character information worksheet for writers: free download

I've been trying to organize character-related details on my laptop, but I like to keep some basic info in my notebook for those times when I'm away from my computer or just feel like writing longhand. I recently changed notebooks again, and rather than copying everything into fresh pages in the new one, I decided to make these little info worksheets that I can more easily transfer around.

I thought they might be useful for other folks who, like me, sometimes have a hard time keeping all the little details straight. I've also used them to help me flesh out some of my characters.

Here are the included sections:
  • Name
    Not that I've done this or anything, but misspelling a character's name sure would be embarrassing.
  • AKA
    nicknames, previous names, titles, insulting epithets
  • Age
    For some reason, I always have a hard time deciding on an appropriate age for my characters.
  • Hair/Eyes
    I don't visualize the characters much, so it's surprisingly easy to forget how I described their hair.
  • Build
    size, shape, or even how they move goes here
  • Voice
    the sound of their voice, accent, slang, the types of words they use
  • Description
    other details that don't fit one of the categories above, scars, tattoos, missing fingers, or whatever
  • Quirks
    little behavioral quirks, especially habits
  • Traits
    ways I'd describe their personality, I usually limit this to the two or three most important things
  • Style
    how they dress or present themselves
  • Abilities
    skills, powers, specialties
  • Family
    close family and maybe a few words about their relationship
  • Work
    what they do to get by
  • Associates
    best friends, important connections, guild memberships, gang affiliations
  • Reputation
    how they're seen by people who don't know them well
  • Background
    important features of the character's past, most likely section to spill over onto the back of the sheet
  • Goals
    I try to fill this in for even minor characters who don't rate a full background, because everyone wants to gain or achieve something.
  • Role in the Story
    This one is up at the top of the page, because it's kind of important. I try to describe the purpose of the character in as few words as possible, especially in terms of how they relate back to the protagonist or main thread of the story. Some of the roles I have right now are "love interest," "backup," and "instigator."
Each form is half of a letter-sized sheet, ready to print, cut, and fill in. You can download the file here:
    PDF from Google Docs


    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

    You're free to download the sheet and re-post it on your own site, as long as you credit me by linking to this post and don't alter the sheet, remove my credit, or use it for commercial purposes.

    The Creative Commons license only applies to the character information PDF linked above. Everything else on this site, unless otherwise stated, should be considered All Rights Reserved. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. If you do re-post it somewhere, I'd love to hear about it.

    3 comments:

    1. This is great! I'm always looking for character development tools, and have several of those multi-page questionnaires. This is a lovely quick reference and will be a great addition to my "keeping track of characters" arsenal. I will most likely share a link to this post with my writing group as well.

      ReplyDelete
    2. Thank you! This is wonderful! I have been needing something like this! I'm still in middle school, but I want to get into writing books/stories. This is a good start! Any tips on what I should do before I start the actual writing? Thanks again!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Get a really solid handle on your characters, try to understand their backgrounds and motivation. Make sure that they have choices to make, that they aren't just sitting back and watching everything happen. Have some idea of an ending that will let your characters grow and change before you start, but don't lock them in to one path if you get great new ideas while you're working.

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