Character sheets and character resources

Not all writers use character sheets, but continuity is a lot easier when you do have one at hand; at least for major characters in the story. There is no real need to write a whole backstory for a background character, even though I know how we, as writers, are tempted to make all our characters three-dimensional.

There are also as many ways of making character sheets as there are ways of writing. In this post, I will share how I go about it. The method is by no means set in stone, but it doesn’t hurt to look at some resources if you’re struggling with building your characters. 


I usually start out with a summary of the character’s looks. For this, I’ll start by using Scrivener’s character sheet template (no, they didn’t pay me to say this, Scrivener is just really that awesome). Though I may not always complete the whole sheet during the “first round”, I do fill in as much as I can.

For some of the characters, I would search Pinterest for an image that kind of matches the pic I have in my head. Usually, these are models or actors/actresses that I don’t know — I very seldom “cast” an actor, etc. that I am familiar with. I may also use a reference picture for eye colour, hair, face shape, etc.

The character sheet on Scrivener is also quite basic, asking pertinent questions and I usually add in race, and disabilities or illnesses, and nationality.

At this time I usually don’t delve into the character’s history at all, but leave this for step two – the personality and background (or history).

Personality and background

“The character background is by far one of the most easily forgotten of character design, though it has a large effect on how your character interacts with others around them, and how they came to be who they are today.” – (Escamilla, 2015:1) 1001 Questions to Help Flesh Out Your Character, Christina Escamilla (2015) — Kindle version bought.

1001 Questions by Christina Escamilla is divided into the following parts: “The Mind”, “The Body”, The Soul”, Non-traditional Characters”. Obviously, you’re going to pick and choose from these questions and not answer all 1001 of them for every character! Some of them really are helpful in fleshing out your character, especially if you have an idea of where the story is going but still need to get to know your characters.

The most basic character sheet that I use looks like this:

  • Character Name:  
  • Role in Story:      
  • Physical Description:   
  • Race/nationality:  
  • Personality:   
  • Background:   
  • Conflicts – Internal:    
  • Conflicts – External:     

You can also always use the “Big-Ass Character Sheet” (which definitely does its name justice) and that can be found on DeviantArt.

Another awesome resource: Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters & Viewpoint, Orson Scott Card (2010)

Next time, i.e. Friday, I will show you how my character sheets look once done (though with spoilers removed) – both for an MC and a minor character.

Categories: Article, Worldbuilding, Writing

Tags: , , ,

1 reply


  1. Character Sheet: Selena Tellah, the Ruon Chronicles – Hersenskim – website of author Carin Marais

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Let Me Tell You the Story of...

A writing blog by H.R.R. Gorman

The Art of Blogging

For bloggers who aspire to inspire

Richard's Blog

A quiet corner to talk about my varied thoughts.

Tammy's Reading/Writing Life

A mother, wife, writer, teacher, coach, book fairy, and runner that has random thoughts about lots of topics!

The Official Blog of Horror and Fantasy Writer Lionel Ray Green

"Life is horror and fantasy, not necessarily in that order."

Thoughts of a Bored Writer

My writing. Mostly.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog



Afrikaanse fiksie deur Carin Marais


art. popular since 10,000 BC

Travels With Nano

Sharing the world's delightful sights and bites to inspire your next travel adventure.


Best-selling Author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series

Quiet Water Craft

Official crafty blog for my Quiet Water Craft Etsy shop

Julia's Creative Year

my year of trying to be more creative in different ways

Confessions of a Readaholic

Book Reviews | IAuhor nterviews | EST 2013

Art of Shaima

Fantasy Art and Illustration


Knit one, Crochet too, then go make something to eat!


(and crochets, and stitches, and is otherwise generally crafty)


A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.


Oh! Take a shit, read a story. - My Mother on flash fiction

%d bloggers like this: