Monday, March 18, 2013

Writer's Resource: Character Templates

Think about some of your favorite novels. Chances are, the really good ones, the ones that stay with you, feature very complex characters. They have reasons they act the way they do, and their emotional reactions change according to the situations the writer throws them into.
Katniss Everdeen
Katniss Everdeen: a great example of a complex character!
Okay, so we know it's important to have fully fleshed-out characters. But how do you keep track of all the little details? Maybe your main character starts to swear a lot when she gets nervous. Maybe she tears up easily or always checks her makeup when she thinks no one is looking. Maybe she hates boys with blond hair (or loves them!). And what about her past? Did she grow up in a loving family or an indifferent one? Did she have lots of friends or keep to herself?

A great way to keep track of all this stuff is with character templates.

If you use Scrivener (my writing software of choice), they're built right into the novel template (and it even lets you drag in image files!):

If you're not a Scrivener convert, you can also find lots of printable/save-able character templates on the web. Here are a few to try:

Character Template Sheet by Rin Chupeco (especially good if you prefer tons of detail!)

Obviously you don't have to fill out every blank, but templates can be a good way to get you thinking about the little details that will flesh out your characters.

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