LESSON Writing a Character Bio

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS & CULTURES' started by Diana, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. Putting Together a Great Character Bio
    So, you have this great idea for a character. The best thing you could ever do is to write a bio! A bio is the greatest tool you could ever have for keeping track of all the little details about your character. Who they are as a person. Important events that made them the way they are. Little actions and quirks that make them unique.

    USING A BIO TEMPLATE
    Templates give you all the basic information you need to create a well rounded character that is relevant to the Roleplay you want to join. Not all Roleplays give you a template on what they want in a character bio. If the game you wish to join doesn’t provide one - do one anyway. If you are provided a template, fill it out according to the Game Master’s specifications, and don’t delete anything from it unless it says you can. Game Masters may have specific things they need to know about your character before you begin playing. If there is a problem with your character, they would be able to point it out in your bio and say so before it becomes an issue in the Roleplay.

    Bio Template Resources
    - Mini Bio Template
    - Basic Bio Template
    - Ultimate Bio Template
    - Trait Chart and Personality Components
    - Fiction Writer’s Bio Template


    Below we’re going to talk about the typical areas you will find in a character bio. Each characteristic adds extra dimension to your characters, ultimately creating something unique and interesting to play!

    GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
    Name, Gender, Species/Race, Age, Birthplace, Occupation/Grade, Family, Current Location. These are good stats to give people a basic idea about your character. For these kind of stats, it's perfectly okay to give one or two word answers. It's just a basic foundation on who your character is.

    Basically what you get is: "My name is Julian, I'm 18 year old human female from Canada, and I'm a half-ass psychic. I have no family, and I'm currently homeless on the streets of New York." That's the first few things you tend to learn about a person.

    General Characteristics Resources
    - Fake Person Generator
    - 20,000 Names
    - BabyNames.com
    - BabyNamesWorld.com
    - Kabalarians.com

    PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS
    Height, Hair Color/Style, Eye Color, Distinguishing Marks, General Appearance, Strengths, Weaknesses. All of these are physical characteristics to give readers an idea of what your character looks like. It's always a good idea to be as detailed and graphic as possible to what your character looks like.

    Example: "Julian is a slender, homely, if not too young looking girl. She hates the fact she looks more like a 14 year girl old than a 19 year old adult. She dresses the most practical way possible, slim fitting black pants, and a various collection of normal shirts. Julian is not out to impress with looks, in fact she'd be happier if no one noticed her at all."


    MENTAL CHARACTERISTICS
    Friends and Foes, Goals, Fears, Dreams, Talents, Inabilities, General Personality, Inner Personality, Secrets. These are characteristics of a mental nature. The Mental Stats are the second most important things to add to any character bio. This is what lets people know who your character is on the outside to the world, and on the inside that no one ever gets to see. Your mental stats should be as descriptive as possible. Let people know how your character treats others. Talk about the things they can't stand, or the things they love. How are they like on the inside? Do they hide their true self from the world? Or are they very open individuals? Is there anything they wish to keep secret from the world?

    Example: "Julian spends most of her time alone on the streets. She has no friends, and no true enemies as she rarely gets involved with other people. To the world she is a strange little kid, most likely a delinquent, but all Julian has ever wanted was security. She has a great talent of getting out of bad situations, but she's quite mouthy and make things worse all at the same time. The special thing about Julian is her talent with psychic phenomena. This is something she never lets people know, aside from random tarot card readings for cash."

    Mental/Personality Characteristics Resources
    - Western Astrology
    - Additional Western Astrology
    - Chinese Astrology
    - Additionl Chinese Astrology
    - Celtic Zodiac


    CHARACTER HISTORY
    The Past, Childhood, Teenage, Young Adult, The Present and Special Events. A character's history is THE most important thing in your bio - and yet most people skip this step. The history is what makes your character more like a real person. It tells of their experiences, and why they act the way they do. It's always best to list important events in your character's history that effects them greatly in their present life. Did something in their childhood happen to make them fear something in the present? Is there a person in their life that had a huge influence on them? Was there an event that changed the way they behave?

    Example: Julian was the only daughter to a ‘nark’ - someone that spilled criminal secrets to the police. Spending most of her young life in witness protection with her father, when she turned 16 she ran away from home. Now Julian lives on the streets using her unusual gift to help make cash to survive with, but unable to figure out how to dig herself out of the hole she trapped herself in.


    WRITING SAMPLE
    Even if it’s not a requirement for the Roleplay you want to join, a short writing sample is a great way to showcase an important piece of your character. An excerpt from a major event in their life gives insight. A quick scene of something they do daily displays little quirks they may have. This also provides your Game Master with an example of how you will post in the Roleplay.

    QUICK BIO TIPS

    Use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. Make your bio look neat.
    Typos are one thing, but if your whole bio looks like an English teacher's nightmare, it makes you look "not so smart". Neatness COUNTS. If you can't write up a proper bio, what proof do you have that you can actually play well in the Roleplay? It makes you and your character look bad.

    - Spellcheck.net

    Avoid commonly used characteristics.
    Otherwise known as “overused cliches”. Example: A kid abused by his parents, then they die a horrible death, he grows up in an orphanage, learns tons of martial arts, and goes on to kick arse as hero of the story. These are very common in characters, and often you'll end up with a roleplay where everyone has the same history or too similar. Try to be as unique as possible from the other characters in the roleplay when creating your character.

    See what other people have done with their characters.
    This will help you avoid creating a character too much like someone else’s. You also may be able to plot with someone to create a cool plotline in the story and gain yourself a posting partner!


    Other Character Building Resources
    - 10 Days of Character Building
    - Errant Dreams: Roleplayers Resources
    - SeventhSanctum Random Generators
    - Wikipedia on “Mary Sue/Gary Stu”
     
    #1 Diana, Jun 18, 2011
    Last edited: May 21, 2013
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  2. I am sorry, I have a question, for a character, do we write the character bios on the site? in that case where? and if not, shall we save them on our computers? Once again I apologize, I am just confused. :s
     
  3. May I suggest a few more resources as well?

    For names, I normally turn to http://BehindTheName.com to search through a registry of names. BehindTheName also states the meaning and origin of specific names as well as whether or not there are other versions of the said name. Separates by country and gender as well.

    I also use http://Rinkworks.com/NameGen for just a random Fantasy NPC or location name. You can set up how many syllables or hyphens you want, as well as whether or not you want a consonant-heavy name or one with lots of vowels. Fun stuff.

    But one that I am particularly fond of is http://Squid.org/RPG-Random-Generator for the simple reason that names are not the only thing this generator can... well, generate. If you're stuck on a location, a relic, or even a scenario for your RP, Squid's generator is one way to help decide where to take your adventure next.
     
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  4. On Iwaku, that will depend on the roleplay you are joining, since we are a multi genre, multi roleplay, multi style site! But if you're looking for a place to store those bios, the Blogs are where most people store theirs. <3
     
  5. Oh, now I understand ^^ Thank you for explaining. :)