One habit that I have that catches some people off guard at times, is the amount of work I put into creating the characters for the worlds of my stories. I’m not saying that no one out there does more than I do, because they obviously do, but what I am saying is that I put the effort in to trying to create a well-rounded, three-dimensional character to fit into and interact with the worlds that I create. I’ve seen some examples of other people’s work where they have truly gone into every single intricate detail of their characters, but over the coming paragraphs I’ll be going into a little detail over what I do. It covers all of the aspects you’d need to create your characters.
Firstly, what do I mean by in-depth exactly? Well, you start off with the basics; Character Name, Age, Gender, Species (If applicable), Powers and Abilities (Again, where applicable) and Occupation. Following this then you add what personality traits best describe the character in question, along with their physical description. After completing all of the above, I then move on to their biography, or back story. This part usually ended up filling a minimum of a page but can go on for as many as you require; the more you can add, the greater the depth of the character. After this I add the final few sections; Goal(s), Do they succeed, Secrets, Quirks and lastly Partners and Affiliations.
Firstly these goals can largely differ depending on what genre the project takes place in, along with whether or not the character is a primary cast member or just secondary or tertiary. A primary character may have a crucial goal they wish to achieve which may end up shaping the entire story you’re wanting to tell, while a secondary character might just want to get to work on time even though road works continually stop them from doing so. No matter how big or how small the goal, having one in the first place makes these characters a little more relatable and ultimately easier for you to write. Actually writing down whether or not the character succeeds in achieving their goal can help you with structuring the way in which the interact within the story and it also gives you a clear idea of what is waiting for them in the coming chapters or scenes.
Secrets, in the same way as the characters goals will vary in importance depending on the rank of the character within your project. Secrets can be anything from the character secretly speaking English whilst hiding it from their other half, or something less serious like they have a love for all things green, yet they are so ashamed of this fact, they keep it locked away from the world at all times.
It could be said that quirks are less important to the overall story, but they are nonetheless important in regards to making your character as real as possible. These can again range in importance, from a twitch of the eye when they lie which could give them away in a pressure situation, to biting their nails when they’re bored.
Finally Partners and Affiliations is an important section as it allows you to keep track of any of the ties that you have between your characters. Be it a business relationship, or a mutual understanding between two strangers both working towards the same cause. If you would like to see an example of how I set this out then please click the link below and view the word document. This is an example from my Graphic Novel version, but it still has all of the above sections within. Character Profile Outline – Comic Version
Going into a little detail about the kind of things I’ve seen the really in-depth profiles show, they cover much more when it comes to the physical details. These can be; Hair, eyes, mouth, face, skin, build, chest, groin, hands, legs, feet or other. The parts that I usually don’t add are the chest, groin, hands, legs and feet. Usually, as long as you’re not being extremely vague, you should have enough detail to work with and for people to visualise.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the post, and I hope that it has been a little bit useful in regards to planning out your characters. Thank you for reading.