Character description worksheet

Okay, so we’ve been slacking this last week. A lot’s been going on over here, and the blog…well, the blog was not exactly in the top three of last week’s to-do list. So, while I’m putting together the article about writing character descriptions, here’s an outline/worksheet that lists many (but not all) of the characteristics you should have developed for your characters in order to make them believable, well-rounded, and memorable. Again, this is a starter list, and should be no means be the end to the depths in which you can describe your character.

P.S.
To expedite things, I’m writing as if all the characters are males. Sorry girls – it’s just a pain in the ass to have to jump back and forth from him/her, he/she, etc. Get over it.

    Character Description Worksheet

PHYSICAL/BASIC TRAITS

Full name (including middle if he has one)

Date of birth

Age

Address/or at least location where he lives (ie, California, Nebraska, Mars…)

Race/ethnicity/nationality

Height

If short, does he have a height complex?

Weight/build

Skin color (also natural, or tanned)

Hair (color, texture, cut)

Eyes (size, color, placement)

Nose

Ears

Size/shape of hands and feet

Wear nails long or short (cut or chewed)

Glasses/contacts?

Teeth (shape, color, size)

Distinguishing marks (birthmarks, scars, tatoos)

Health

Smell (yes yes, ALL of us have our own smell)

Voice (pitch, tone)

Posture

Walking style

Mannerisms

Nervous ticks/twitches

Favorite type of clothes/shoes/accessories

What he actually wears (ie, what he can afford compared to what he likes)

Favorite foods

Favorite drink

Eating habits

Smoke

Drugs

PERSONALITY

Occupation

Does he like his occupation?

Social class

Is he happy where he stands?

Views on money

Actual spending habits

Education/intelligence

Family

Political views

Religious y/n, how does religion play in life

Outlook on life/disposition

Favorite possession

Car/bike

Hobbies

Talents

Describe in three (3) sentences his average daily routine.

Fears/phobias

Major goals

What kind of self-image does he have?

Eating disorders

Physical disorders

Length of time on an average day it takes him to wake up and clean up

Showers daily?

RELATIONSHIPS

Married/single

Sexual orientation

Sexual preferences

In a relationship? Serious?

List people/characters he spends most his time with

Relationships with:
–Father
–Mother
–Siblings
–Grandparents
–extended family
**write a 2-5 sentence description of each family member he’s in contact with

If no father/mother, does he strive to fill that hole?

Have kids?

Their ages.

Best friend

How does he view his friends?

How do his friends view him?

How does he view family?

How does family view him?

Name his hero

OTHER ODD PERSONALITY TRAITS
(These apply only to fantasy/horror/sci fi novels)

Race (as in alien or humanoid…)

Magical abilities

Fighting skills

Survival skills

Types of training received

Work preferences

Is he comfortable around humans

Comfortable around large groups of people

Dead or undead

Weaknesses

Is he similar to others like him, or does he stand out?

Can he use a gun/weapon

Any familiars? (if so, describe)

Views towards his people/fellow creatures/race

Has he traveled much from his town/city before current plot journey?

Is he aware of “the bigger picture” or what “doom” is befalling his tiny village?

Is he comfortable dealing with alien species?

Has he killed before?

Has he killed another human (or another of his race) before?

Was it in cold blood or self defense

Will he break down, or will he do it again (and will he enjoy it)

List immunities

10 Responses

  1. GOD almighty! for TWO years I have been looking for a site like that!!!!!
    you are a gift and treasure!
    eran

  2. Nice list.

    Personally, I think it’s important not that you actually sit down and write answers to each of those traits, but that by a bit of thought you’re *able* to do so. If you know a character that well, then she’ll become a real person.

    Lynn

  3. Thanks Eran.

    Lynn – that’s kind of the point. You don’t need to have a filled out list for each character – like you said, it’s the fact that if you were to stop and think about it, you would “know” the answer to each question for your character because you know them so well. By the time you’re done with your novel, you should know your character from the inside out; from how many gray hairs they have on their head, to the noises they make when they dream, to their taste in milk (ie whole, low fat) to how he would react to…. etc.

    The point is that you need to FILL OUT your characters, so that they are real. Even heros have weaknesses and villans have soft spots….

  4. This worksheet will be very useful. I printed out a few copies to use for future stories and characters.

  5. Hummm, comes to mind that it’d be pretty simple to create a Word form from this, if permission is there to do so.

    Then, just fill in the blanks and print!

  6. Will-
    go right ahead, no problems here ;)

  7. This is quite a up-to-date info. I think I’ll share it on Twitter.

  8. Theur sort of kiddish, but their are some really good character and plot workbooks at ywp.nanowrimo.org- the High school one is the best.

  9. that’s a GREAT list! thanks!

  10. You get over it! What kind of attitude is that? So switching back and forth is inconvenient. I guess it’s just coincidence that you chose to have the de facto option be male.

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