I know, I’m blogging a lot this week! I can’t help it—I’ve been learning so much at my Dark Fantasy writing class and I’m coming home each day just buzzing with stuff I want to share.
Yesterday’s assignment was to take an online quiz as one of your characters and note which question gave you the most difficulty. This should give you an idea of where you need to learn more about your character.
I’ve never enjoyed doing those character worksheets you’ll see a lot of writers talking about. Whenever I did them, it felt very forced to me. Sure, I’d have notes on what kind of food my character liked to eat, whether she wore classic clothing or grungewear, or what kind of handbag she carried, but I always felt like I was just grabbing things out of thin air rather than having my character develop in a more organic manner.
Well, I just have to say, this online quiz assignment just blew me away. Unlike filling in a worksheet, where the questions are all pretty standard (favorite food? childhood incident that scarred your character? favorite color?), the questions in a lot of these quizzes are fun (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever taken one you saw someone post on Facebook). And I could actually feel myself thinking like my character—being my character—as I took the quiz!
And best of all, after you’re done you get an assessment which pretty much lays out what your character is like about certain things, and (at least when I did it) it was pretty spot on to what my character really is like—plus it gave me an idea what he was like in areas I’d never really thought about it.
Taking the quiz added to my knowledge of my character in a way that felt very organic to me. And it was fun.
It didn’t really help me see where I needed to learn more about a character, because I don’t normally do much character work before I begin writing, other than the occasional back story. But what a great tool for getting to know your character better!
So I’m adding this to my writer’s toolbox now. I’m also putting together a list of online quizzes that will be helpful for developing characters. So far I’ve got the following:
Myers-Briggs Test The classic psych personality test, this is the initial one I had my character take.
You Just Get Me With this one you answer 40 easy questions and you get a personality “bubblechart” when you’re finished.
Enneagram Test This one will place your character as one type among nine different types.
Which Three Words Best Describe You This one probably works best when you’re first starting out developing your character and know very little about her.
What Would Be Your Fate in the Hunger Games? Okay, this one is mostly pure fun, but my character did find out he’d win the games through sheer cunning.
What Career Should You Actually Have? Another fun one, but the little blurb they give you on why you should have that career is interesting.
The Sorting Hat Quiz This one isn’t on Pottermore but has all the questions from Pottermore. Aside from getting sorted, going through the questions as your character is very helpful because there are a lot of character revealing questions. My character belongs to Ravenclaw. I kind of knew that going in.
What about you? Have you come across any personality test or online quizzes that might be helpful for building a fictional character?