How to create awesome characters for your story + free character template
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
characters are one of the most important parts of any story. But they aren't very easy to write. You can spend so much time trying to develop your characters and end up wasting your time. But before we get started with anything else go subscribe to my blog and get my character template now!! I included some super important questions which you really should know about your characters. then again you might not need to develop your characters as much or you might need to do more development before hand. I often read stories who’s plot drags on and isn’t my favorite but if I love the characters, I read on. but if the characters are annoying or two dimensional I can’t make myself read on. That isn’t to say that you can create great characters and a crappy plot. You need to do your best but characters are so important. These people tell your story for you. They make the reader feel and experience the story, what you want to tell. A good character will make the reader laugh and cry with them. A bad one will just make them put the book down. that’s why it’s important to create a character template before you start your story, yes even my panster friends out there. Technically i lied, you don't have to actually. some people don't outline and the characters turn out amazing but if your a new writer i really recomend you to outline them even if its super basic. In my opinion It’s always better to plan your characters and their arcs beforehand. Today I’ll be sharing my way for creating awesome characters. Now keep in mind that this is just the bare minimum. You can go so much more in detail and in depth. I’m just showing you guys how to get started and the most important things you have to know about them. As always my method isn’t perfect, this is just what I found after some research and based on what works best for me. Also before we start i have free character templates just for you subscribe to my newsletters to get them. I hope this really helps you, read on to find out more.
1. Name and appearance
Obvious isn’t it, but so many writers just jump into the story without doing this step properly. Research the name you pick, does it fit the character? Does the meaning of his or her name have any significance in your story? Then comes their appearance, in my opinion this is so important. You do not want your readers to have a completely different mental image from what they really look like, so describe them. Imagine, your reading an awesome story and the author really didn’t spend enough time describing your characters. And then finally when the describe them half way into the book you have a completely different mental image. We don’t want this. Even if you don’t give a super detailed description in your book you need to have one, a very basic one.
Like I said before your characters are the ones telling your story. Why is your theme important to your character. It’s probably something they need to learn by the end of the story. Boom you have a character arc right there. Of course you need to go really into the details but that is the main part of it. What is it that you want your readers to learn after reading your story? We all love reading books about friendships and about perseverance, facing the hardships in life and working hard. Mostly your characters will show your reader this theme. And you can have more than one theme, it’s totally up to you. But there should be this one overarching theme just like your plot.
What frightens your character the most? What do they have nightmares about? What makes their skin crawl? Find this out. Now, there are a few elements to their fear. One will be the most important one, the one they will have to overcome. It has to be deep like abandonment or isolation. The other will be the basic and surface level fear like spiders. Most human beings have both these things so your characters should too. This fear shows up in your story and pushes them out of their comfort zone. Here's a tip for you if you want to make your characters super strong and are considering skipping this step or giving them an insignificant one, please don't. Being brave or strong doesn't mean your not scared. Actually i would really like it of your character is scared but does it anyway, that makes them brave, strong willed. If your character is a human or anything close to one they need to be scared of something.
What do they want most in the world? Your character will have many things they desire but there is one really important one which they have been working so hard for. One which is really very important to them. Of course they will have other desires which you need to know about, this will bring more layers to your characters and story. Their desire and goal will together push them through the story. And yes your goal and desire are probably different. Your desire is something your character desperately wants, or its just something they think they want. But their desire isn't necessarily something they'll go after. This could be totally different in your story. But if you are planning on writing a series there is probably this one desire that they don't really go after at the first book. Or they're just in denial of what their desire really is.
Okay let’s face it, no ones perfect and your characters come under no one. You may be scared to give your characters too many flaws because you’re afraid the reader wont like them but you have too. We don’t hate deeply flawed characters, these are the characters we connect too. In fact reading about perfect characters really gets to me because its so unrealistic. And here’s the thing if your looking at this to write your first draft then you should really give them enough flaws. If your editing and your confused as to if they’re annoying or not, ask someone else. Sometimes you really should ask for help. So the point is, don't create super annoying perfect characters. And i just don't mean emotionally, I'm also talking about physical. W see this so much, the character looks perfect and everybody is in love with them. full disclosure, i have read this trope in the past and not hated it but I'm not the biggest fan right now. Its okay for your characters to look pretty, its okay to give them a physical flaw. We all have those. And i don't just mean your character thinking they're ugly when really they are flawless. That could get annoying very soon.
And while we're still talking about the flaw, it should be something others know. Maybe every single person in your story doesn't have to love them. Actually having the school bully isn't a bad idea because there's one person who doesn't like them.
