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Notes, tutorials, exercises, thoughts, workshops and resources about writing or storytelling art

How to Write Character Sketches (Part 3)

As I told you in the part 1 of this series, character bibles are used to define the story’s main characters during the pre-writing stage. These sketches must be as detailed as possible. In this way, you’ll be clear about your characters’ appearance, peculiarities, virtues, shortcomings, customs, relationships, etc. Think about actors and actresses who must be very familiar with the characters they play in order to make a good performance. A writer who gathers information about a character faces a similar job.

Feel free to create the type of character sketch that best suits you. If you don’t know where to start, you can use the character sketch outline that I use for my stories. In my opinion, this document covers the most important points of a sketch. Let’s take a closer look at them:

How to Write Character Sketches (Part 2)

As I stated in the first part of this series, the short character sketches can be used as writing prompts or as a prewriting strategy. Don’t be too exhaustive; it’s enough to just jot down a few general notes on your characters in order to know at a glance what is unique about each of them.

How to write a character sketch

To illustrate this, let me show you how I have designed my own character sketches:

1. Sketch Number

To start with, I like to organize my sketches by number and add their creation date. I also like to make note of what story they belong (or could belong) to.

2. Character’s Name or Nickname

If you want to delve deeper into this topic, take a look at the post titled, How to Name your Characters.

How to Write Character Sketches (Part 1)

There are many ways to write a story, and as a writer, you must find the system that best suits you. You may be a plotter who likes to create an outline before you sit down to write your novel, or you might prefer to leave more room for imagination. Nevertheless, in both cases, it is convenient to know your characters in depth. In this section, you’ll discover how to do this with a character sketch.

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Character sketches are, so to speak, the characters’ biography or CV. They can take many forms, but they are usually divided into two groups according to their purpose:

How to Name Your Characters

In many cultures, it is believed that a person’s name contains his/her essence. From a practical viewpoint, this may sound like an exaggeration, but it makes sense when we are talking about fictional names. For example, how different would it have turned out if Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes had been called Sherrinford Holmes as the author had originally planned?

How to pick names for fictional characters

Every name has different connotations for each of us because they remind us of different people; thus, it’s impossible to foresee the effect names will have on your readers. Nevertheless, here are some steps you can take to find names that best suit your characters:

How to Present Your Characters

Whether real or fantasy, human or animal, characters are part of every story. That’s why it’s very important for your words to breathe life into them. It’s up to you to make sure they are perceived as real by your readers, but how is this done?

Introducing Characters in a Story

You can always resort to a third-person narrator in order to describe your characters, but that’s not enough sometimes. If you want to create lively characters, there are six more effective ways to do so without using a narrator. Let’s analyze them one by one:

How to Create a Character Arc

A character arc is the transformation a character goes through from the beginning to the end of the story, the stages he (or she) goes through, and the psychological or emotional growth this process entails.

Storytelling: Character Arc

For you to understand it better, I’ll show you how you can create your own character arcs.