She has a Strength of nine, and a synergy bonus to kicking ass. Hells yeah!

The more I write the more I become convinced that it is imperative writers utilize character sheets. No one wants to read a story filled with one-dimensional characters who fall flat when it comes to being believable. Readers will forgive a lot in a story if the characters are people they can invest in and really care about. That means doing your legwork, and making sure you craft characters that can practically live and breathe on their own.

When you start talking about a series of books written about the same characters, it becomes all the more important to keep track of their specific traits. Relying on memory is like trying to wrangle a slippery eel, and let’s face it, no one wants to do that. If you’re a genius and can manage it, hat’s off to you sir. I know if I tried to rely solely on my memory the characters in my book would probably undergo sex changes at least twice. Honestly, though, I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read where the character’s eye color changed with each book. Good storytelling this does not make for, young padawan.

So, I sat down and started once more tinkering with a character sheet. I have this odd obsession with all of my setting information having to not only be organized, but pretty on the eyes as well. If I have an ugly setting document, I’m not happy with it. I will literally waste hours finding a way to better organize the information and decorate it. This may be a form of procrastination, but at least I can claim it’s related to my work.

Here is my finished product for a character sheet: click me!

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7 Comments

  1. I love that you include a picture on your character profile sheet. I reference pictures almost more than lists of data, though the data is also important.

    1. Yeah, I think it’s helpful to have a picture along with the description.

      Do you use character sheets at all to assist your writing? If you do, how do you go about building yours’?

  2. The devil is in the details. I think sometimes people get too wrapped up in the writing to take the time out to do the more tedious work. Your sheet is very well done and informative. I don’t know how long it takes you to do one, but it is worth the time and work.

    1. It can also go vice versa. Sometimes people get too wrapped up in the world building to ever get around to the writing of the actual story.

      It took me quite a while to make that sheet (the tables did not want to cooperate), but luckily I’ll be using it as a base for all the others. All I’ll have to do is just replace the name, information, and picture for each new character, but the format and tables will still be there. It was a pain in the ass for the original, but it’ll pay off in the long run for all the other sheets down the line.

  3. I do character sheets, but not always when a character begins to develop. Sometimes they come out of nowhere and I realize I need to remember what they look like and how old they are.
    I’ve found that I use different character sheets for different stories. I’m not sure why, that’s just how it happens. They usually include hair, eyes and birthplace. For some stories, it goes hair, eyes, birthdate, birthplace, occupation, parents, siblings, background. And of course, a picture. Their personality usually works its way into the background part, because I’ve already developed them at that point.

    For other stories, I use the character sheet from Dynamic Characters by Nancy Kress. When I get a troublesome character, who just won’t talk about himself, I turn to this one as well.

    1. That makes sense. I have an urban fantasy I’ve started working on alongside my high fantasy, and the sheet I posted here won’t really work all that well for my UF.

      So yeah. Different styles of sheets for different genres seems a likely choice.

      Also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Dynamic Characters sheet. I’ll have to google that and check it out.

      1. It’s in the book of the same title. I copied it all into a document at one point. It’s over three pages long, heh. Effective, though. I’ve made some great characters through it.

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