Writers are artists of words. Whether we use a pencil or a computer, we can create worlds, tell tales, and give birth to characters. Through we may not paint portraits or sculpt statues, we do create images, feelings, and stories in our readers’ minds. One aspect of our art is the creation of characters. Before writing a book, it is always a good idea to sketch out the main players. These character sketches don’t just describe a character’s appearance, but who they are, their place in the story, and their motives to act. Here are a few tips to creating character sketches that really flesh out the personalities of the people in your story, helping them to seem real.
Making Small Talk
A character sketch, of course, involves basic information you need to know and remember throughout your story. I call this information “small talk” because you find it by asking the same questions you would ask a person when making small talk. Where do you work? Do you have any siblings? What do you like to do for fun? Even if some of this information doesn’t directly impact the story, it still needs to exist. Remember that these characters all have their own lives, their own worlds.
Go Scuba Diving
Once you figure out the basic information, it is time to dive deeper into the sea of your character’s life. In other words, it’s time to get personal. How do they decorate their room and why? What movies would they see in the theater, and what ones would they just rent from Red Box? What did they name their dog? They don’t even have to have a dog; it is simply the wide ocean of the differences between the names of Spot and Magnus which show the type of person your character is.
Walk In Your Character’s Shoes
As you go throughout your day, try to walk in your character’s shoes by deciding which type of shoes they would buy from the store. When you go to lunch, think about what meal they would order from the menu. How would they react to this traffic jam you are stuck in? These small, seemingly insignificant details really help to flesh out a character. You can find a lot of great questions to ask your character by googling “character sketch questions/template.” I also recommend taking the color code personality test for your character.