D is for Developing Details (download my free character chart!) #AtoZChallenge

Posted April 4, 2019 in Blog Fests & Hops, Creative Writing / 6 Comments

The Blogging from A-Z Challenge continues today. Throughout April I’m posting about my life as a writer, including my inspirations, frustrations and celebrations.

For the letter D, I’m going to discuss how I develop my characters.

Discovery

The first thing I do when developing characters is try to get to know them better through some automatic writing. I will typically grab a piece of paper and write freehand in my character’s voice. I don’t worry about spelling and grammar and I don’t filter myself. I just get out the words as quickly as I can. Sometimes, I will write interview questions and then answer them as a particular character.

Then I spend a long time just daydreaming about the character and imagining myself in their shoes. How do they feel? What do they want most in the world? What’s the worst thing that could happen to them? I use music and art to inspire me during this stage. I like to scroll through images on Pinterest looking for portraits that match the general look of my character and these usually generate a lot of ideas about their identity and backstory.

Developing the Details

The next part of my process is to decide all the particular details about a character, including their personality traits, physical description and preferences. For this, I complete a character chart, filling in as much detail as I can.

Before writing the first draft, there are often lots of gaps on the sheet which I fill in as I go whenever I discover a new detail about the character. I find it handy to have something to reference while I’m writing so I don’t accidentally describe a character with the wrong eye colour or something.

Free Download

I’ve made my worksheet available for you to download for free from Google Docs at the link below. Feel free to alter it and use it as you wish!

5 Page Character Profile

Before you go…

Writers-how do you flesh out your characters? Do you use a character chart?

Readers-what kind of details make characters more realistic? Who is your favourite literary character?

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6 responses to “D is for Developing Details (download my free character chart!) #AtoZChallenge

  1. OMGoodness thank you so much. I have recently (as in last week) returned to my early writing of my life story. The character sheet as you’ve developed it is amazing and something that will help flesh out the people who form part of my personal history. The character sheets find depth and colour where I can see only one dimension. Visiting from the A-Z Challenge Road Challenge: L is for LIBRARIES
    Linda from QP and Eye

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