1. Fantasy Lover
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    Fantasy Lover New Member

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    Profiles..

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Fantasy Lover, Mar 30, 2013.

    For those who like to make a character profile, fully or just a little, what would be the basics of a character profile?
    But not too much so that the characters can grow, as I would like to write them down into my story.
    What do you think?
     
  2. Quille
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    Quille Senior Member

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    I don't write profiles but many of my ideas start with a character, so I do have an idea of who they are, what they look like and sometimes the conflict they're involved in.

    I ran a search on "character profiles" and there are pages of sites out there to help with this.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Honestly, you need to base it around the information that's most helpful to you as a writer, if you're going to go through and use them.
     
  4. maze
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    maze New Member

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    I usually include a short list of a bunch of simple/broad things. This way, it gives me a bit of structure while leaving room for the character to change and develope over time (throughout the story).

    -Basic physical characteristics (size, age, gender, etc...)
    -Likes (3-5)
    -Dislikes (3-5)
    -Any other important information that might be crucial to the story.

    I know many people like to start with a skeleton, while others wouldn't do it if you threatened them. It's really all up to you. The different types of outlines vary as well.
     
  5. ANightDude
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    ANightDude New Member

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    I'd argue that you have to do whatever you can in order to know them as fully as possible.

    Me? I do everything. I write personality, fears, mental disorders, a fictional biography, habits, who their parents are along with their date of birth, location, etc. Even if it doesn't have any appearance in the story whatsoever, it never hurts to try to know your characters as fully as possible, and it can even give you more of an idea of conflict. Say you have a character born in Seattle, but at one point moved to St. Louis. What was the reason behind that? Is that character bitter over it? Was it a massive change on their lives? Do they yearn more than anything to return back to Seattle?

    I even separate all my characters in Hogwarts Houses. Really helps me when it comes to personality.
     
  6. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I don't do sketches, but then I'm having to sit down tomorrow and work out some things about my character. I'm what I call a 'method writer,' which is similar to a 'method actor.' My characters become a major part of me and they let me know when there's something they don't like, or there's a change. Maybe that's sketches, I'm not sure, it's just how I write.
     
  7. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    same here
     
  8. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Something I find helpful is to list my favorite TV shows and say which character they are most like, which real-life person they are more like, etc. It's also important to

    For example, I have a character who has Phoebe's twin's misanthropy (from Friends) mixed with Sawyer's witty sarcasm (from Lost). Or something like that, anyway.

    I'm a terrible drawer, so I search for images of people and make a montage of people I think kind of resemble what's in my head.
     
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am a great believer in really getting to know your character. Some of it comes from writing, but some of it comes from just thinking about all the different aspects of them as a person. I wrote a blog on this forum, about things I think about when I am trying to conceptualise my protagonist. It is very detailed, but I find it very helpful to get a feel for this person.
     
  10. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    What I've done that works well for me is to list off a handful of physical characteristics, about 3-5 good and bad personality traits, and 3 major life events. That all gives me enough to go on but not so much that the characters are unable to grow and change. I will usually go in and add more as I write and it comes more clear to me what the character's day to day life is like. I try to focus more on people and circumstances in the character's life when I initially start writing the character because it helps me to figure out what that character is all about. I think character growth is more organic that way and I have found it's much more comfortable to write than trying to work with a huge profile.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    To all those who use character profiles: Do you take similar notes about friends and acquaintances (other than phone numbers and addresses)?

    Personally, I don't. I recognize them on sight, and I know what my interactions with them have been like. I can see my characters in my mind's eye too. Maybe some of you can't do that, based on threads about collecting photos of celebrities or creating artwork for visualization purposes.
     
  12. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I think it's a difference in how people learn and memorize things. Some people are very visual learners. Some people forget names and some people forget faces. I can't remember people's names but I never forget a face. If someone was wearing a name tag I'd be much more likely to remember their name later on. I think it's the writing equivalent of that. When I first get to know someone I don't remember every detail about them. I think it's part of the process of getting to know your characters. I do think it's bad if you feel you have to rely very heavily on a fact sheet for the entirety of the story and not just while you're developing the character. At some point you should know your character like the back of your hand.
     
  13. Thornesque
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    Thornesque Contributing Member

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    Yes, except that you're referring people that you know. You're talking about friends and acquaintances. Not people that you're creating in your head that you're not yet familiar with. You know their histories because they've told you; you know their personalities because you've been around them. You don't have to explore them. Characters' histories need to be explored by the author, and for some people, that can be done equally well through a character sheet as it can be through a novel, because they use the same general principal: they're writing about their character. So what if it's not the actual story? So what if I like writing out a narration of my character's history that may (or may not) be included in the story later on? So what if I have an in-depth start point?

    Look, this is what I don't get: everyone that wants to talk about character sheets wants to talk with other people that write character sheets about how they use them and what their sheets look like. What processes they use. How in-depth they are. I've yet to see (and perhaps I've missed it, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) someone say "Everyone should use character sheets; they're so useful. I don't understand why some people don't use them. Everyone, you should try this!" They want to interact and discuss the idea with others that do use them. But the people opposed to them, on the other hand, are so dead set against something simply because it's a writing process that doesn't work for them. It's like trying to get a definitive answer about how much planning should be done before a novel - there is no real answer to the question, or better, the answer is: everyone's writing process is different, and therefore each individual writer will have a different way of setting things up before and during the writing of their novel. I get it - some of you either had bad personal experiences or no someone that had bad experiences with trying to use character sheets with your novels. And I have conceded time and time again that, if they're not used correctly, they can damage the development of a character and make it difficult to allow that character to change and grow. That doesn't mean that not everyone can use them to some benefit. Sure, it doesn't help you. That's fine. I'm not asking you to use them.
     

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