Character chart for you writers – courtesy of @epiguide

I’ve got more characters in my head than I know what to do with, lately. When I began writing on Sanguine Affliction back in the day, we had our own bio form that fit my needs for a lot of years. Once I started putting all that role playing together, I realized – I had a crap load of people to keep track of. Most of my characters were created back in 2005, and I still forget silly things like first names. I like this form and I think I’ll start using this version.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

The EPIGUIDE.COM Character Chart for Fiction Writers
This chart can be found at http://www.epiguide.com/ep101/writing/charchart.html

Print this page to complete the form for each main character you create. IMPORTANT: Note that all fields are optional and should be used simply as a guide; character charts should inspire you to think about your character in new ways, rather than constrain your writing. Fill in only as much info as you choose. Have fun getting to know your character!

Character’s Full Name: __________________________________  

   Date: ____________________

Name origin:
Nickname, if any (if so, explain its origin – e.g. who created it?):
Does s/he like the nickname?
Birth date:
Place of birth:
Ethnic background:
Religion:
Degree of religious practice (e.g. orthodox, casual, lapsed)::
Current address:
Does s/he rent or own?
Brief description of home (apartment, house, etc.):

 

Does s/he live with anyone?
Describe the area in which s/he lives  (city, town, rural, other):

 

Is this his/her ideal home and location? If not, what would s/he prefer?

 

Home decor:    Expensive     Inexpensive     Carefully planned     Comfortable     Neat     Cluttered
Does s/he drive? Own a car? (Make, model, color, age, etc.):

 

Pets?  (If so, what kind/how many/names?)
If so, how important are they? How well are they treated?

 

Current occupation (include length of time, location, job title):
Job satisfaction (happy, discontent, ambivalent, ambitious…):
Income:
Sexuality (e.g. straight, gay, bisexual, asexual, uncertain…):
Marital status:
If married or currently romantically involved, with whom, and for how long?
List any significant previous romantic partners:
For current spouse/partner, what does the character call him/her (pet names, nicknames, etc.)?
How did they meet?

 

 

 

Any children (include names, ages, other parent if different from any current partner):
Describe his/her relationship with children (if any)?

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE: 

Height: Weight: Body type (thin, athletic, overweight, curvy, muscular, etc.)
Eye color: Need glasses/contacts/hearing aid? Skin tone (pale, ivory, tan, olive, ruddy, brown, etc.):
Face shape (round, oval, chubby, thin, long, square, heart-shaped, etc.:
Any prominent features, freckles/moles/scars/tattoos or other distinguishing marks:
Whom does s/he most look like (e.g. famous person or relative)?
General health (good, excellent, poor…)?
Any current health problems or chronic conditions?

 

How does s/he dress?

Price:   Expensive     Average     Inexpensive    Cheap

Style:   Haute Couture   Conservative     Trendy     Eclectic    Business     Sexy    Gaudy     Casual     Sloppy

Why does she dress in the above manner (e.g. to be noticed)?

 

 

Any special jewelry? (If so, why is it special?)    What about accessories?
Grooming:     Fastidious/Very neat     Average     Clean but scruffy    Dirty/Unkempt

If other than average, why?

 

 

Describe hairstyle  (long, short, crewcut, locs, bangs, side-part etc.):

 

Natural hair texture  (smooth, wavy, curly, etc.):

 

Current hair texture (if different):
Natural hair color:

 

Current hair color (if different):

SPEECH AND LANGUAGE/COMMUNICATION:<div align=”center”>

Pace of speech (fast, average, slow?): Voice tone (shrill, high, average, deep, squeaky, hoarse, harsh, authoritative, cultured, etc.):
Accent/dialect, if any: Any favorite/habitual words/phrases? Curse words?
Describe general vocabulary or speech pattern (e.g. educated, precise, pretentious, average, uneducated, vulgar…)
Mannerisms/demeanor?

Cool/confident    Volatile     Nervous/shy    Aggressive     Friendly     Remote     Other (describe)

 

Typical posture:

Stiff     Stands straight but not stiffly     Average, varies with mood     Slumped/defeated      Slouchy, careless

Relaxed     Other (describe)

Gestures:   Rarely     Controlled     When excited    Most of the time     Wildly/oddly     Other (describe)

 

Common/habitual gestures (e.g. nail-biting, hair patting, drumming fingers, clenched fists, hands in pockets, etc.):

EVERYDAY BEHAVIOR / HABITS:

Finances: (prudent/cautious, some debt, lives paycheck to paycheck, deep in debt, criminal activity, etc.):
Personal Habits: Smoking, Drinking, Drugs, Gambling, etc.? Are any of these addictions?
Morning Routine:  Describe the character’s morning rituals. Who else is sleeping in the same bed? What time does he/she wake up? Is he/she cheerful in the morning?  What does he/she do during breakfast-read, watch tv, feed kids, etc.
Afternoon/Workday:  Does s/he work outside the home? How does he/she get there? Is s/he good at this job? What if anything would he/she rather be doing? How long and hard is the work day? If the job isn’t outside the home, what does a typical afternoon consist of?
Dinner:  Does s/he eat at home or go out a lot? What is/are his or her favorite restaurant(s)? Who cooks at home?  Does s/he eat alone?
Evening:  What does your character do on a typical evening? Where? With whom? How much does he/she enjoy it? What is the ideal evening for him or her?
Sleep Habits:  Fall asleep easily, or an insomniac? Any recurring dreams? Sleep soundly, or toss & turn?
Any special talents? Skills?
What is s/he particularly unskilled at?
Any hobbies (sports, games, arts, collecting, etc.)?

FAMILY OF ORIGIN:

Mother’s name (include maiden name if known/applicable):
Current status:  __ living __ deceased   (If alive, enter age: ____ )
Mother’s occupation, if any:
Describe the mother’s relationship with character:
Father’s name:
Current status:  __ living __ deceased   (If alive, enter age: ____ )
Father’s occupation, if any:
Describe the father’s relationship with character:
Any step-parents, foster parents, or birth parents (if not same as above):

(If s/he is adopted, does s/he know? If not, why?)

Sibling(s) (include age and birth order relative to main character):
Relationship(s) with character:
Nieces/Nephews: In-Laws, if any:
Other than the above, who else in the story is part of his/her extended family (e.g.  cousins, etc.)?

THE PAST:

Home town (if different from current home):
Was his/her childhood happy? Troubled? Dull?  Does the character remember it accurately?
Earliest memory:
Happiest memory:
Saddest memory:
How much school did s/he attend, if any? Did/does s/he like school? Why or why not?

 

Most significant childhood event:
Other significant childhood events:
Significant past jobs:
Police record (explain any convictions, sentence served, where/when):
First crush/romantic love?
What was his/her first sexual experience?  Is it a positive or negative memory?

 

Major illnesses, accidents or traumas? How is s/he still affected, if at all?

RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS:

Who is his/her best friend?
Who are his/her other close friends?
How in general does the character relate to friends?
… to strangers?
… to spouse/Lover?
… to past spouses/lovers?
… to own children, if any?
… to other family members?
… to the same sex?
… to the opposite sex?
… to children in general?
… to others who are more successful?
… to others who are less successful?
… to boss (if any)?
… to underlings at work?
… to competitors?
… to authority (police, IRS, politicians, attorneys, doctors, etc.)?
What do most people consider his/her most likeable trait?
What do most people consider his/her biggest flaw?
Any secret attractions/crushes?
In romantic relationships, is s/he generally monogamous or uncommitted? (If the latter, is s/he honest w/ partners?)
Is his/her sexual behavior inhibited, average, experimental, or reckless? Has this changed (and if so, why)?
Whom does s/he dislike most, and why?
Whom does s/he like most, and why?
Who’s the most important person in his/her life right now, and why?
Whom does s/he secretly admire (nonromantic), and why?
Who was his/her biggest influence, and why?
Person s/he most misunderstands or misjudges:
Person who most misunderstands or misjudges him or her:
Has s/he lost touch with anyone significant in his/her life? If so, why?
Worst end of a relationship (could be friend, romance, colleague…)?
Whom does s/he most rely on for practical advice?
Whom does s/he most rely on for emotional support?
Whom, if anyone, does s/he support (e.g. advice or emotional support)?

MENTAL ATTITUDE/PERSONAL BELIEFS:

Any psychological issues (e.g. phobias,  depression, paranoia, narcissism, etc.)?
Is s/he an optimist or pessimist?
Meyers Briggs Personality Type (see http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp):
S/he is most comfortable when …  (alone, hanging w/friends, drinking, etc.):
S/he is most uncomfortable when … (in a crowd, alone, speaking in public, etc.):
Is s/he cautious, brave, or reckless in his/her approach to life?
What does s/he most value/prioritize (family, money, success, religion, etc.)?
Whom does s/he really love best?
Whom or what would s/he be willing to die for?
Is s/he generally compassionate or self-involved?
Personal philosophy:
What’s his/her most embarrassing moment?
What is his/her secret wish?
What (or who) is his/her biggest fear?
Any prejudices (race, culture, sexuality, religion, etc.)?
Political party or beliefs, if any:
Does s/he believe in fate or destiny? Is s/he superstitious?
Character’s greatest strength:
Other good characteristics:
Character’s greatest flaw:
Other character flaws:
What are his/her own favorite attributes (both physical and personal)?

What about least favorite?

Are these feelings accurate?
How does s/he think others perceive him or her? (And is this accurate?)
Biggest regret:
Other regrets:
Proudest accomplishment:
Other accomplishments:
Quirks:
Character’s biggest secret(s)? Who else knows (if anyone)?
How does s/he react to a crisis?
What usually causes the problems in his/her life (romance, finances, friends, rivals, colleagues, personality flaws, health, etc.)?
What would s/he most like to change about her-/himself? Why?

 

Write a paragraph (~100 words) of the character describing him/herself:

 

Short term goals:
Long term goals:
Does s/he plan to achieve these goals,
or does s/he think they’re unrealistic?
Will others be affected? If so, does s/he care?
What if anything is stopping him/her from achieving these goals?
What event or occurrence does s/he most dread or fear?
What does he/she actively work to gain, keep or protect?  

 

Which person in his/her life would s/he most want to emulate?
Which person in his/her life would s/he least want to emulate?

 

 

LIKES/FAVORITES:

Food: Drink: Color:
Book: Film: TV Show:
Music/Song: Sport: Hangout(s):
Motto/Quote: Possession:

 

Copyright 2004 – 2011 by EPIGUIDE.COM, the Guide to Web Entertainment
This chart may be reprinted as long as above credit is included
http://www.epiguide.com/ep101/writing/charchart.html

1 Comment

  1. Noel Varner
    Aug 4, 2013

    Brilliant! I am not an Author but an Editor. I keep notes on characters to help me keep track from the beginning to the end of a manuscript while editing but not in such a wonderful format. Thank you for sharing this.

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