Please welcome guest blogger and writer K. Victoria Smith!
I was recently chatting with fellow writers on Twitter and the topic of character development came up. I mentioned that I had put together my own worksheet to keep track of and flesh out key characters. It has helped me and I happily share it with you.
Remember that this is an organic document and you should add things as you discover them. You may not need a full blown sheet for all characters but should use this or something similar to keep track of those pesky details such as: What color did I say his eyes were 30 pages ago? Do yourself a favor and fill one out for the antagonist. Readers
won’t buy a two-dimensional bad guy.
Character Development Worksheet
Who is ____________?
Physical description: Height, weight, build, eye color, hair color, length and texture, other distinguishing features (glasses/contacts, etc).
Family history/tree: Include birthplace, relationship with and between parents, key events of childhood/adolescence if relevant. Does ethnicity affect character? Where in the world are they from? How does this impact?
Living Situation: Where, with, pets, key elements of home, are they in a relationship? What does their love life look like?
Hobbies, Food favorites or dislikes: Include allergies if relevant to plot or personality.
How others see him/her: How she/he sees herself/himself:
What she/he isn’t saying (maybe even to herself/himself):
What does he/she say they want?
What does he/she really want? Often different from the question above. Psychologically, emotionally. If it is a “bucket list,” ask them why that thing is so important that they have to do it before they die.
Songs you will find on his/her IPod: Can expand to include favorite TV or movies that say something about character’s persona.
Other items important to this character plot: Phobias (is there a reason-think Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code), Languages spoken.
What other characteristics, habits, strengths, or flaws, would you give your characters?
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo