My Character Profile

The latest version of my character profile, tweaked and revised for 2012.  Click here to download as a Microsoft Word document: New Character Profile 2012.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Name: The name they most commonly go by in the book, whether it’s their first name, last name, or nickname.

Full Name: The character’s full, formal name.

About Name: Meaning, origins, or any other important, relevant info that means something to you as an author, or meant something to the character’s parents.

Nicknames and Aliases (And Why):

 

BASIC INFORMATION

Gender:

Age and Birthday: You can include as much or little detail as you need.  I usually don’t care about the exact year they were born, so long as I know they’re 17, or 45, or 6.

Religious Beliefs and Practice:

Physical Description: Hair, including styles as well as color.  Eyes.  Complexion.  Ethnicity.  Height and weight (a basic description is all that’s necessary, but you can put the exact numbers if you’re so inclined).  Write EVERYTHING important you notice when you imagine your character in your head!

Illnesses or Physical Afflictions: Any ongoing health problems.

Perception of Self (Appearance): How does your character feel about her appearance?  What is his personal impression of himself?  Are there any parts of her that she wishes she could change.

Characteristic Gestures / Mannerisms: This can be a tough one and is usually best left blank until you’ve “known” the character awhile through writing about them.  You don’t have to fill out everything all at once!

Basic First Impression: How does the character immediately come across to others?

 

WHO AND WHERE – BACKGROUND, LOCATION, AND FAMILY

Birthplace and Origins:

Family History, If Important:

Parents: This can include anything you think important.  Maybe it’ll be just their names, or maybe as you think about them you’ll invent the entire story of their lives, how they met, and what their marriage is/was like.

Siblings: Again, as much or as little detail as you want.

Notable Info About Childhood:

Family Situation: Is he/she estranged from his or her parents or siblings?  Do they have a huge extended family which gathers for every single holiday?  How does he/she feel about his/her family?

Marital Status:

Spouse: Name, appearance, personality, how they interact, whether their relationship is strong, how they met, etc.

Important Friendships and Past Relationships:

Past Residences:

Current Residence: Where they live, but maybe also how they like to keep their house, whether their neighborhood or town is pleasant, seedy, rich, run-down, etc.

Education: What kind of schooling, training, or education does your character have?  This can include as many details as necessary.

Special Occupational Training: Has he/she trained to do anything for a living?

Past Occupations and Jobs:

Occupation: What they do – and how they feel about it.

Citizenship:

 

CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY

Skills, Abilities, and Talents: What do they do well?  This includes things like their areas of expertise, as well as their natural talents.  (If your character has supernatural abilities, those would also fall under this category.)

Notable Areas of Incompetence or Inability: What does your character fail at or have trouble doing?

Aesthetic Preferences / Taste:

Quirks:

General Personality Type: Try describing their personality in one simple phrase, e.g. “focused and goal-driven”, or “contemplative, bookish type”.

Introvert or Extrovert:

Temperament: In one word, e.g. “casual” or “high-energy”.

Sense of Humor: Dark, ironic, sarcastic, self-deprecating, put-down, highbrow / witty, dry?

Admirable / Attractive Traits: This category and the one below refer not to physical characteristics or behavior, but rather to personality traits such as honesty, mercifulness, kindness, generosity, friendliness.

Negative / Unattractive Traits: Make sure even your most admirable characters have several!

Bad Habits / Vices: Distinct from the above category, this refers to bad behavior rather than unpleasant personality traits.  (For example, if he’s a greedy and lazy character, his vices might be gambling and procrastinating.)

Perception of Self (Character): Like the “Appearance” category similar to this, but for their personality.

Prejudices, Pet Peeves, and Gripes:

Fears and Phobias:

Trauma / Scars From Past:

Turn Ons / Turn Offs: What do they find attractive or unattractive in the opposite sex?

Favorite Words, Phrases, Etc.: This is another of those ones that’s best left empty unless you know.  It’s hard to decide ahead of time on their “favorite phrases” when you know little about them.  If the character is well-established, hopefully they will have a recognizable voice already and you can fill this out easily.

Speaking Style: Do they talk with hesitation?  A drawl?  A foreign accent?

Political Party: (If applicable.  This goes for a lot of these social and political categories.)

Opinion on Abortion:

Opinion on Environmental Issues:

Opinion on Crime and Gun Control:

Opinions on Love, Marriage, Etc.:

Political or Social Issues Most Important To: This can include any of the above topics, or other ones not mentioned.

 

HABITS AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS INFO

Clothing Style / Favorite Outfit:

Hobbies:

Interests:

Favorite Pastimes:

Notable Favorite Movies, Books, Music Types, Etc.:

Favorite Foods:

Diet: What do they typically eat?

Pets:

Alcohol: Do they drink?  Do they drink with caution or irresponsibly?  Do they drink in excess?  If it’s important, you might even list WHAT they like to drink.

Vehicle and Driving Style (Or Other Usual Mode of Transportation): Obviously characters from most fantasy worlds won’t drive a car, so fill this out with whatever’s applicable to them.

Ever Been Arrested and For What:

 

DEEP DOWN INSIDE…

Philosophy of Life:

Biggest Regrets:

Most Crucial Experience:

Needs / Deep Desires: Maybe it’s approval of others, to be successful at something, or to be loved.  This is BIG and important when it comes to character motivations.

Goals in Life:

Struggles With: Feeling trapped?  A sin they’re fighting?  The injustice of their world? 

Character Growth / Change / Lessons Learned: This may be something you come back and fill out later after you’ve finished the book (if you haven’t already written a draft).  Characters need to change along the way.  Don’t feel tied down to the profile you created for them.

Ideal Life / Imagined “Happy Ending”: When they picture the attainment of their goals, what do they see in their minds?

Notes: