Thursday, December 10, 2009

Character Sketch

Post by NCW member Carolyn Yalin

I’ve been thinking about another project. This time, I’m going to do things differently, I’m going to outline (or Mindmap) and do a character sketch.

I’ve taken a some great writing classes from Chris Ransick and Amy Kathleen Ryan, and I’ve read some fabulous books that have helped me to compile my own Character Sketch I thought I’d share with you all. Hope it helps you, as I am sure it will help me!

Character Sketch

Driver’s License Stats

Photo and Video Details
Hair Colour:
Body Type:
Common Gesture:
Good Habit:
Bad Habit:

Parents’ Jobs:
Best Friend:

Expand some of the above.

  1. Does your character get along with her/his family?
  2. How did the best friend become the best friend? What do they share in common? Where did they meet? Why do they like each other?
  3. How did the rival become the rival?
  4. How did boy/girlfriend become a partner?

Digging Deeper

  1. What is your character’s favourite song/book/food/hobby/person?
  2. What feature(s) would your character like to change about him/herself?
  3. What is your character’s greatest flaw? What is their greatest attribute?
  4. Does your character have a secret? What would happen if it was revealed?
  5. Describe your character’s best day?
  6. What is your character most scared of?
  7. What is your character’s most embarrassing moment?
  8. When was the last time your character felt pure happiness?
  9. If your character was granted one wish, what would it be?
  10. List twenty words/phrases that describe your character.
  11. What motivates your character?
  12. What or who does your character fear?
  13. What does your character need to achieve by the end of the story?
  14. What does your character want to achieve by the end of the story?
  15. What external factors stop your character from getting what s/he want?


Carolyn is writing her first novel, On the Heels of a Rainstorm. Visit her blog:

"Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to write. One day I decided to just do it (thanks, Nike). My short stories have been published in Mountain Scribe Anthology 2004 and 2006, Cacophony 2005, and Our Canada. I have also contributed as an editor for The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards and the Front Range Review." ~Carolyn


Mason Canyon said...

That list would be very handy. Never thought of doing that way. Thanks.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Nice character sketch. Thanks for sharing it!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good post, Carolyn! I can see how this would be very helpful to me, even if I did the sketches after writing a few chapters.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

What a timely post for me. I decided my WIP was going so slow because I didn't know my main character well enough. I ran across a character sketch profile but this one is much more thorough. Can't wait to try it out.

Carol Kilgore said...

Lots of things here. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone.

Since I've been using my character sketch, I've been able to write better because I know my character(s) better :)

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