A Worksheet for Creating and Developing Your Characters

In case you didn't know, National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo, isn't Camp NaNoWriMo goes on during the months of April and July. As I've been preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo, I am reminded of how much about my protagonist and antagonist I need to know before I write my first word today.

I always like to have a worksheet for my characters, and these get constantly updated with pertinent information as I write. Since I use Scrivener, I can directly link new information to my character worksheet.

So I've developed a worksheet to use for both developing and keeping track of my characters.

If female--Maiden name?

Role in story (protagonist, antagonist, minor character, etc.):

Goal in story (i.e. what is my character trying to accomplish?):

How long have they worked at their current job?

Is this their dream job, or would they rather be doing something else?

How does my character get along with his or her co-workers? Boss?

What subject(s)

What does my character wear to work?

What does my character wear at home?

How does my character come off to others by their dress? Polished? Rumpled? Enviable?

What style of haircut? 

How does my character wear it to work? 

How does my character wear it at home? 

Do they dye their hair or keep it natural?

-If female--Makeup styles (day and night):

Reaction in a Crisis or Under Stress?

Interaction with someone he/she doesn't like?

Interaction with someone he/she does like?

What does my character value in his/herself? Is it the same as what they admire in others?

What is my Character's Biggest Fear?

How Does my Character Speak?
-What kind of vocabulary does he or she have?

-What does his or her voice sound like?

What is my Character's Biggest Strength?

What is my Character's Biggest Weakness?

Fatal Flaw(s):
How does it influence the story?

Does my Character Come off Differently to Men and Women--in either personality or appearance?

-What does my character really want?
Can they ever have it? Why or why not?

-What or who is keeping my character from their goal in this novel?

-Here is a place to summarize anything about your character that might be applicable to the story.

This worksheet should give you a solid start to your character. You don't have to fill out all of it, but it helps to think about these questions so that you know most of these things about your characters. A lot of this may not be written into your novel (and probably shouldn't be), but the more you know about your character, the more real they will appear on the pages.