Saturday, September 25, 2010

Character Profile:

As promised in yesterdays post, 'Creating Compelling Characters': below is a list that you can copy and save in a word doc. This will help you create a compelling character. On a personal note, I don’t do this. That said, I do keep a list of pertinent details for my characters. Most often, it is as I write the first draft that many of these details come to mind. It is in the actual writing process that my characters come to life. Of course, this makes for major edits when I do the 2nd draft.

Character Profile:

1. Name (including nickname, if applicable):
2. Gender:
3. Age:
4. Health:
5. Appearance (including unique physical characteristics):
6. Identifying Lines:
7. Identifying Mannerisms:
8. Identifying Props:
9. Style of Speech:
10. Education or Vocation:
11. Occupation:
12. Current Job (including job title, company name, and duration):
13. Employment History (including jobs, company names, and time spent at each):
14. Economic Status:
15. Marital Status:
16. Family, Children:
17. Parents Occupations:
18. Ethnicity:
19. Past Relationships:
20. Current Relationships:
21. Home (including location, size , and description):
22. Work ( including company name, size, and location):
23. Possessions (including car, electronic gadgets, sentimental items, and pets):
24. Recreation, Hobbies:
25. Special Skills or Talents:
26. Skill Deficiencies:
27. Tastes (including music, literature, art, food, etc.):
28. Religious Beliefs:
29. Political Beliefs:
30. Promiscuity (including sexual history):
31. Ambitions, Desires, and Long-term Goals:
32. Fears (even Phobias) and Superstitions:
33. Prejudices:
34. Favorite Places (including physical and on-line locations, if applicable):
35. Astrological Sign:
36. Attitudes:
37. Understandable Character Flaws:
38. Virtues:
39. Backstory:
- Place Where the Character Grew up:
- Past Triumphs:
- Past Failures:
- Childhood Traumas:
40. How Will your Character Change Throughout the Story?:

This list came from a workshop handout at the Colorado Gold Conference, 2010; Hosted by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. My friend attended the workshop and raved about it. I have attended this type of workshop in the past.

Does this help?


Nicole MacDonald said...

eeeee... I know these are a great idea but I can't do it.. makes me cringe - I've no idea why. I guess not every idea will work for everyone though *grin*

The Golden Eagle said...

It looks very helpful! I'm not introducing many new characters or reforming them with what I'm working on right now, (mostly editing) but that does look like it could come in handy. Thanks for posting it!

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Excellent list, if I did this I wouldn't have to keep going back in my ms to make sure I'm being consistent. Thanks! And thank you for your excellent feedback on my post.

that rebel, Olivia

Serena said...

I agree really good list, i tend to do somthing similar when developing my characters!

Thanks for popping into I see you see and following....right back atcha :)

Have a great weekend x

N. R. Williams said...

Nicole, I can't do it either but I know writers who swear by it.

Golden, if nothing else this list can come in handy to spark our questions.

Olivia, I so agree with you. If I followed a set program I would have less edits. I'm glad you liked my feedback.

Serena, you are welcome...following each other is important on many levels.

Thank you all for your comments.

Shallee said...

Very comprehensive! I like to use the Meyers-Briggs inventory and the Color Code for my characters, so I get a general understanding of their underlying personality. Thanks for sharing this!

Kay Theodoratus said...

Looks like a bunch of things you should know about the people you are creating. ... But maybe it goes a little overboard?

If I answered all those question about each one, I'm afraid I'd put my characters in straight-jackets. Guess, I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer at heart.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I do a similar profile just not so in depth.

N. R. Williams said...

I haven't heard of the Color Code for characters. I hope you will share more on that Shallee.

Kay, I agree, it is way too long for me.

Alex, I think one can take what is useful and discard the rest.

Thank you all for commenting.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Great list. I usually make up a table that has my characters' hair and eye color so I'm consistent.

Misha said...

This might be really useful...

Who knows? I might even give it a try after I've finished talking to my characters. As a sort of summery... Hmmm... I like that idea...

Thank you for posting this


N. R. Williams said...

Nicole, I take notes as I write and create a separate word doc. for each book.

Misha, I'm so glad you find it useful.

Thank you both for commenting.

J.C. Martin said...

Thanks a lot! Very useful profile sheet!

N. R. Williams said...

You're welcome J.C.
Thank you for leaving a comment.

Janet Johnson said...

Great list! Gives me lots to think about for my characters. Thanks for sharing :)

ali said...

This is excellent ~ thank so much for sharing it!

N. R. Williams said...

Janet and Ali, you're both welcome. Thank you for commenting.

Wow...I have over 100 followers...thanks everyone.

Karen Lange said...

This looks like a great list; appreciate you sharing it! I think I need to bookmark this:) Thanks for stopping by and following my blog. Good to meet you!
Have a great weekend,

N. R. Williams said...

You're welcome on all counts, Karen. This is the last weekend of September. Ugh. Have a good one.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Thanks for the list! I copied it to my hard drive.

N. R. Williams said...

You're welcome Sandra. Thank you for leaving a comment.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

What a help in creating profiles for each character! Thanks for dropping by my blog and following. I'm in the midst of a rare blood run as a courier. So I' shorter than usual. Thanks and good fortune in your publication dreams, Roland

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Roland and I'm passing the good thoughts back to you. Thank you for your comment.

Valerie Ipson said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Carolyn V. said...

That is a super cool list!!! I'm so glad you posted it Nancy! I'm going to have to use it. =) I hope you have a great weekend! =D

N. R. Williams said...

You're welcome Valerie and back at ya.

I'm glad you like the list Carolyn. A great weekend to you as well.

Thank you both for leaving a comment.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous checklist! I posted links to two but I'm definitely adding this to my list.

Anonymous said...

I find my characters through the writing as well. answering all of those questions is boring and I'm impatient. :) I mean, once that first draft is written you really get to know them so on the second (and subsequent) drafts. It may be a little more work, but for me it's more fun.

N. R. Williams said...

Gargimehra, there are occasions when I make a list and having one handy is always good.

Folding, what works for you is always the best choice.

Thank you both for commenting.

Carolyn Abiad said...

Thanks! I was making a list of characteristics for my MCs yesterday and this comes in handy.

N. R. Williams said...

I'm happy to help. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Good list - thanks for sharing it! I'm trying to put more effort into knowing my characters before I write, but really, I'm like you in that I like to discover and "get to know" my characters as I write. You're right, though, it does mean more revising later! ;)

Anonymous said...

There's some seriously great points to consider in your list. Ones I will ask myself next time I create a character! Thanks for sharing.

N. R. Williams said...

Shari, creating characters is so involved its good to have options in their development.

Nathalie, I hope the list proves useful.

Thank you both for your comments.

Ishta Mercurio said...

This is really comprehensive - thanks!