food junkie? adores waffles? vegetarian except for steak once a month?
HE likes junk food – chocolate and chips as much as he can get, but his parents are vegan and eat a lot of Tofu. There is a lot of tofu in Coby’s life.
Sleeping habits? --Early to bed, early to rise? Sleep all day, party all night? Poor sleeper? Snores? Grouchy before 8 am?
Heavy sleeper. Sleeps like a log. Practically hibernates.
Hobbies? Activities? Crafts? Sports? Collect anything?
Skateboarding, surfing, video games, helping Miles with pranking people.
Worst disappointment while growing up? Major disappointment overall in life?
Best things that happened while growing up? Best events overall in life?
Met Harvey and Miles at the start of junior high. Best friends for life – feels he can be himself around them and they like him for it.
Proudest moment and most shameful moments?
What are your goals in life? In your job?
To have a mellow, happy life. Not work too hard. Doesn’t need to be the best, just wants to get by.
Ever had a serious injury? Broken bone or bones? Emergency operation? Motorcycle crash? Internal injuries? Concussion?
Broke his leg when he jumped off the roof because Miles convinced him he could fly. He couldn’t.
Ever had a serious illness? Staph infection in a hip bone? Pneumonia? Malaria? South American amoebas
Did you change much after high school? After college? Why or why not?
Who were you closest to in your family while growing up? Who are you closest to in your family now?
Dad – dad’s just as mellow as Coby. He was a surf bum but is now a bank teller. They go surfing on the weekends.
Children? Grandchildren? Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces , etc? Pets?
Ever hated anyone? --who? and why?
Who have you loved? Who did you love best, and why? Ever felt guilt about love? Have you ever betrayed anyone? What did you do?
Loves Maiyuki (from the first day she joined their friendship group) but is too shy to tell her. Besides – she likes someone else.
*I totes didn't see that coming, but I think it works. But I don't think it's going to end up in the book. It might colour some of his interactions with her but it won't be obvious. But I like it.
Ever witnessed or experienced violence? What was your reaction to seeing or experiencing that violence?
Ever committed a violent act? What was it, and why did you do it?
Punching Miles and Harvey when they’re annoying.
Ever risked something important or made a sacrifice for someone else? Would you do it again?
Got 2 weeks detention in primary school when he pretended it was him who hit a baseball through the art room window. He saw the kid who did it but he looked so scared Coby took the blame for him. They never talked about it.
Oddest thing that ever happened to you -- Caught in tsunami? Received a shipment of 114 pairs of shoes by mistake? Fell off a cliff into a banana tree and survived?
When surfing, he found a TV set at the bottom of the ocean. That was pretty weird.
Anything idiosyncratic or otherwise interesting? (E.g., plays the concertina and sings sea shanties in dives.)
I haven't answered all the questions, and you don't have to, this is just for private use, anyway!
I can't remember where I got the questions from. Somewhere on the internet. If you know then by all means tell me and I'd love to attribute them. Attribute...is that the right word? Having a mental blank here...Wanting to give credit where credit is due!
So what do you think of Coby? He's not a big part of the book but I kind of love him. And by knowing all these things about him I can show the reader his best and wackiest sides too.
Buh bye now!