Posted in Inspiration Station, Writing

Inspiration Station: Anatomy of A Character

Anatomy of a character inspiration station

I know some people like to allow their characters to develop naturally through the course of the story. Others don’t know anything about their characters until they write them down. Then there are some who plan and plan and plan their characters out.

For me, it all depends on the novel.

For my George Florence series I had personalities in mind for my characters. Then I wrote them and they turned out completely different.

For my Take Over novel I had their personalities planned and so far they’re sticking to them.

For my Diary of a Lover novel, I let the characters run the show.

So you never really know what is going to happen whether you plan or not.

However, there are definitely a few things you should know about your character before writing them:

1. First and last name
2. Gender
3. Age
4. Career and/or Education

As long as you know those four key points (and I guess number four could be optional) I think your character can wing it for the novel.

Then again, it can be fun to plan. If you are a planner for your characters then I would suggest this:

Character Chart by EpiGuide.

It’s a very in depth profile for your characters. Some information most likely isn’t needed, but a lot of the information is something you wouldn’t even think to include.

It’s fun to try anyway.

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Author:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Poli is a writer and blogger. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She enjoys writing young adult novels, middle-grade, and children’s picture books. She is currently working on her first novel.

12 thoughts on “Inspiration Station: Anatomy of A Character

  1. This is something I don’t always do. Heck, I’m lucky if I have a first/last name and a gender. Some characters I have more. Some I have less. It depends on the story. A lot of my shorter pieces will have first names only if one at all.

    I think the only example I have of knowing pretty much everything is Puck’s Choice and only with Puck, Jay and Rand. I need to sit down and figure out everything else with the others so I can make a couple of info pages for the site. Hmmm…

    1. First and last name
    – Puck Dupree
    – Randolph “Rand” Thomas Hunter
    – Jay Henry Reed
    2. Gender
    – Female
    – Male
    – Male
    3. Age
    – First book? 16
    – 17
    – 18
    4. Career and/or Education
    – First book? all three high school
    – Final amount? Puck: high school graduate; Rand: some college; Jay: bachelor’s degree in Sports Science

    1. There you go. You have the basics down. 🙂
      I don’t think a character profile is really necessary for shorter pieces. I guess it depends on what’s going on in the story and just how long it actually is.

  2. I like to plan my characters and then let them run the show. I use a set of interview questions to get to know them better. But before I do that I build a basic character profile: name, gender, age, occupation, where they live, physical description, who there friends are & what they’re afraid of.

  3. Hmmmmm it also depends on what I’m writing. My last NaNo novel was a Historic Fiction and therefore I needed a lot of research. Also, because it had so many characters with different personalities and traits and events affecting them each differently (some body possession too) I had to make sure I knew each character very well. Planned. They still did their own thing but according to their character.

    My short stories are completely pantsed right down to the characters and sometimes I just neglect naming altogether and focus on story.

    I, right now, am writing a romantic-ish novel and the characters are defined as you stated above; name, last name, age, occupation and importantly their goal/desire as it shapes their actions and conversations. However, everything else is just pantsed, adding that bit of adventure into the whole tale.

    1. Well, I definitely think it’s easier to plan a character for a novel than a short story. But every story is different, just like how every character is different. Some can be planned, some can’t.

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