Character Sketches

No insightful blog post today. I’ve decided to spend my day writing! I came up with a bit of a project yesterday, so I figured I would try it out before I suggest it to you all. In the meantime, why not try writing some character sketches? Blair Hurley has a total of 3 posts on character sketches:

Conveniently enough, these character sketches will help you tons if you follow the Snowflake Method, namely steps 3, 5, 6, and 7. Did I mention I don’t follow the steps in order?

My advice: Start with a basic character sketch. I consider this more like the history of your characters, or what happens “off-screen.” Who are they? What happens to them before they make an appearance in your novel? What events in their pasts make them interested in the protagonist? This will lead you to the Snowflake Method, which details what happens “on-screen.” The Snowflake Method will help you detail what happens to your characters in the novel itself. Remember that every character thinks he is the hero of the story.

Your sketch should make it clear exactly why a given character has a specific goal. The hero doesn’t want to kill the bad guy because “it’s the right thing to do.” The hero wants to kill him because he stole the hero’s chickens ten years ago. Without the chickens, the hero couldn’t afford money for his daughter’s medicine. The hero wants to kill the bad guy because of what happened in the past. Such a past will draw compassion from the reader and make the character more real.

I’m currently on the sketching phase. I have a tendency to focus only on the protagonist, so I’m hoping this will help me build up my supporting characters.

What are your opinions on character sketches? Have you done something similar before? Did it help? If you never have, try it out and share your results.


About Squishy

Writer, dancer, gamer, and admirer of all that is beautiful.

Posted on October 10, 2010, in Ishy Writes! and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I do make character sketches, or at least some thing of that sort. I am a very “list” person and can’t write or do much before preparing a list of how and how many steps it would take to do it.
    So I do have lists and lists of “the past”, “her favorites” “what he thinks about her/him” and other random bits.
    I wouldn’t call it a character sketch but some dumber version of it…

    *** I love the snow-flake method!

    • No such thing as a “dumber” version of a character sketch. A sketch is a general idea of a character, and a list more than qualifies as such.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the Snowflake Method! I quite like it, too, even though I do it out of order haha

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