Character Building / Characters / Writing

Build a Character: The Key to Physical Attributes

Once you’ve selected your character’s core personality, it’s time to add some layers.

And as far as attributes go, the first ones we always go to are physical. I tend to forage through the internet for months until I find the right inspiration, but this might work a little better. Who knows?

Remember to use your core type here and take into account how that type of person would react. An ENFJ is highly organized, so in a zombie apocalypse they’ve probably got the neatly stacked and hidden stash that everyone wants. An Artisan would probably have the best quality items, the best deals and tradeables, but I seriously doubt it’ll be organized. More than likely, it’s all stuffed in and hodge podge, but by god if they aren’t able to find what they want.

I got totally sidetracked with the organization. I really need to clean today. Guys, it’s killing me. And I’m about 99% sure I’m allergic to my sister’s cat (which has unofficially become my cat while she’s out of state). Ugh. Fur. ONWARD!

Race and Ethnicity

We all know that these are massive contributors to how a person turns out. When you add in your core personality it will make it clear exactly what kind of struggles that might have entailed. How about an example?

I have a character who is a take charge kind of person. They’re great in stressful circumstances, but will go with the flow until a crisis occurs. Once it does, they step up and own the situation. Now imagine if that same character is a member of an enslaved population. That sounds like an inciting event and a whole new story. (no, bad me. I have a WIP. Do not..ok)

Side-note: Try a sub-class system. Sub-classes are the lowest tiers of society who are legally free, but have high prejudice working against them. They are often made to follow extra laws: curfew, off-limits areas, cleansing rituals, etc. It’s always an interesting way to flirt with worldbuilding.

Be careful of stereotypes here, but otherwise, if it makes sense go as wild as you want.

How would their ethnicity pressure the character into certain behaviors? Are they strict? Would they push to be an overachiever? Do they have a particular greeting that is different in their culture than in others?

Physical Attractiveness

In your world, would your character be considered attractive? What are the beauty standards of the culture?

Now most people are plain, let’s just be honest here. So it makes sense that the majority of your world would also be plain. The important thing is how they handle their ‘physical’ place in the world. Do they augment their beauty or alter their features? Do they ignore beauty standards altogether? Do they take their attractiveness for granted? Do they have some form of dysmorphia? Do they shun those who are not in the same attractive ‘class’ as them?

What about athleticism? Are they fit? Graceful? More awkward than a pelican doing the chicken dance? Attractiveness is amplified by certain qualities. Take those into account.

Face, Hair, Eyes, Complexion, and Clothing

It’s like everything but the kitchen sink in this last section, but I only have one thing to say about it. Depending on your core personality, your character will want to wear different styles, highlight different aspects of themselves.

The eccentric artisan may change their hair often. A guardian, who is likely to be practical, will wear practical clothing and hair styles.

Let’s bring this back to reality for a minute. The macho guy who rolls his sleeves tightly around the bicep is trying to show off his arm muscles. The girl who wears flouncy skirts and blouses is accentuating her femininity. *(I’m all about people wearing whatever they want just because they like it. I’m just trying to create an image for you to draw from for writing purposes. Examples aren’t a place subtlety works well.)

You can fill out questionnaire after questionnaire, but the reality is that if you don’t do it with a core personality in mind, then you’ll probably end up redoing it.

Keep an eye out for the Natural Attributes post coming up.

If you’re waiting on the Myers-Briggs detailed summaries, then I’m warning you it’ll be a bit. I’m researching, but I haven’t compiled it into an easy, snack-sized portion. So hang in there with me.

Keep Writing, Lovelies

Moran

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