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Hygiene: Matilda’s clothes are clean, outdated and come in varying shades of purple.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

Story Starter! Use The 5 Senses To Describe

I titled this as another Story Starter but after completing the task a more apt name would have been Story Challenge.

It’s taken me a few days to write a list of descriptions for each of the 5 senses for the picture. Sometimes I agonize over words which then hinders my productivity.

Many authors describe landscapes so fluidly and with such finesse that I become intimidated. But, I refuse to let that stop me from working on my craft and sharing what I’ve composed. I know I need to improve in this area so that’s what I’m doing.

I’m not overly pleased with every description but at least I did it. To improve my technique, I will continue adding to the lists I created.

Sight:

Lush green hills surmounted by gray mountain tops

Thick clouds marbleized with patches of blue and smoky gray

A river surrounded by hills crowded with trees

A lake enclosed by hills thick with trees

A castle sitting on a hill rising above a small town

The sun is shining down

Sound:

Birds chirping

Water lapping at the shorline

The scurry of furry feet over grass

Bees buzzing

Smell:

pine

The sweet scents of pine and spruce

A clean wind blew from the south rustling leaves and tufts of grass

Earthy aroma of dirt and grass

Taste:

The smell of pine and spruce was so thick the scent clung to my taste buds caramel candy

I chewed on a piece of grass savoring the bittersweet flavor

Feel:

A lazy wind brushed my face

Branches reached out to tickle my arms and legs

The sun felt warm on my scalp

How are you at describing landscapes? I’d love to read your descriptions.