Get To Know Your Characters

Whenever I start a new project, I do my best to get inside the main character. You need to really know them, to crawl inside their brains and heart and guts and cockles and sub-cockles until you feel their DESIRES, FLAWS, AND VIRTUES. If you have an undeveloped, unbelievable character, you’ll have an undeveloped, unbelievable story.

Here’s a worksheet that I give to the aspiring writers that I coach. I hope that it helps you as well. It consists of basic information, deeper details, and then a “what would they do” section. Use it, love it, know it.

You can see this at work in my short stories and my novels The Watchmage of Old New York and Song of Simon. Both are getting stellar reviews, and I believe that it’s partially because of character depth.

The Watchmage Is ComingSoS Practice Ad 1

Get to Know Your Characters

Basic Information

Name/Nickname

Age

Appearance

DESIRE

VIRTUES

FLAWS

A Little Deeper

Family

Background

Prominent Personality Traits

Education/Intelligence

Job

Habits

What Makes them Happy?

Sad?

Angry?

Happiest Moment

Saddest Moment

Proudest Moment

Most Embarrassing Moment

Hobbies

Favorite Things

What Would Your Character Do If…

They got an awful haircut?

Saw a turtle trying to cross the road?

Found of that their friend was talking behind their back?

Got cut in line at the store?

Found a wallet of someone that they hated?

Someone tried to start a conversation in an elevator?

Only had 24 hours to live?

Received a lottery ticket as a gift and it won $100,000?

Was given three wishes?

A family member came to them for help hiding a major crime?

Lost a beloved possession?

doge-in-space-card-redux

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