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Your Guide to
Adding a Character

So. You have a pet page, you have a layout, and you have some text. But do you have a character?

Unfortunately, we're seeing less characters of late. Links more often than not comprise of a list, with at least several visuals of clothing and a celebrity / photobucket play by. This does not make a character (: But what does? I've comprised a guide that should help in making a well rounded, fully developed, three dimensional character. If you're looking to better your roleplaying skills, you oughta check out The RP Guide.

Please note, this is not a structure for writing a character's page. Seriously, unless you want everyone to know everything about your character, I don't recommend it. Use as many points as you want as prompts to help you write, or else as chardev questions, but please; no more OH MY DAYS, YOU WANT US TO WRITE HOW MUCH?! (:

CREDIT BACK TO HERE IF YOU USE THIS GUIDE IN ANY WAY. It's only polite, yeah?
If you see anyone who hasn't credited this guide, please let me know. It would help me out greatly.

Please consider adding your name on the FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, IS CREDIT SO HARD TO ADD? petition C: Just NM me to show your support.

Format:
Important information.
Advice / development questions to help you further your explanation.

Basic Attributes

Name.
What does the name mean? Who named them?

Nickname/s.
Do they like these? Where did the aliases originate from?

Age and D.O.B.
Be reasonable about their age. If you're going to make them a master of the sword and / or martial arts, please don't make them sixteen.

Race/ethnicity.
Include parents' ethnicity if mixed-race. If it is an unlikely hybrid, explain why this match came about.

Social class.
Their social and economic standing and their attitude to it.

Physical Appearance

Describe, in detailed paragraphs, exactly what your character looks like. This can be complimented with a visual, though remember to credit whoever the visual came from.

Current height and weight, and basic build.
Use a growth chart to make sure your character is not underweight, unless this is the look you are going for. Try to explain why they were underweight if that is the case, and keep in mind what era your character comes from.

Posture and stance.
Do they have good or bad posture? Why is this? How do they sit / stand normally? How do they sit / stand when under pressure, or in an uncomfortable situation?

Gait.
How do they walk? Is it a fast pace or do they take their time?

Hair colour and style.
Is the colour natural? How does s/he style his/her hair each morning? How long does this take?

Eye colour and shape.
Not everyone has huge, almond shaped eyes, and blue is rare, green even more so. If their eyes change colour at all, why is this? If you can't explain why without using the phrase "because it's fantasy!", then drop the trait.

Make up.
Do they wear any? Are they comfortable without make up?

Clothing style.
Do they have a specific style, or are they still trying to find it? Do they conform to fashion, or are they more charity and hand-me-downs? What is their usual informal / formal wear like? What do they sleep in?

Physical Abilities

Not to be confused with emotional or mental abilities.

Abilities and limitations.
What can they / can't they do physically? i.e., certain sports, fitness levels, physical health problems.

Strengths and weaknesses.
What are they best at? What are they worst at? Do they like what they're strong at / hate what they're weak at?

Favourite / worst activity.
What physical activity do they enjoy the most? The least? Why is this? Did any positive / negative experiences happen in relation to this activity?

Career and Lifestyle

Occupation.
How long have they been in employment? Is it full time or part? Do they enjoy their job? What is their attitude towards their job? Is the pay good? What do they like best about the job: the pay, the type of career, their co-workers, or is something else appealing?

Dream career.
What did they want to be when they were younger? Are they in their dream career? How did they land that job? If they aren't, why not? How do they feel about this?

Career motivation.
What inspires them to work in the job that they do? How do they motivate themselves when they're feeling apathetic?

Accomplishments.
What age did they achieve them? Are they still proud of them? Were these achievements recognised? Who helped them achieve, or was it a solo effort?

Clubs/organisations/unions.
Are they a member of any sort, including loyalty schemes? Do they have any strong opinions about their membership? How did they join in the first place? Why are they still with the club/organisation/union?

Past time activities.
What are their favourite things to do on the weekend? What about after a hard day? How do they relax? What are their hobbies, and does anyone close to them share these hobbies?

Psychology

Basic personality.
What personality traits do they encompass? What do they do when they're worried / nervous / under pressure / angry / relaxed? How do they react to different situations? When are they most comfortable? Why is this? How do they react to different types of people?

Defining characteristics.
What about their personality is really unique to them? What do other people think of first when asked about your character's personality? What really stands out about them?

Outlook on life.
Are they an optimist or a pessimist? Extrovert or introvert?

Mental vs emotional.
Do they rely more on thought or on feeling? Do they trust faith more or facts?

Humour, or lack of.
Are they a naturally funny person? What's their humour like — self mocking, dry, sarcastic? If they're not funny, do they wish they were? Do they even know they're not funny?

Motivation.
What gets them up each morning? What motivates them each day in the short term? What motivates them on a monthly and yearly basis?

Goals.
What is their outer (physical) goal? What is their inner (emotional) goal? What are their ambitions for one year, five years and ten years? Why do they have these goals?

Desires.
What do they really want from life? What do they hope for?

Phobias.
What really scares them? Why do they have this fear? How does it affect them in their day to day life?

Secrets.
What secrets do they have? Have they told anyone these secrets? If so, who, why and when? How does keeping these secrets affect them?

Superstitions.
What are they superstitious about? Why do they think this way? Who first told them about the superstition, or is it a personally developed one?

Mental Abilities

Abilities and limitations.
What can they / can't they do mentally? i.e., certain subjects at school, their IQ, mentally challenging activities, mental or emotional health problems.

Strengths and weaknesses.
What are they best at? What are they worst at? Do they like what they're strong at / hate what they're weak at?

Favourite / worst activity.
What mental activity do they enjoy the most? The least? Why is this? Did any positive / negative experiences happen in relation to this activity?

Educational experiences.
Were they educated? If so, did they enjoy it? What do they think they gained from it? What were the best / worst experiences? What experience changed them the most?

Personal History

Place of birth.
Where were they born? Do they still live in the same area, or have they moved?

Childhood.
What was their life like pre-thirteen. Did they have a good or bad childhood? What do they remember most vividly about it? Why does that memory stand out so much? What was growing up like? Did they have strict discipline, or were they free to do as they pleased? How has this affected them?

Adolescence.
What were their teenage years like? Did they rebel, or were they more relaxed? Did discipline change at all when they were a teenager? Did they respect changes or did they feel it was unfair?

Hardships.
What have they had to struggle through? How has this changed them as a person? Did they have to struggle through alone, or did they have support? Has their life generally been easy or difficult?

Regrets.
Have they any serious regrets? Did their life so far work out like they expected?

Direction.
How have they ended up on their current path? Was it by choice or did someone force them into it? Do they like the way their life is heading? Why / why not?

Trauma.
Did anything serious happen in their past that ultimately changed them forever, and that they can't forget or forgive. Please give this area considerable thought; a cheap Freudian back story, simply for back story's sake, will not improve your character. People are incredibly complex, and reflect this in their psyche by making the emotional or mental consequence to the trauma deeper than what a child would assume.

Family History

Parental figures.
Include: names, ages, ethnicity, social standing, whether they are still alive, and what their relationship with their child is.

Siblings.
Separate this per individual. Include: names, ages, ethnicity, social standing, whether they are still alive, and what their relationship with their sibling is.

Immediate relatives.
i.e children, aunts, uncles, godparent, grandparent. Include: names, ages, ethnicity, social standing, whether they are still alive, and what their relationship with the character is.

Brief family history.
Where did the family originate from? How has the family changed from the last generation to this? What was it like growing up in this size and build of family?

Relationships.
In general, do they like or dislike their family? Do they have regular contact, or are they a black sheep? What lessons will they take from their upbringing for if / when they raise children — or, if they are already a parent, are they already taking examples from their upbringing?

Affiliates

This guide is sister site to The RP Guide, written by the fabulous Tegri. I highly recommend checking it out.

Credit

This guide was written by Vin, with the help of Tegri.

If you use this guide, credit it. I worked extremely hard on it, and would like the recognition, kthx. We even have a button now, courtesy of the fabulous Ellie! Scroll down to check it out. Crediting has never been so simple (:

Credit for the basic layout goes to the marvellous Rach.

And of course, a huge thank you to anyone who has either used this guide, or passed it on to someone else.

Copy & Paste

For those of you too lazy to write your own kudos, we now have a simple copy & paste credit button (again, thanks to Ellie). I don't care how you credit, with the button or with text, but if you're lazy, this will take all of... five seconds tops? No excuses, guys.




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It is a journey
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I want to stay on Neopets,
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