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Character Development Worksheet for Writers [Download FREE Template]

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Last Updated on February 15, 2021 by Mileva Stankovic

If you’ve finally got the idea and are ready to sit and start writing, you might need to take a look at this as well. The Ultimate Checklist and Character Development Worksheet will help you develop fictional characters your readers will love.

We would like to make a note about creating fictional characters in the reader’s mind. One thing that can help you is creating a profile of a fictional character before you continue writing. Having a profile in front of you will make you feel as if the character is more realistic and also help with the storyline flow.

For instance, many authors out there will tell you that they had only a speck of idea when they started creating their character and that they “grew along the storyline”.

However, many young authors can’t begin to imagine what it’s like and they often think those who can build their characters along the way have some magical powers.

ALSO READ: How to Survive a Negative Book Review

What’s the catch and why do you need character development worksheet

Some authors “feel” their characters more and can connect with them on a deeper level. Many think about their fictional characters and keep them in their head all the time. However, this might seem tiresome to some people.

That’s why you can download this printable PDF and start using the character development worksheet instantly.

Sometimes Developing a Fictional Character is a burden

Image by Antonio López from Pixabay

With Character Development Worksheet, it doesn’t have to be. You’ll have more fun selecting the descriptions of your fictional character and exploring all options.

Your character will be consistent if you keep it in front of you while you write.

If you are building a world with many different characters, this can point you in the right direction if you get lost while writing.

What you’ll find in the Character Development Worksheet

In the pages of Character Development Worksheet you’ll find:

  • A to Z list of adjectives that you can use to brainstorm your character
  • Character Type Checklist with enough space to describe multiple characters
  • Space to include Protagonist, Antagonist, Villain, Confidante, Foil, and others
  • Space to answer the basic WH questions
  • Space to add other characteristics

The Character Development Worksheet is designed to be used with the lists that are written below.

Download here (no email required)

Basic info for Developing a Fictional Character

Remember to combine this list with Character Development Worksheet to create a complex character.

  • Name
  • Age
  • Nationality
  • What is the economic status of his family when he was a child
  • On the other note, what is his economic status when he is adult
  • Where did he grow up
  • Where does he live now
  • What does he do for a living
  • How much does he earn
  • What are his talents and skills
  • If he has brothers and sisters, when was he born in comparison to them
  • Describe the relations with his family members
  • The relations with this spouse, if there is any
  • Describe the relations with his children, if there is any
  • What are the other important people in his life, describe the relations
  • What are his hobbies

ALSO READ: 4 Ways to Tap Into the Collective Unconscious for Inspiration

Physical characteristic checklist

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Race
  • Eye color
  • Hair color
  • Does he wear glasses or contacts
  • Skin color
  • Face shape
  • Facial characteristics
  • What clothes does he wear
  • Manners
  • Habits
  • General health – physical and mental
  • Does he have a favorite saying
  • The way he speaks
  • Does he have limitations
  • Style
  • Biggest flaw
  • Biggest fine point

Personal/intellectual traits checklist

  • Education level
  • IQ level
  • Does he have any mental disorders
  • Experiences
  • Short term life goals
  • Long term life goals
  • How does the character see himself
  • How does the character believe others see him
  • Confidence level
  • Is he logical, emotional or combined
  • What would make him ashamed

HAVE FUN: The A B C of Writing

Emotional characteristic checklist

  • Is he an introvert or extrovert
  • How does he deal with anger, sadness, conflicts, changes
  • How does he deal with the loss
  • What does he want out of life
  • Is there something he would like to change and can he change it
  • Motivation
  • Fears
  • What makes him happy
  • Is he judgmental
  • Generous
  • Is he kind

Spiritual characteristic checklist

  • Is he religious
  • What does he believe in
  • Is religion or spirituality an important part of his life
  • If so, what role does it have
  • Fictional character involvement in the storyline:
  • Is he the main character
  • What’s his entrance like

Describe relations with other important characters

One more thing – in trying to make your character alive, make sure you don’t reveal all of his traits at once! Just like in life, where we slowly discover people’s motives and needs, fears and desires, in literature we must aim at slowing down and letting the reader decide how fast they will discover the characters.

Remember that there is no rush for you, the only one who can hurry is the reader with turning the pages of your book.

To achieve this, place your character in situations that will slowly reveal their intentions and needs.

Oftentimes you can even omit the complete description by just mentioning the most prominent feature. Also, the way you mention that feature can challenge the reader to skip the bedtime and finish your book.

You also don’t have to showcase a complete list of features every time your character shows. Pick a few traits which will resurface depending on the situation.

For example, let’s say your character is a long-haired young man with severe social anxiety, doesn’t drive, and is prone to night walks while listening to music on his headphones. You already introduced him, but later in the book, you can simply say:

“She was hurrying up, pausing from her graveyard shift to grab something to eat. The night was a peaceful one and while she sat in her car, waiting for the red light to change, she wondered what fast food place is still open.

The light turned green and her phone beeped, the picture of her boyfriend popping up. When she looked back on the street, a young man was in front of her car, appearing to be deaf, with his hands in his pocket and his hair in a long ponytail. She pressed the brakes but he ignored the whole scene, calmly passing to the other side of the street while his light was red.”

We know he’s not obviously deaf, he’s just listening to loud music. We know he has social anxiety, and we now wonder whether he will meet “her” again and if she will recognize him as “the guy I almost hit”. Will she cheat her boyfriend with him? Will he beat his social anxiety with her? Maybe they will need to work together but she can’t stand him being awkward?

Summary

Writing is a play, and the more you play with your imagination and freedom, the better it becomes. Take the time to go through this character development worksheet. Think about how you want your fictional character to look for your readers. One thing is certain – if you enjoy creating your fictional character, readers will love learning more about him.

BONUS master list of facial expressions

Character Development Worksheet
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