Story Starter! Character Sketch

Every story needs a cast of well-developed characters. In order to engage readers they must be relatable and authentic. Without interesting, quirky, or conflicted characters narratives are flat and one dimensional.

Would Lord Voldemort be as intriguing without the glimpses into his dark childhood? The layers J.K Rowling added to his personality gives readers an insight into how flawed his psyche is. A young boy, orphaned by his dead mother and neglectful father, forced to live in a home where he isn’t understood.

How many people can relate to feeling ostracized? Everyone. We’ve all felt left out at some point in our lives. This back story for Voldemort adds the human element that connects readers to characters.

Rowling also gave Professor Albus Dumbledore human qualities that only an in-depth character analysis could achieve-his love of lemon drop candy and his affection for Gellert Grindelwald. Not only do we learn that Dumbledore cared for someone when he was young, we discover that he held some radical beliefs regarding wizards and muggles.

So simple, so unexpected, so human. Without these little character nuances, readers may grow bored, apathetic and unwilling to continue with the story.

One of the most effective ways to accomplish this goal is to write a character sketch. The most basic character sketch is a list of physical traits the character possesses; more in depth ones help create a fully developed character who is uniquely human with a rich personality and flaws.

Main characters will need a more comprehensive sketch but don’t neglect to make one for minor characters. Minor characters enrich a story while adding dimension and insight into how the main character is perceived in their world.

For a list of Character Sketches click here.

My Character Sketch

Basic Information:

Name: Matilda Kookyberry

Nickname: Corkscrew

Age: 35

Physical Appearance:

Height: 5’2″

Weight: 135 lbs.

Hair Color: Jet Black

Eye Color: Purple

Most Prominent Physical Feature: Hair

Type of Clothes: Long dresses with pinched waists and high collars, low-heeled shoes

Hygiene: Matilda’s clothes are clean, outdated and come in varying shades of purple.

Her shoes are well-worn because of the long walks she takes through the countryside. She enjoys watching the boats sail by and often dreams of taking a trip on one someday.

Friends and Family:

Parents: Russell and Aphrodite Kookyberry

Siblings: Matilda is an only child.

Best Friend: Nora Slick

A tall, thin woman who wears pencil skirts and stiletto heals. Her hair is combed back into a severe bun. A single black lock lies on her forehead like a shiny fishhook.

Other Friends: Donise Biblio the librarian

Acquaintances: Women from the quilting and arbor clubs

Pets: ferret, cats,

Work, Education and Hobbies

Education: Attended boarding school and finishing school but disliked both

Occupation: Piano teacher

Hobbies: Reading, quilting, gardening, collects butterflies and post cards

Psychological Make-Up

Personality: Optimist, cheerful, extrovert

How do they view themselves: Unique, great head of hair, kind, open-minded

How do others view her: Odd, kind, creative, easy to talk to, loves to talk

What did you come up with?  Please share your character sketches in the comment section below.

Author: Ellwyn

I live with my loving husband, two children and dog in Philadelphia, PA. I discovered my passion for writing in second grade when I had to write a book report for school. I was so excited to write the report, until my mother told me that I had to write about someone else's book and not my own story. I became indignant and decided that once I finished the book report I would most certainly write my own original story. I have been writing ever since! My self-published book Chris Kringle's Cops was a Finalist in The Reader's Favorite Book Contest for 2016. I am so happy to share this story with you.  My picture book Kamyla Chung and the Creepy Crawlies was given a 5 Star rating by Reader's Favorite Book Reviews in 2017.

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