Character Profiles 101

If you struggle with character development or doubts about how convincing your characters might be, consider composing character profiles.

Why? Even if you don’t use all the information you include about your character in the actual story, it will help you as a writer to develop a more complete picture before you begin. I have found that it is a handy brainstorming tool when you are dealing with more than two distinct, primary characters. I didn’t create them for The Edinön Trilogy, but since Gray Haze features a dozen major characters, I thought it would be help me keep them all organized and separate in my mind.

The most important questions you should contemplate when writing character profiles are:

  1. What do they want?
  2. What is their role in the plot?
  3. What is their endgame?

Everything else, such as eye color, habits, fears, and flaws are useful as well, but not essential to include before beginning your story. In the profiles I made for Gray Haze, I included the following:

  • Name + name meaning
  • Archetypal role
  • Birthday + age
  • Personality traits
  • Goals
  • Conflicts + enemies
  • Appearance
  • Good/Bad habits
  • Deepest fears
  • Favorite things
  • Major flaws
  • Role in the plot
  • Family
  • Occupation
  • Endgame

Do I absolutely need all this information? No, but as I thought about these things and filled them out for each character, I began to visualize them more clearly. Some of these attributes have already been altered as I have written the story, but that doesn’t change the utility of jotting them down beforehand.

Check out this article about creating character profiles on reedsy. They have an awesome template you can download.

For now, let’s forget about all the gratuitous details and address the meat of each character: their desires, their purpose, and their endgame. Pull out a piece of paper or open a document and try brainstorming with me. Write about your own character in the place of the example below. 🙂

Character example: Amora, female lead in Gray Haze.

Desires

Amora wants to keep her family together. She wants to overcome past tragedies in her life and build a life for herself. She wants excitement and adventure. She wants to make a positive difference in the world. She wants a man who can support her and love her unconditionally. She desires romance and pleasant surprises. Although she enjoys taking risks, she desires sufficient stability to fall back on in case she stumbles.

From her desires, we can derive her purpose in the plot…

Purpose

Amora is an anchor for her family, a protector and nurturer; she’s a love interest for the male lead, and a bolt initiator. She will be the one to light the torch and lead the other characters into the unknown. She will be the first to fight against opposition when it arises. She won’t allow anyone to get between her and the people she cares about.

From her purpose, we can derive an endgame…

Endgame

I’ll keep it vague to avoid spoilers. Amora’s endgame is to become a formidable opponent to the main antagonist. She will be the one to open the door to the next book in the series. She won’t be afraid to pursue romance if the opportunity presents itself. She will become a source of inspiration for her family and friends.

This is one of the ways you can create unique, relatable characters with consistent characterization and meaningful growth. Just answer the three questions above and, if you want, add more details as you go.

I hope this helps! If you have anything to add, leave a comment under the post. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Reminder: Dawning Life will drop down to $0.99 from $2.99 tonight at midnight until 11:59 p.m. PDT (Sept. 27th).

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