Writing

Character Sheet

character sheet

140 questions to get to know your character: the character sheet.

The writing world has different opinions about character sheets. Some say you need one, others say they’re too shallow and good writers shouldn’t use them, still others say you don’t really know your character unless you know their third favorite color.

I say, they’re really fun to fill out, definitely make you think, and can be complete overkill on character development. But like I said…so fun.

I do have a printable download if you want the character sheet I use. Or if you’re putting together your own, you can take some of these ideas. I comprised my list with the help of lists from others.

Buckle up. It’s a long trip down to the deep, dark depths of your character…


This first section is self-explanatory. What’s their name and why?

Name

Full complete name:

Reason for name:

Nickname:

Birthday:


My favorite section. Deciding what a character looks like is SO. MUCH. FUN. And this section gives you much more to think about than the typical eye color/hair color. (I am very guilty of only describing eye and hair color.)

Appearance

Age:

Age they look:

Weight:

Height:

Body build:

Face shape:

Eye color:

Eye shape:

Glasses:

Skin:

Distinguishing marks:

Predominant features:

Hair color:

Type of hair:

Hairstyle:

Voice:

Speaking speed:

Accent:

Favorite words:

Attractiveness:

Physical disabilities:

Usual fashion of dress:

Favorite outfit:

Accessories:


Personality is important. It makes your reader like or dislike, root for or vote against, think about or forget your character.

Personality

Enneagram number:

Good personality traits:

Bad personality traits:

Mood most often in:

Sense of humor:

Greatest joy:

Greatest fear: Why?

What single event would throw them into turmoil:

What makes them at ease:

What makes them ill at ease:

What makes them enraged:

What makes them depressed or sad:

Priorities:

Life philosophy:

One wish:

Soft spot: Is it obvious to others?

Greatest strength:

Greatest weakness:

Biggest regret:

Minor regret:

Biggest accomplishment:

Minor accomplishment:

Past embarrassing failures: Why?

Character’s darkest secret: Does anyone know?


Goals are very important to the story and most often drive the entire plot.

Goals

Drive/motivation:

Immediate goals:

Long term goals:

Plan to accomplish these goals:

How other characters are affected:


Your character’s childhood could definitely impact how they are acting now and is a good thing to figure out.

Past

Hometown:

Type of childhood:

Pets:

First memory:

Most important childhood memory: Why?

Childhood hero:

Dream job:

Education:

Religion:

Finances:


Where is your character at right now? Very important for the story.

Present

Time period:

Current location:

Living with:

Pets:

Religion:

Occupation:

Finances:

Politics:


Family impacts characters in a big way and often these relationships can be tied to the character’s goals.

Family

Mother:

-Relationship:

Father:

-Relationship:

Sibling:

-Relationship:

Spouse:

-Relationship:

Children:

-Relationship:

Other important family members:


Because we really need to know their third favorite color. This is definitely another one of my favorite sections to fill out.

Favorites

Color:

Least fav color:

Music:

Food:

Literature:

Form of entertainment:

Expressions:

Mode of transportation:

Prized possession:


Habits! So interesting! They can catch your reader completely off-guard and make the character more interesting.

Habits

Hobbies:

Musical instrument:

Sport:

Spend a rainy day:

Spending habits:

Smokes:

Drinks:

Other drugs:

Do too much of:

Do too little of:

Extremely skilled at:

Extremely unskilled at:

Nervous tics:

Usual body posture:

Mannerisms:

Peculiarities:


Defining traits for an individual. (Come on, you want to know these facts about everyone, right?)

Traits

Optimist or pessimist:

Introvert or extrovert:

Daredevil or cautious:

Logical or emotional:

Messy or neat:

Enjoy working or enjoy relaxing:

Confident or unsure:

Animal lover:


Get inside your character’s head! Who do they think they are?

Self-perception

How do they feel about themself:

One word description of self:

One paragraph description of self:

Considered best personality trait:

Considered worst personality trait:

Considered best physical characteristic:

Considered worst physical characteristic:

Thinks others perceive them:

Most like to change about self:


Basically this section is what makes the story interesting. I love seeing characters interact.

Relationship with others

Opinion of others in general:

Hides or shares true emotions and opinions:

Most hates:

Best friend:

Love interest:

Goes to for advice:

Feels responsible for:

Feels shy/awkward around:

Openly admires:

Secretly admires:

Most important person in their life before story starts:

Most important person in their life after story starts:

Final Thoughts

You definitely don’t need to fill out an entire character sheet to have a nicely crafted character. All these topics are mainly things to think about. The most important thing to remember is that your character can change.

Change and development in your character is a good thing. Let them grow. Maybe they’ll have a new third favorite color by the end of your story.

Sincerely,

Sparky


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