How to Create Compelling Characters Part 2

Standard

This is the second half of my post on How to Create Compelling Characters. This is the spreadsheet I begin with. Once it is filled out I have a good idea of the character and am ready to move on to the final design. Even aliens or characters from other worlds can be created this way. The ethnicity and weight and such is strictly for you as the writer to be able to envision the character and write descriptively.

Character Describer

Full Name:                 Nick Name:

Ethnicity: caucasion; latin; black; asian; gaelic; Germanic; Scandinavian; islander; native Indian

Sex: male        female

Age:                Birthday:                    Place born:

Height: tall; short; average

Weight: fat; skinny; pot-bellied; athletic; muscular

Hair Color: black; brown; auburn; red; blonde; strawberry blonde; bleached; white; multi-colored

Hair Length: crew cut; short; ponytail; bald; wig; pigtails; waist; shoulder-length; waist-length

Hair Style: bedhead; messy; neat; greasy; sprayed; wavy; straight; curly; dreadlocks

Hair Texture: course; thick; fine; kinky

Facial/Body Hair: sideburns; bangs; beard; mustache; goatee; nose hair; ear hair; chest hair; legs/arms; back hair

Eye Color: green; brown; blue; gray; hazel; amber; black; white; combo

Eyebrows: pierced; thick; thin; fair; dark; bushy; white; wide; line; drawn; unibrow

Eyes: close; wide; crossed; lazy; large; popeyed; almond; glasses; bloodshot; glass eye

Skin Color: albino; pale; peach; tan; olive; yellow-tan; coffee-cream; light black; dark black

Skin: flabby; wrinkled; acne; scars; scaly; dry; oily; soft; shiny; birthmark; tattoo

Ears: small; large; stick out; long lobed; no lobe; # earrings; hairy

Brow: broad; small; wrinkled; furrowed; protruding

Cheeks: rosy; high bones; hollow; dimples; pimples; freckles

Nose: turned up; broad; flat; hooked; crooked; pointed; narrow; long; w/ wart

Lips: narrow; full; pale; painted; fat; pouty; pierced

Teeth: missing; bucked; yellow; scummy; white; perfect; gaps; crooked; rotted

Chin: jut out; double; none; square; cleft

Legs: fat; skinny; long; short; bowed; dimpled; knock kneed; no ankle

Hips: round; bony; tight; fat; flabby; wiggly

Stomach: flat; flabby; rolls; pudgy; protrude; jiggly; washboard; curvy

Chest: flat; muscular; large; hairy; busty; athletic; firm breasted; droopy breasted

Rich? No  Yes            Poor? No  Yes

Lives where:

Lives with:

Parents: Siblings:

Ages:

Career:

Pets: Like animals? No   Yes                    Favorite animal?

Hobbies:

Job:

Want to be:

Religion: catholic; protestant; muslim; hindu; animism; pagan; budhist; atheist; wicca

Notes:

Politics:

Education: Like school? No   Yes                       Why?

Bad Habits: smoking; drinking alcohol; drugs; whores; cussing; lying; gambling; cheating

Pet Peeves: bad grammar; inconsiderate behavior; mumbling; bad drivers; pushy attitudes

Fears: bugs; heights; snakes; spiders; darkness; buried; drowning; death; evil; blood; drugs; dogs; cats; bullies; illness; parents; doctors; being alone

Why?                                       How React?

Food Like? Food Dislike?

Favorite Meal? Allergic to?

Drink: hot coffee; cold coffee; hot tea; cold tea; soda; diet soda; juice; koolaid; beer; wine; booze; water; bottled water; daiquiri; martini; liqueur

Health: well; sickly; cancer; sick easily; never sick

Habits: shopping; eating; working; running; exercising; computers; gaming

Bothered by it?                                   Family bothered by it?

Extended family:

Best Friend:

Personality: shy; outgoing; crazy; joker; clumsy; bragger; gullible; studious; athlete; anxious; innocent; greedy; over-sexed; crier; collector; angry; techy; geek; talkative; cheap; stingy; jealous; gamer; laugh easily

I found that once I’d begun looking at characters this way, I looked at people around me differently. I study the way the waitress walks while carrying the full tray or how the cop moves in different situations. How does the person on the bus beside you sit? How do they hold their face; what type of expression. I’ve always been a people watcher, but that has changed somewhat lately. Now I study people’s facial shapes, eye distances, lip widths, nose, chins.

Red Headed Girl clipart Kid With Braces Clip Art clipart Woman's Face Clip Art clipart African American Woman Smiling clipart

This is the final spreadsheet I’ve developed from about five different versions over the year. It includes all of the information I find I need when writing. It’s designed to cover as many characters as needed. I generally get three per page with the traits listed on each side of the page and character names at top and bottom. Complete it by using the information from the first spreadsheet.

While I’m writing I refer to my printed character spreadsheets in order to keep my details straight.

FULL NAME Character 1 Character 2 FULL NAME
NICK NAME NICK NAME
AGE AGE
SEX SEX
FLAW FLAW
BORN BORN
BDAY BDAY
HEIGHT HEIGHT
WEIGHT WEIGHT
ETHNICITY ETHNICITY
SKIN CLR SKIN CLR
SKIN TYPE SKIN TYPE
HAIR CLR HAIR CLR
HAIR LGTH HAIR LGTH
HAIR STYL HAIR STYL
HAIR TEX HAIR TEX
FACIAL HAIR FACIAL HAIR
BODY HAIR BODY HAIR
EYE SHAPE EYE SHAPE
EYE COLOR EYE COLOR
EYE SPACNG EYE SPACNG
EYEBROWS EYEBROWS
CHEEKS CHEEKS
NOSE NOSE
LIPS LIPS
TEETH TEETH
CHIN CHIN
EARS EARS
CHEST CHEST
STOMACH STOMACH
ARMS ARMS
LEGS LEGS
HIPS HIPS
JEWELRY JEWELRY
PETS PETS
SIBLINGS SIBLINGS
PERSONALITY PERSONALITY
HOBBIES HOBBIES
JOB JOB
BAD HABITS BAD HABITS
GOOD HABITS GOOD HABITS
FEARS FEARS
BEST FRIEND BEST FRIEND
FAMILY FAMILY
FAV FOOD? FAV FOOD?
NONFAV FOOD NONFAV FOOD
ALLERGY? ALLERGY?
DRINK DRINK
HEALTH HEALTH
WEAPON WEAPON
GIFT/TALENT GIFT/TALENT
TRUE NAME TRUE NAME
Character 1 Character 2

Hope this helps in your character decisions. By the time you finish with this spreadsheet you should know your characters very well, which helps with writing about them.

One response »

  1. Pingback: uberVU - social comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s