A heart pierced by a white feather with a stack of books in front of it. The spines on the books read Fan Fiction

OCtober 2020: Building Blocks

I’ve put together a cheat sheet based on how I begin building my characters. There’s tons of those out there already of course and a lot that go into details 500+ questions deep. But this one helps me get started and gives the character room to grow where needed. 

Click the image to get a version to download if you fancy one. 

Who are they?

Begin by jotting down three words that describe them. Don’t overthink it. Boil them down to the essentials.

Physical: Description. Notable Features. How do others see them?

On how do others see them think about things like: Are they intimidating others? Or do they get underestimated? What striking feature stands out that others will characterize them with? Stuff like that.

Voice: Vocabulary. Speech Pattern. Thought Process. Ticks.

This is where the character’s voice comes from as you write them. Think about what words they use a lot. Or if they favour simple words or big words. Their ticks in everyday life that bleeds into the narration. Do they think a lot? What do those thoughts look like?

Motivation: Goals. Why? Overcome

What are their goals as the story begins and as it continues or concludes? Why are they doing what they are doing? And what do they need to overcome? 

This, in particular, is the part that will change over time and show character development. Though, really, all of the above can (and might) change. Being consistent as you build them is important so that when the change happens it matters. 


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