1. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    Character Profile Templates?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Holo, Oct 11, 2011.

    I'm working on a character profile template to keep track of names, appearance, personalities, likes and dislikes, etc. But I want it to be as thorough as possible. What character profile templates are already out that are useful to you and could you post it here or show me the link?
     
  2. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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  3. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you have so many characters that you are having difficulty remembering them, perhaps it's time to start cutting a few? I say this because your characters should be fully fledged 'people' to you. Their behaviour, attitude, characteristics should be recalled instantly. I don't think you can start to write about primary characters unless you *know* them.
     
  4. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    My advice would be to avoid templates like the plague. If a physical attribute is important enough for the story (height, weight, build, eye color etc...) then it should come through on the page. If an attribute has no bearing on the story, then there's no reason to include it. Let the reader use their imagination for the non-essentials. They're going to do that anyway.

    People are enormously complex creatures and can surprise you at every turn. Introverts can inexplicably start speaking up and doing so loudly. Extroverts can, without explenation, suddenly crawl into a shell. And everything you can imagine in between those two scenarios can happen as well. A template cannot predict everything about a character, and may in fact limit who they could potentially become.
     
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  5. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    It's not that I have too many characters to keep track of. I just need a document where I can keep track of the little things and backstories and relationships with other characters. Filling out character profiles also helps me flesh out my characters. I guess it's just my style of writing but I can't remember every last detail about my characters off the top of my head and I need to know them in order to write.
     
  6. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    (I can't wait 'til the "reply with quote" button gets fixed...)

    @Peerie Pict: I agree that you shouldn't need lists to keep track of your characters - their personalities should set them apart from one another. But you don't necessarily have to know your character completely to start writing their story. You'd be surprised how much a character can develop as you write them. Besides, having a totally fleshed-out character before you even begin their story is pointless, because what matters is what comes out on the page - those are the parts the audience is going to see.
     
  7. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    @BANSHEE

    One of the things every good writer should have is the ability to thoughtfully (and accurately?) dissect someone's advice.

    What I said was that you should have a 'fully fledged person' in mind before you write, not a 'fully fleshed out' character where there's not one iota of their character left to develop or change. You know that these are two distinct things, right?

    Of course a character will be developed throughout a story, it would be impossible not to have the character respond in various ways to plot developments. Any writer worth their salt will be questioning this aspect of their story throughout. How they respond to plot events is different to knowing the essence of the character's personality (their hopes & fears). If you think whether a character likes noodles is important enough to put in a template, you might want to assess how authentic or developed your character is, if at all.

    I'm in no doubt that when Virginia Woolf sat down to write Mrs Dalloway, she knew Clarissa Dalloway inside out and how she would use her as a vehicle to comment on society's ignorance of mental illness.

    I expect great things of my characters & starting off with a strong idea of what they stand for is essential.
     
  8. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    All right, I get where you're coming from now.

    Back on topic - Holo, you can always keep a separate document, or hand-write some notes about your characters if there are little details you don't want to forget.
     
  9. The Lady Victoria
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    The Lady Victoria Member

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    I have read that Anne Rice, because she has so many characters and she spreads them all out in her many series of books. I have read that she keeps binders with dividers and notes in each divider of each character. Whether she scribbles something on a pad of paper or types and then prints it. As she evolves each character, she puts a note into the divider so that she can reference back to it and keep up with where her character is at.

    I haven't gone to the point where I can do something like this, usually what I will do is make a note on the same word document I'm using, but below the story text, this way if I come up with something I need to remind myself of I can just scroll down a bit on the same word page to refresh my mind of the character or idea I had gotten.

    I hope that helps if just a bit.
     
  10. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Character Profile Templates?

    In the words of Bill O'Reilly,
    Screw it, just do it live!

    Write a story showcasing these traits for the characters, or just write the story. Templates are wastes of time, stop worrying about it, just write it and you can see your character in action. Is s/he whatever you made him out to be? How can you change her/him?
     

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