“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” - Ernest Hemingway
As writers, we desperately try to breathe life into our characters. (Sorry, Ernie!) We want them to evoke emotions from our readers, to touch them in a way they never expected. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Creating a relatable cast takes time. When we rush it, the undertaking becomes a CPR situation—where we’re pounding on their chests, trying to force our own vitality into their airways.
Readers tend to pick up on that.
To truly bring these
characters people to life, we need to take the time to get to know them. Inside and out. For continuity's sake, we'll also need a record.
That's where character profiles come in. (They're like interviews or little "getting to know you" games.) Here are a few of the most extensive templates I’ve come across:
- Charlotte Dillion's Character Chart © Charlotte Dillonv
- Fiction Writer's Character Chart © Rebecca Sinclair
- Adaptations from The Writer's Guide to Character Traits © Fyuvix
(Use the Download File button)
Seriously, I love these things. I fill out as many as I can and compile them into character folders.
If you’re really
crazy into it, you might consider filling them out in character—using a different “handwriting” font for each character. I did that for three of my main characters. (Yes, it was tedious, but it helped me keep the details separate.) Try it on your next writing break.
Here’s a quick example of one of the lighter questions:
So, do you guys use profile templates? Do you write your own? What kinds of things do you include?
Have a great week! ♥