Posted in writers' worksheets

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 27

ramonagravitarWorksheet #27 – 50 Questions about your Lead Character

 The following questions are intended to make you think about your character from different perspectives. Your responses can be as short or as long as you wish.

  1. Prior to the events of the story, what would be a typical day in the life of your Lead Character?
  2. What was the worst Day in your Lead Character’s life?
  3. What was the best day?
  4. What does he like best about himself?
  5. What would he like to change?
  6. Where is his happy or peaceful place?
  7. Who had the most influence on him as a child?
  8. Who would be his personal hero or someone he tries to model?
  9. What was his young childhood (before school) like?
  10. Was he rebellious as a teenager?
  11. Who is his confidant?
  12. What does he most regret from his past?
  13. Has he ever lost a loved one (family, friend, lover) to death?
  14. How does he feel about his looks/body?
  15. Where does he go to relax/hang out?
  16. What place does he avoid and why?
  17. Has he ever loved and lost?
  18. What is his pet peeve?
  19. What is his home like?
  20. Is he neat or messy?
  21. What is his fashion style?
  22. What is his greatest fear?
  23. What would he say is his greatest flaw?
  24. Is he trustworthy?
  25. Is he an optimist or a pessimist?
  26. What kind of parent is he/would he be?
  27. Does he have any cherished possessions?
  28. When under stress, what does he do to cope?
  29. What is his family/cultural background?
  30. Is he an introvert or extrovert?
  31. What is his overall state of health?
  32. How would someone meeting him describe him (physically & personality)?
  33. What outside-of-work subject/s fascinate him?
  34. What are his beliefs about ghosts, miracles, paranormal, etc.?
  35. Would he describe himself as content with his life?
  36. Does he miss someone?
  37. Who was/is the love of his life?
  38. How would his neighbors describe him?
  39. Is he dependable? Sentimental? Empathetic? Emotional?
  40. What/who has he walked away from?
  41. What does he dislike about his life?
  42. Does he hold any grudges?
  43. Has he ever done anything he (or someone else) considers unforgiveable?
  44. Would he say his career is headed in the right direction?
  45. If he had a groundhog day, what day would he want to relive over and over?
  46. What day in his life would he like to change?
  47. Does he care what other people think about him?
  48. Is he a good co-worker or partner?
  49. What makes him proud about himself?
  50. Given the choice, would he retire to a cabin in the mountains, a cottage at the seashore, a penthouse in a high-rise, or a farmhouse in the country?

 Please note: All worksheets posted are my original work and intellectual property. I ask that you share the links on social media, and you are welcome to share the worksheets with your critique groups and writing friends with credit given. That being said, these worksheets—despite being posted on the Internet—may not be copied, distributed, or published as anyone’s work but mine. In short: sharing is good, plagiarism is bad.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

Posted in character building, writers' worksheets

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 14

cropped-ramonagravitar.jpgWorksheet #14 – 3 Bios

Writers write bios all the time–for query letters, for a website, for cover copy, for grants and fellowships. I keep several versions of a bio on hand to fit whatever venue needs to know about me.

I urge writers to constantly update their bios. The exercise below kills two birds: it allows you to practice writing a bio and to get to know a character from three perspectives.

  1. Professional – a summary of the character’s current job status or their employment history.
  2. Personal – a summary of the character’s family, relationship status, hobbies, place in the community.
  3. Private – a summary of the character’s interior life or concerns or secrets–what he or she might divulge to a therapist.*

*The private bio might run a little longer if your character is carrying a lot of baggage.

Sample 3 Bios

The samples below are brief–3 to 5 sentences for professional and personal, 5 to 7 sentences for the private. They show the character at the START of the story.

PROFESSIONAL BIO:

Corporal Charlotte Rodney is a 5-year veteran of the Dover Department of Police. She is trained and certified in DARE, Internet Crimes Against Children, Cultural Diversity, Drug Crimes Investigation, and Advanced Collision. She earned a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and a Masters Degree in Strategic Leadership from Neumann University. As a patrol officer, Rodney received multiple commendations after the C&D Canal Bridge bombing. She is the School Resource Office at Dover High School.

PERSONAL BIO:

Charlotte Rodney is 27 years old, the daughter of a Delaware State Senator and the Head Librarian of Kent County, so public service runs in her family. Charlotte was a state champion swimmer in high school, is a member of the Dover Unitarian Church, and a volunteer swimming and self-defense coach at the Boys & Girls Club of Dover. In her free time, she enjoys water sports and fishing, training her rescue Rottweiler named Brutus, and being bossed around by her three young nieces. She is single.

PRIVATE BIO:

Charlotte Rodney’s family is a career asset as well as her Achilles heel. Her father is a charming politician who maintained a longtime affair with a colleague that everyone knows about but never acknowledges. Charlotte’s response has been to over-correct in her own personal integrity, but now that’s being tested. Only Charlotte knows the truth about the day a disturbed young man tried to bomb a local bridge. After negotiating on the catwalk for an hour, Charlotte didn’t jump into the river to save the bomber as the media reported and her department proudly claimed. In truth, after the would-be bomber jumped, Charlotte wobbled and fell over after the guy. That she pulled the man to safety doesn’t matter—she has allowed the lie to stand. Every day, Charlotte is terrified that someone will find out her brave act was bogus.

What am I trying to share about Charlotte in these three bios that I can use as I write the story?

  • She is on a solid career path with a focus on helping young people.
  • She is part of a public family so she is accustomed to public scrutiny.
  • Her career might be affected by local politics, both public and departmental.
  • She is athletic and active.
  • She is educated by not particularly intellectual.
  • She is engaged in the community, again with a focus on young people.
  • She is not married but she’s close to her family.
  • She hates liars but she can’t call out her own father.
  • She’s afraid that, by living a lie, she may be turning into her father.

3 Bios Exercise

Choose a primary character in your story. Write his/her three bios.

Professional:

 Personal:

 Private:

Please note: All worksheets posted are my original work and intellectual property. I ask that you share the links on social media, and you are welcome to share the worksheets with your critique groups and writing friends with credit given. That being said, these worksheets—despite being posted on the Internet—may not be copied, distributed, or published as anyone’s work but mine. In short: sharing is good, plagiarism is bad.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

 

 

Posted in Public readings

August Reading & Workshop

I am happy to be on tap for two dates–a reading and a workshop on character building to start off the month.

AUGUST 4th ART LOOP, 5 – 9 PM at the Delaware Contemporary

1st Friday (Dennis)

Continue reading “August Reading & Workshop”