August 24, 2014

Character Sketch Template

Character_Sketch.jpgCharacter Sketch Template

Ralph White

Best selling author, Columbia MFA, and Fiction Foundry guest, Jean Kwok was kind enough to share her character sketch with me.  I modified it somewhat and set it into a MS Word Table.  Here's the result.

Name of Character


Role in story


Physical description

  • age, height, weight, hair, skin, physique
  • facial features
  • clothing
  • grooming
  • distinguishing features or habits, mannerisms
  • upon close inspection
  • voice
  • fragrance

What other people notice about her/him

  • first
  • second


  • Ethnicity
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Personal experience
  • Occupation, work experience
  • Sexuality
  • Residence

Character traits

  • Strongest (or dominant) trait
  • Weakest (or latent) trait
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Interests
  • Vital secret

Significant event that molded the character’s personality


Is the reader likely to have stereotypical expectations about this character?

  • How does the character defy the stereotype?
  • How does she conform to the stereotype?


  • Best friend
  • Other friends
  • Family
  • Enemies

Essence of the character

  • Core need(s)
  • Ambition in life
  • What character does alone
  • Will reader like or dislike the character and why.

Character arc

  • Does the character change in the story?  How?
  • Epiphany
    • How does the character grow?
    • What does the character learn?


  • What does the character want?
    • abstract
    • concrete
    • Does character have intermediate goals?


  • What could prevent the character from achieving her objectives?
    • Internal conflicts
    • External conflicts


  • If the story were principally about this character what would that story line be?
  • Describe the character’s story in three acts:
    • beginning
    • middle
    • end

Freestyle description of the character.


In the character’s own words: something the character says which is illustrative of her/his self-perception.