Making Character Profiles for Fiction

Character Creation Series

I’ve always been interested in Role Play Games (RPGs), and like many RPG players my favorite part is the character creation. You are building a person from the ground up. In character creation you choose appearance, demeanor, backstory, and even what type of weapons they use. With fiction, you create your characters rather than using representations of real people.

When I was in high school, a large portion of my senior project was character creation. All the time and detail that goes into a character, whether minor or main, was pretty impressive. For me, it took months trying to build the perfect template for the profile much less using it to create a character. That character profile ended up being used for my first attempt for a novel but ended up getting thrown away because it really didn’t help me at all. With my new novel, I had to start from scratch again.

I’ll tell you now that there is no such thing as the perfect character profile. They vary with the writer, genre, and story.

My current character profile template is 4 pages long, without the information put in and I’m still doing a little bit of tweaking on it. The goal is by the end of June I’ll get started on filling them out for my main characters, and that alone could take me a couple months. I’m the type of person that loves a lot of detail in things like that, even if a good portion of it doesn’t get into the story.

What are they really for?

Essentially, character profiles are the skeleton of your characters where your writing is everything else. You use character profiles to help you understand who the character is, that way when you write your first draft they can be portrayed fully. You aren’t going to include everything in your profile in the writing but the more you know the better they are.

All in the details

It can be as detailed or as vague as you need it to be but there are always the basics to include.

  • Appearance
  • Backstory
  • Skills/Abilities
  • Goals in the plot

For a more detailed profile you can essentially go onto Pinterest and type in Character Profiles and you will find a lot of templates that can be helpful.

Or you can create it yourself with the little facts that pop into your mind for the story. If you have a part in the story where your character is able to fix a car because they spent years working as a mechanic, include that in your character profile. Same goes for if it is important to know that they have an estranged relationship with their family.

Over time the character profiles will change with your characters, and will expand further. And eventually you’ll have an entire folder of character profiles to pull from later when you write sequels or even stories that are in the same universe!

Don’t Forget to Check Out the Other Posts for Character Creation:

It’s Just A Bunch of Backstory

Character Interviews

Choosing Character Names

She’s Got the Look – Character Appearances

Character Opinions

Character Motivation

Character Relationships

Character Speech Patterns

Creating Flaws

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