For a fantastic template that’s free to be copied for personal use, go to the following link:
Fiction Writer’s Character Chart.
For another fantastic resource, go to Holly Lisle’s site at: http://hollylisle.com/fm/Articles/wc2-2.html for a great book excerpt on “How to Create a Character” and read on subjects such as:
1) Don’t start your character off with a name or a physical description.
2) Do start developing your character by giving him a problem, a dramatic need, a compulsion.
3) Don’t rely on crutches.
4) Do empathize with your character.
5) Don’t sympathize with your characters.
6) Finally, do write from your own life.
More ideas on fleshing out a character? Yes, I got ’em. Check out the following link: http://www.communicatrix.com/2007/09/character-checklist.html, where you can read an article entitled “Priming the Idea Pump” (A Character Checklist shamelessly lifted from acting.)
You can also go to:
“Seven Common Character Types”
by Terry W. Ervin II, at:
Developing your characters through the use of good dialogue is also a must. For a good primer on doing this, check out Mary Cook’s article, “It’s Not What They Say…,” at:http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/say.shtml
Do you want to make sure a particular character is not a “Mary Sue”?
“Rob, what’s a Mary Sue?”
According to Wikipedia, a “Mary Sue,” in part, is:
A Mary Sue (sometimes just Sue), in literary criticism and particularly in fanfiction, is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as wish-fulfillment fantasies for their authors or readers. Perhaps the single underlying feature of all characters described as “Mary Sues” is that they are too ostentatious for the audience’s taste, or that the author seems to favor the character too highly. The author may seem to push how exceptional and wonderful the “Mary Sue” character is on his or her audience, sometimes leading the audience to dislike or even resent the character fairly quickly; such a character could be described as an “author’s pet”.
To give your character the “Mary Sue” litmus test, go to the following site:
Another great resource to track down Web resources for developing characters, is to take a look at the article “Web Resources for Developing Characters” by Greg Knollenberg, located at:
Here’s another wonderful character chart by Charlotte Dillon, that can be found at:
“Character Building Workshop–Your story people will never be the same.”
Below is an excerpt pulled from the site:
“The Character Building Workshop is an independent study of your characters using these online questionnaires.”
To check out this series of questionnaires, and the other resources available from them, go to:
For a short piece offering tips from Debbie Lee Wesselmann called “Tips for Characterization” go to:
For another cool site that offers downloadable, and very interesting Character Charts, go to:
Need to flesh out that villain, then check out “VILLAINS ARE PEOPLE, TOO, BUT…”
by Stella Cameron, at:
More “Dialogue” help? Sure. Go to: “Top 8 Tips for Writing Dialogue”
By Ginny Wiehardt, at:
however, be sure to click on each hyperlink on each individual tip for further instruction.
More dialogue help? Got it.
Check out: “Speaking of Dialogue” by Robert J. Sawyer, at:
Now this one might seem odd at first, but hang in there. There is a role-playing game called G.U.R.P.S. The acronym stands for Generic Universal Role-Playing Game. After a moniker like that, a writer might ask, “What’s that got to do with what I’m trying to do–work on my character?”
Maybe a lot. One of the premises of this role-playing game, is the importance of giving a “character” skills, quirks, disadvantages. And these lists of said items (characteristics) can be quite helpful. Go and check them out at: http://homepage.mac.com/bowman/gurps/ads/
For a list of some interesting character development exercises, check out:
Well, that’s it for now, but there’s more than a few nuggets of learning with these links to help you get on your way of developing, fleshing out your characters–whether they’re heroes or villains.
And, as always,
All my best,
Rob M. Miller