Character profiles can be one of the most important elements when writing. They can help characters seem vivid, real, and alive. The purpose of a character profile is: to assist the writer in creating a character that is as lifelike as possible and to help with continuity issues in the story. It is a simple tool that can help organise your thoughts and ideas about a certain character, and it can help keep track of a character’s idiosyncrasies and relationships. It can also help you think about certain traits or details that you would never have consider about your character.
If, however, you want to write a character from the ground up, a character who is as real as any person living, yet wholly your own creation, then there are three aspects you need to know in depth: the physical, sociological and psychological.
— mooderino, quote from The Three Dimensions of Character
Character profiles are something that I personally don’t always like to use. When I first begin writing a story I like to discover the character as I write. The more I get into the story, the deeper I dig, the more I learn who my character is.
Even if you find the bad guy generally repulsive, you need to be able to put yourself so thoroughly into his shoes while you’re writing him that, just for those moments, you almost believe his slant yourself.
— K.M. Weiland, quote from Maybe Your Bad Guy Is RIGHT!
In some situations though, you can find yourself struggling to move through the story. This can be for a number of reason, but one common reason is because you don’t know your character well enough. An easy way to do this is to answer some questions and you can begin to see your character in a new way. You understand them, and new twists and turns in your story can become clear.
Usually, we combine internal and external conflicts for a richer story. That means we have to understand how our characters approach and resolve conflict.
— Jami Gold, quote from Using Conflict to Understand Our Characters
Siblings (describe relationship):
Spouse (describe relationship):
Children (describe relationship):
Grandparents (describe relationship):
Grandchildren (describe relationship):
Significant Others (describe relationship):
Glasses or contact lenses?
Shape of Face:
How does he/she dress?
Intellectual/Mental/Personality Attributes and Attitudes
Any Mental Illnesses?
Character’s short-term goals in life:
Character’s long-term goals in life:
How does Character see himself/herself?
How does Character believe he/she is perceived by others?
How self-confident is the character?
Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof?
What would most embarrass this character?
Introvert or Extrovert?
How does the character deal with anger?
What does the character want out of life?
What would the character like to change in his/her life?
What motivates this character?
What frightens this character?
What makes this character happy?
Is the character judgemental of others?
Is the character generous or stingy?
Is the character generally polite or rude?
Does the character believe in God?
What are the character’s spiritual beliefs?
Is religion or spirituality a part of this character’s life?
If so, what role does it play?
How the Character is Involved in the Story
Character’s role in the novel (main character? hero? heroine? Romantic interest?):
Scene where character first appears:
Relationships with other characters:
How character is different at the end of the novel from when the novel began: