Friday, April 19, 2013

Characterization exercises

Happy Friday, everyone. I hope that you and your loved ones are all okay. It's been a tough week for a lot of people, and if you guys could use a distraction as much as I could, you've come to the right place.

EDIT: And I scheduled this post last night, before the current situation developed, so I'd like to stress the above words in the strongest possible terms: I hope you and yours are okay. Praying that this situation in my beloved hometown of Boston is resolved very soon.

To me, characterization is one of the most exciting parts of writing. I mean, who doesn't like creating people from scratch? Some characters just show up in your brain, fully formed, and have voices that just gush from your fingertips. But sometimes, those characters are a little harder to get to know, and it takes several drafts to figure out who these people are.

In my recent review of Nova Ren Suma's 17 & GONE, I talked a little about why I loved her characterization so much, even for characters who were only there for a couple paragraphs. It was the specificity - even the most mundane details weren't the kind of generic statements that could apply to any stock character. You could tell that she knew all of these characters so well.

And one of my favorite ways to get to that place with my own cast? Character sheets, baby.

My first writing partner gave me these - a fairly basic but still comprehensive one, and an extremely detailed one that's perfect for your protagonists, or even your awesome villain. They're a bit long, so I set each of them up in a Google doc for you to play around with.

The basic one

The detailed one

I hope you guys enjoy these - they always make me smile! And it's a great way to work out some interesting, specific tidbits, even if you never use them in the story.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Angelica R. Jackson said...

I haven't done anything as formal as a character sheet, but I do write "profiles" of each character. I'll take a look at these and see if you can convert me to character sheets!

Erin Shakespear said...

Oooooh! Character sheets.

We're such nerds. :)

Darshana said...

These are great. Thank you for sharing them with us!

Peggy Urry said...

Love this! Looking forward to using them. Thanks for a great post.