6. Your favorite fictional characters
Don’t you have that one character who inspires you so much? you could use that character to inspire yours. Study your favorite characters fears and flaws and everything. Notice that this character is not perfect, they probably get scared and are selfish at times. That is realistic. Doing this will really help make your characters more three dimensional, more human. Our characters are not technically real but they are real to us. And we want them to be real to your readers. Readers love amazing characters, at least I do. And so do you, which is why your reading this. either that or you hate all of them and want to create a really good one.
Do not forget to give your characters a back story. It doesn’t have to be a super crazy one. It could just be many small things adding up and being a burden on them. Remember that backstory defines your character. This is where they got their desires and fears. This made them who they are. They don’t have to have a super tragic past like one of their family members killing the rest of their family. They could have awesome parents. Maybe they got bullied. It could be anything just make sure that this defines their fears. After all past experiences are what defines all humans. That one thing which happened in their childhood is always going to matter to them. Or maybe they were in a huge family and didn’t get enough attention (Um Ron Weasley guys) that is something that will affect them. They don’t have to live in huge families to not get enough attention. We see the rich kid doesn’t get enough attention at home and seeks attention at school all the time trope a lot. But that's not it, the list goes on. So, remember that if your character comes of as an asshole give them a legitimet reason to be one. But seriously i would recommend you to not make them an asshole. And if you really want to draw the line somewhere.
8. Obsess over them
You might already obsess over your book and obsessing over your characters is not a bad thing. Make sure it doesn’t distract you from the super important things in your life like school. Obsess over them just enough to know them really very well. You do after all want your reader to love and obsess over them. Make pinterest boards for them, you can also make spotify playlists too. But playlists and pinterest boards are a whole other topic and you should totally do it. (seriously it’s a lot of fun)
1. Their favorite things to do
If you’re writing a fantasy story then chances are that your characters hardly ever do anything normal. But its really good for you to know what they do in their spare time. this will give you a better understanding of your characters. You are writing about real people. Their not actually real but they have to be real to you and to your readers. So, spend some time figuring out what your character loves to do. Are they into any sports? Are they any good at school? Whatever it is, write it. As a writer you have to put yourself in the shoes of so many different people. This isn’t easy. And so it is always a great thing to know more about them. Your reader doesn’t have to know all of this. Every single bit of plotting you do doesn’t have to be known by your reader. That is just info dumping and you don’t want to do that. You can do that on your draft but remember to edit it out.
2. Favorite books, tv shows, movies and music
This is something totally optional but its great. This way you can create a playlist for your character. Knowing their favorite movies and tv shows will help you create pinterest boards and any other aesthetics. Songs will help with playlists for your book (I know I said this before but its awesome). There is really nowhere to stop with this. The more you do, the more three dimensional they really are. But you don’t have to do all of it.
3. Mbti personality types
If you don’t already know mbti means Myers Briggs Type Indicators. You can learn more about this and take the test for free online. Your characters cannot be shoved into boxes but mbti personality types are pretty great. Especially if your struggling to figure out more about them. The questions the test asks are really important to your characters. This step is totally optional but it’ll be great to do. Also you can research your character’s mbti type and learn more about them. I did this and found that a lot of the facts were true. But not all of them.
4. Hogwarts houses
Again this step is very much optional. But to all you potterheads out there, this step is so much fun and helpful. Hogwarts houses don’t define your character, they could be a mix of differnt houses. But most people do have one dominant house. If you do this you can also make a blog post or a youtube video talking about your characters houses. You can also post about this on social media or just do it for fun.
5. Their dressing style
How does your character dress? Casual or do they absolutely love clothes. This could be something they do in your spare time. they can go hang out in malls or clothing stores and in all of honesty this step is important. Again you make a social media post or blog about it also. And your reader needs to know how they dress. As much as we all love the female character who absolutely loves causal the character who loves dressing up is pretty cool too. Lets face it if she can walk in heels she’s already super bad ass.
Again my character template is so much more detailed. again you can get it by subscribing to my newsletter.
That’s all I have for you guys today I hope this helped you. Again, this is just the bare minimum. You can get super detailed with your character profiles. There are tons of youtubers and bloggers who share their character profiles online. Or you can grab my character profile by subscribing to my newsletter. you will also receive my series template and get notified every time i post!!! You can use these things with or without making any changes or just create your own. Whatever you do remember to have fun. Tell me how you guys create your characters, do you use character templates from the internet or make your own? Let me know. And do subscribe to my newsletter to get more awesome content just like this straight to your inbox and get my series templates for free. That’s right it contains a character template, scene card, world building guide and more. Thank you so much for reading this again if you liked it let me know in the comments also what are your favourite ways to outline your characters.