Sometimes a full fledged person comes out of my brain. No, I’m serious, it happens… and when they do, I let them pour out of my brain and on to the page and they can do whatever they damned well please. Me, I’m along for the ride. But a lot of the time, it doesn’t happen that way.
I’m working on a big story, a long one, a thesis for my MFA program novel-length-holy-crow story. The characters inhabiting it are dynamic, living beings, that need to be portrayed constantly, fully realized, and allowed room for growth. Cause, you known, that’s the whole reason for reading a novel… to see what happens to the characters.
Anyway, to keep my silly mind in line, I’ve decided to use a character worksheet. This isn’t something that I’ve done before, except for D&D, but my awesome Storytelling professor, Cat Parnell presented us with an exercise that helped wrangle in my thoughts. The sheet asks a series of questions about your character. It worked best for me when I tried to crawl inside the characters’ heads and answer the questions in their voices. Here it is in all it’s grandeur. Copy away.
Socioeconomic Level as a child:
Socioeconomic Level as an adult:
Siblings (describe relationship):
Spouse (describe relationship):
Children (describe relationship):
Grandparents (describe relationship):
Grandchildren (describe relationship):
Significant Others (describe relationship): Relationship skills:
Race: Eye Color:
Glasses or contact lenses?
Shape of Face:
How does he/she dress?
Habits: (smoking, drinking etc.) –
Style (Elegant, shabby etc.):
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 judgmental of others?
Is the character generous or stingy?
Is the character generally polite or rude?
Does the character believe in God? no
What are the character’s spiritual beliefs?
Is religion or spirituality a part of this character’s life? N
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? etc.):
Scene where character first appears:
Relationships with other characters:
How character is different at the end of the novel from when the novel began:
Additional Notes on This Character: