How to Write a Character Outline
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How to Write a Character Outline

If you can get to know your characters, your story will write itself (almost).

If you plan on writing a novel or screenplay, there is one very important aspect that you can neither avoid or neglect: Character Creation. Without any characters, you have no story.

This is why creating characters is often a good first step for writers who need to get their story out onto paper. This may seem easy enough, but in order to let the writing flow out easily, it's better to spend some indepth time with your new characters and really get to know them.

The best way to do this, is to create a Character Outline. An outline is sort of like a short informal biography of your character, and you could think of it as an interview with your new character. This outline will help you and your character get to know each other and will give you a basis for knowing how your character would act to each situation, person or event.

STEP 1. Basic Hello's

Imagine that you are sitting at a table with your character and you are meeting them for the first time. You exchange names, so what is your characters name?

STEP 2. Get Physical

What does your character look like? 

Example:

Height: 5'6                           Weight: 195 lbs                                Build: Fit

Eyes: Brown                       Hair: Red, pony tail                          Skin: Smooth/Olive tone

Clothes: Blue jeans, navy blue v-cut tee-shirt, denim jacket, black boots.

 

STEP 3. Get Personal

You'll want to make sure you know the important things about your character. Get to know what they favor and what disgusts them.

Example:

Likes:  Cold Cut Trio subway sandwiches. The color blue. Reading sci-fi fantasy.

Dislikes: Cold Pizza. Dishonest people. Screaming kids. Having the tv on when you sleep.

Past Memory: Getting pushed around by some kids on a playground in 5th grade.

Present Goal: To get a promotion and beat 6 other more qualified people out of the position

Worst Fear: Snakes

Greatest Joy: Crocheting

Vice: Biting nails

Profession: Customer Service Rep in a call center

Marital Status: Single

Lives in: Boise, Idaho

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

STEP 4. Details, Details

Example:

Drives: a 2002 Ford Taurus

Hobby: Rollerblading

Income: $60,000 year

Kids: Not sure

Try to ask your character as many questions as you can think about. Get to know them inside and out, their mannerisms, their personality and how other people would view them vs. how they view themselves. The more indepth you can be in the outline, the easier it will be to write your story without road blocks.

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Comments (1)

The world of writing, specially stories fascinates me. And I feel amazed about the way authors sketch their characters. Interviewing the character... very nice thought indeed.

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