Internet Universe Welcome to a New Little Series,
I’m breaking down character profiles and explaining them with some opinionated comments about it, per usual.
This segment is about the basics. I’m sure that you’ve gone onto your favorite search engine and searched up character descriptions and came up with pretty much the same outline to which to define your characters. But is everything really necessary for YOUR story? Customization is key. This is where I am coming to do a little explaining about what you need, what you may want to add, and what doesn’t necessarily need to be there.
If you’re like me, you hate doing character descriptions and would prefer just to envision them in your head. Newsflash, this proves to have inconsistencies. So, it needs to be written down and held in a safe place (computer, special notebook, in your bed side table, anywhere.) You are going to want to pick out every little segment you don’t need to save time, but not everything can be cut.
Name, Age, Nationality (debatable), Hometown/Where Born, Current Residence, Occupation (Current), Talents/Skills, Spouse or Significant Other(s), Children, and Relationship Skills.
You cannot leave out the name of your character for obvious reasons or the age. The age is to show you not only how old the character is, but how the character should act. Common knowledge, no legal smoking before 18, no legal drinking until 21, brain isn’t fully developed until 25. This means if you have a fourteen year old character she will have to sneak around to do everything, which means no bars that will serve her (depending on how old she looks). Also means she will be rather immature as well.
Nationality is debatable for being a must have. Yes it shows the race in which to describe your character but if it only does that, then nationality isn’t what you’re looking for. Nationality helps describes traditions that the character grew up with and if they don’t celebrate the traditions then it isn’t particularly needed but if the story requires it, then of course use it.
Hometown and Where your character was born can be different. Say your character is born in New York, New York but grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and they associate with Albuquerque then there hometown will not be New York. Where they currently live is needed because, chances are, that’s where the current story will be taking place. Depending where they live and how big of the place they live in, will give you options for your occupation choices for them. The current one is needed to provide a life-like venture for the character. Let’s face it, we all have jobs, thus it helps us to associate with the character more willingly.
Talents and Skills are needed to help show what the character can and will do either naturally or learned. Everyone has a talent and a skill. These talents and skills must prove some point to why we, as readers, will want to follow the character throughout their life (because that’s what a story or a novel is, a telling of the character’s story or a character in an event. Which the event will change the character’s life.)
Relationship skills and their significant other(s) are needed because we have skills with people. Every story may not include love interests but it does include relationships (or lack of) between people. It’s the basis for most story telling. Thus for, important and a must have in the description of the character.
Children is important for the basics, if they have children. In place of children if they do not have any, I put their views on children, if they want children, and if they would enter a relationship with someone with kids.
Birth Order, Siblings, Grand Parents, Parents, Past Occupation(s)
These are all listed as maybes for the sheer fact that they probably will not be needed. Unless you have a character below 18 or someone living at home with their family, it probably will not be needed. However, if you believe in that birth order can affect a person’s personality (even if they do not live at home), then feel free to include it. Parents are important yes, but if they are not important in the novel, then there’s no reason to include them in the description. Same with past occupations.
Socioeconomic Levels as a child and adult, Income, and Salary
These are listed as if’s for the sheer fact that unless you have a novel that depicts the errors of classes in society and breaking the lines between classes, then we really do not need to know that your character is a billionaire living in a dinky town. In a small town, rarely will you find people that are technical wizards and such. Only in a city and even then it costs bank to get a place so commonly known things don’t need to be expressed upon.
That’s it for today, check out here next week for the Physical Characteristics/Personality segment.