Character Sketches

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This post goes along with a previous post I had about writing flat characters. By creating a thorough character sketch with a backstory, I’m able to really get to KNOW my characters and flesh out my stories better. Previously, I used my own Q&A worksheet, but found it much easier to use someone else’s. I follow K.M. Weiland’s blog and used her great questionnaire.

Each question leads to a stronger awareness of who your character is and what motivates or scares them, and many other traits you didn’t know that character even had. Some of the questions aren’t easily answered, but by the third page I feel like we’ve been introduced and I have a good feel for who the character is.

I also write an autobiographical backstory for each main character and then tie them all together. I start from birth and to whom, then into education and young life, then delve into what happened in their lives to make them who they are today. By the end I feel like I have a whole book to publish on a single character, but will only draw from that history. It’s surprisingly fun to write the history of villains. Give it a try!

After I have all the backstory typed onto my computer and connected through hyperlinks in my word processing program, I print the pages out and put them into an organized notebook. It helps me to have order so I can find things when I need them.

This method works for me. Do you have a process in getting to know your characters? How do the introductions go?

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3 thoughts on “Character Sketches

  1. I love the suggestions and the outline! Thanks for sharing. This is one area that I haven’t become adept at quite yet. I appreciate all the help I can get! -Rachael Ritchey

    • Megan Sutherland

      Thanks. The outline has really helped me a lot. You find out things you never knew about the character. And the questions lead you in a way to picking out the character traits that are most important to your character and story. Research and fleshing out characters can be productive during writers block. Thanks for the comment 🙂

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