Creating A Character Profile

Flesh-out your characters and bring them alive with a character profile. Use this sample one and follow the tips on what to put.

When you get an idea for a short story or a novel you probably get the basic idea of the characters with it. But in order to build believable characters you need more than just a basic idea of them. You need to really them. The easiest way to flesh out a character is with a character profile, so get out a blank sheet of paper and follow the sample profile below.

NAME: Put your characters full name - first, last, and any nicknames that he goes by. Make sure the name creates the right mental image of your character; a Bill causes a completely different image than a Byron.

BIOGRAPHY: Write a description of your character's life; past and present. Where was he born, how was his family life - has his past affected him in any way? What does he do now? Who are his friends and where does he live? Don't make it too long - a paragraph will do.

AGE: If you don't know the exact age of your character then you can put it's approximation, such as late thirties, mid-twenties etc.

HEIGHT: How tall is your character?

WEIGHT: You probably won't know your character's exact weight, but I'm sure you can guess its approximate one. Is he really light - or a little more weighty?

BODY TYPE: Is he wiry and agile, or does he work out and his body is the proof? Remember that thin and skinny can bring up to different images - and maybe he's small-boned but sturdy

FACE TYPE: Is your character baby faced, or does he have a sharp, chiseled bone structure?

COMPLEXION: Is she ivory white or does she have more of a cream and coffee color?

EYES: Be specific about the color. Ice blue creates a different character than sky blue. And what is the look in the eyes - is it hard? Nervous? Or does it have a twinkle?

HAIR: Put not only the color, but also the style. Is it long and curly - short and spike - or maybe it's died blue and shaved into a Mohawk. Again, make the color specific. Instead of brown hair, put red-brown, chestnut brown, or maybe it's actually the color of dried mud

CLOTHING STYLE: What type of clothing does he usually wear? Is he preppy, or more relaxed? Maybe he's a teenager that always wears sports jerseys.

SPEAKING STYLE: Is he short and to the point? Or is he long winded?

GENERAL DEMEANOR: This is how your character generally acts and comes across to other people. Some people are just generally easy-going, taking life as it comes"¦while others are uptight and always looking for a fight.

CAREER: What does she do for a living?

PREJUDICES: Everyone has some, even fictional characters. Does she hate slow drivers"¦or maybe he's an intellectual and his prejudice is against anyone who hasn't read all of Shakespeare's works - plays and poems

BEST QUALITIES: List three or four of you characters best qualities

WORST QUALITIES: Even the "good guy" has a few faults. What are you character's?

WEAKNESSES: What is the main weakness in your character's make-up? What is his "Achilles heel"? Is it that he's not real smart"¦or maybe he has trouble getting along with other people.

HOBBIES: When he's not being thrashed about in your plot, what doe she like to do?

TALENTS: Is she an expert artist? Or cook?

Once you've filled out this profile for your own characters, you should know enough about them to be able to make them jump off the page.

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