Questions Killigan

Name: Does the name have any special significance or meaning? If so, what? Does the character know this meaning? Does the meaning of the name apply to the character or is it an ironic statement about them? (For example, calling a big man “Tiny”)

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Age: Is this age young or old for the society the character comes from? Is the character considered an adult? A child? An elder?

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Sex: Is the character male, female or something else? Are there social restrictions/benefits to being one gender or another?

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Gender: Is the character’s physical sex the same as the gender they identify with or is it different? (i.e. are they physically female, but feel they were born male) Does their society accept this or are they shunned because of it? (Don’t think that a society has to be ‘modern’ to be accepting of different sexualities; the Plains Indians and the Vikings are two societies who recognized the concept of being trans gendered long before the word was even coined.)

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Physical Description: What does your character look like?

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Sexuality: Is your character homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual or something else? Is their sexuality considered improper by their society or is it accepted? (Once again, modern societies do not have the market cornered on acceptance; the Vikings had words for homosexual behaviour, which means they understood the concept and appear to have more or less accepted it…so long as it didn’t get in the way of someone having kids.)

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Race/Ethnicity/Culture of Origin: What race/ethnicity is your character? What culture does your character come from? Is it different from the supposed native culture of his people? (i.e. is he the child of immigrants who identifies more with his adopted culture than his home culture?) How does the rest of the world see their race/ethnicity? Is this view stereotypical, and if so, is it a negative stereotype (all black men are lazy) or a positive stereotype (all Asians are smart and good at math)? How well does your character fit this superimposed mould? (Keep in mind that just because a stereotype is positive, that doesn’t mean it is true or that members of that group like being lumped into that stereotype. Personally, I dislike the stereotype that all women are maternal and nurturing, even though I exhibit nurturing and maternal behaviours. Also, race and culture can be two different things.) Click on the link above for definitions of culture, race and ethnicity.

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Religion: What does your character believe in? What god/gods do they follow? Or do they follow any? Are their gods real beings or simply abstractions? What do they think happens after death? Are their beliefs typical to their culture? If not, how do they differ and how do others perceive this difference within the group?

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Social Standing: Where does your character stand on the social ladder? High? Low? Knocked off completely? How/why are they in this social position? What other factors contribute to their social standing? What ones detract from it?

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Occupation: What does your character do for a living? Do they enjoy their work? If so, why? If not, why not? Why do they stay? Are they free to change jobs or do social/legal issues bind them? (For example, someone who is under contract to complete a job can’t easily quit without risking being sued for breach of contract. Or, in a hunter/gatherer society, a hunter can’t easily switch to doing something else, simply because there’s not much else to do and because the tribe relies on him.)

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Education: What sort of education does your character have? Did private tutors teach him or did she learn how to sail a boat from her grandmother? If the character's society is literate, can your character read? If so, how well? If not, why not? Can he or she recognize other important symbols? (For example: even illiterate people in the US can recognize a stop sign by its shape.) Can your character count? Do mathematics? If so, how high? What other knowledge would your character have that might not be valued by his society, but which is valued by him? (Example: someone who can recite every episode of Star Trek in order. Or a field hand who can sing.) Keep in mind that while a society may not have formal schools, children are still taught the things they need to know. Yes, your barbarians may not go to college, but they will be trained by their elders to know whatever it is they need to know to be successful adults.

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Environment: Where does your character live? What is the physical landscape like? The geography, the weather, the climate, how do these things affect your character’s life.

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Politics: How does your character feel about the people governing him? This can be his tribal chief, his king, his feudal lord, or his president. Does he respect his leaders or mistrust them or both? Or something else? Does he like the way things are run or does she seek a change? For either, why? How connected does he feel to his leaders? Does she feel they have her best interests at heart or are they something she rarely thinks about?

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Ethics: What does your character consider ethical behaviour? What would he or she never do and why? What does your character consider to be unethical behaviour? How rigid are his or her standards?

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Family: What is your character's family like? Consider the family they came from and any family they have started on their own. How do they relate to their family members? How well do they know their own lineage? How important is the concept of family to them?

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Life Experiences: When/how did your character first learn about death? Was it the loss of a pet? A grandparent? A sibling? A parent? How did this affect them? When was their first sexual experience? Was it a positive one or a negative one? How has it affected them? Who was this character's first crush? Have they had a first crush yet? What events do they consider most important in shaping their life? Which are least important? What milestones have they been through? Coming of age ceremonies? Important social rituals? (For example: in modern America, the first day of school is an important ritual/coming of age event, as is getting your driver's license. For hunter/gatherers, making your first kill as a hunter might be an important milestone.)

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Mobility: What is the farthest your character has ever been from home? Why did she travel that far and whom did she travel with? How broad is her perception of the world? Is it limited to her village or does it encompass an entire galaxy? Or is it somewhere in between?

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Outlook: How does your character view the world? Is he an optimist or is she a pessimist? Is life a bowl of cherries or is it the pits? Is this life a preparation for rewards in heaven or is it the only chance we get so we better make it good or will we be back around in a new life? What gets your character down? What cheers her up? How does he face adversity?

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Personality: How would other people describe your character? As a nice guy? As a real jerk? Is she the kind of person you go to when you need help getting things straightened out or could she not organize her way out of a paper bag?

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Hobbies: Are there things that your character likes to do whenever there’s some time left?

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'General Favourites’: What’s the favourite food/colour/instrument/… of your character??? Please enter everything you think might add to color your character (there’s no need to fill in all the details, but it’s nice to know your character usually wears blue, no?

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Miscellaneous: Here's where you answer all the questions that weren't answered above. Add anything and everything you think you need to know about your character. Don't be surprised if you come up with ideas for your character's personality as you work on your story. Make note of anything that comes up in the process of creation and be willing to adjust your character and your story if need be.

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