1. Beowulf

    Beowulf New Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Likes Received:

    Character Scetches

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Beowulf, Oct 2, 2006.


    When i took my creative writing course in Chicago last summer we spent a whole week on just caracter sketches. They are really hard but once i was able to get good at them they help creat realistic caractures. the storie im working on right now deosnt utilize that technique because I started a while before camp and have not had the willingness to use them to creat caracters in my story.

    So if you don't know what a character sketch is then ill explain it. You take a caracter from something and you writie about them in an environment, for a time span of between six seconds and and couple minutes. Its important to make shure your character have contradictory traits. Like being a realy agressive or rude drive but while they do it make them seem very apolojetic inside the car.

    I think it's easiest to get a picture and describe whats going on in it.

    Well i was going to put in a sample character sketch but it appears all of them from camp have been deleted.

    Anyway, i think that writing a character sketch before you get started with writing any storie is a good way to make realistic characters.
    1 person likes this.
  2. DagunZain

    DagunZain New Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Eastern misery
    I didn't quite get the gist of that, but I'm interested in seeing a sample sketch if you find them.
  3. Spherical Time

    Spherical Time New Member

    Aug 13, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Everywhere, Always
    Huh. I spent a semester doing something similar, but we didn't call it character sketches.

    I too, would be interested in seeing a sample sketch, if you find one.

    Maybe that's one of my problems: My characters make to much sense.
  4. SwanZa

    SwanZa New Member

    Oct 12, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    I too would be very interested in seeing a character sketch.

    My characters are boring. I say this because I'm too bored to develop them, they can only be boring. I want it all handed to me on a silver platter. :(

  5. Laimtoe

    Laimtoe New Member

    Oct 14, 2006
    Likes Received:
    St. George, Utah
    There's many MANY ways of making a Character sketch. And I think that the idea that you should give your charcter mixed feelings (I think is what you were trying to say) is right on track.

    Like having a person love this girl, but he does everything he can to stay away from her because he's sick of her crap.

    A person who finds religion to be a constructive thing for society but hates how they preach and when he actually spends time inside a church, he almost feels repulsed by it because he doesn't agree with the beliefs.

    Here’s something from the Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier. (It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a book, a script, or a short story, you need to develop your characters the same way).

    (Now that I’m giving The author credit and advertising for his book by sourcing everything, I think I’m good to quote a good portion of a chapter).

    Your Central Character wants something Specific. That something is the Goal. The character, who is conscious of his desire, strives for it throughout most of the story. Of course, the character is opposed by at least one other person.

    In most stories, the character also has an inner need, something he or she may not be consciously aware of until the Crisis. This need is a yearning for the one thing that will bring true happiness or fulfillment to the Character. The need is blocked by a flaw, usually a form of selfishness. The flaw emerges from a past traumatic event – the backstory.

    The main plot of most movies is driven by the goal. It’s the outside/Action story.

    The main subplot is driven by the need. It’s the inside/Emotional Story. It is usually focused on the primary relationship in the story. It’s concerned with Character Dynamics.

    The Outside/Action Story is the spine; it holds things together. The inside/Emotional Story is the heart; it touches the audience. To make the Outside/Action Story and Inside/Emotional Story work, you need to understand your characters and how they function.

    Does your central character have the following?

    - An outside goal that the audience will care about?
    - A powerful, personal motivation for achieving the goal?
    - An opposition character in a position of strength, capable of doing great damage?
    - The will to act against opposition, and to learn and grow?
    - Human emotions, traits, values, and imperfections that people can identify with?
    - A particular point of view of life, the world, and/or self, giving rise to attitudes?
    - Details, extensions, idiosyncrasies, and/or expressions that are uniquely his/hers?
    - A life and voice (dialogue) of his/her own?
    - A key event from the past that has given rise to character flaw?
    - An inner need that he/she may be unaware of at first?

    Evaluate your other main characters (and especially your opposition character) by the criteria just listed. Each should have at least a goal or intention in the story. The more depth you can give them, the more interesting they will appear.

    Your characters need sociological, psychological, and physiological characteristics. Use the following to provoke your creative thought:

    SOCIOLOGICAL: Occupation, birthplace/upbringing, Past/present home life, hobbies, Work history, Education, ethnic roots, political views, affiliations, work environment, criminal record, Religion, social status, private life, and personal life.

    PHYSIOLOGY: Height/weight, Appearance, Defects/scars, Clothing, Build or figure, hair/eyes, health/strength, physical skills, attractiveness, voice quality, complexion, athletic ability.

    PSYCHOLOGY: Fears/phobias, prejudices, pet peeves, superstitions, ambitions, personal problems, intelligence, secrets, values/beliefs, complexes, habits, motivations, imagination, disposition, attitudes, inhibitions, addictions, moral standards, temperament, and likes/dislikes.

    These are questions to ask of any of your characters:

    - How do you handle stress, pressure, relationships, problems, emotion? (And keep in mind that not all main characters SHOULD handle stress well.)
    - Are you extroverted or shy? Intuitive or analytical? Active or passive?
    - What’s your most traumatic experience? Most thrilling experience?
    - Essentially, who are you? What’s at your core?
    - What is your dominant trait?
    - What do you do and think when you’re along and no one will know what you do?
    - How do you feel about yourself?
    - How do you feel about the other people in the story?
    - Who are the most important people in your life?
    - How do you relate to each?
    - What’s the worst (and best) thing that could happen to you? (A hypothetical)
    - What are you doing tonight? Tomorrow?
    - Where do you want to be ten years from now?

    *how does your character grow or change throughout your story?
    *how is your character different at the end of the story?
    *What does he/she know at the end that he/she did not know at the beginning?
    *What is your character’s perception of reality?
    *Does that perception change by the end of the story?
    *What is each Character’s perception of the other characters in the story?
    *Is your protagonist likeable?
    *Will the audience identify with your central character on some level?
    *Does your central character have depth, with both strengths and weaknesses?

    - What is the theme or message of your story?
    - What are you trying to say?
    - Will the end of your story say it for you without being preachy?
    (The theme may not be evident to you until later in your writing).
  6. M.Kirk

    M.Kirk New Member

    Aug 5, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Idaho Falls, ID
    I'm currently taking a creative writing course, and we're working on the same thing. For one of my sketches I put a man in a scenario where he was attempting to propose to his girlfriend.
  7. crazycat007

    crazycat007 New Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Likes Received:
    in the deep recesses of my mind
    hey! that sounds pretty cool. I should try it. or course, if I did, i would probably get side-tracked. or have a complete mind blank and not come up with a thing. but that's just me.

    yeah, if you can find one, a sample would be peachy. maybe then i would have at least a tiny idea as to what i'm doing. pretty much all m y writing is impulse, and i just wing it. :rolleyes:

  8. franceslynn

    franceslynn New Member

    Oct 24, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Laimtoe, I read your post with interest. Great tips. Thanks. I do find that writing a biography on each charachter before starting writing a novel is useful. That way, I can dip into my bios in order to check my characters have consistent characteristics throughout the book.

    Frances Lynn is a professional writer and journalist. Her two novels, "Frantic" and "Crushed" are published by Eiworth Publishing at http://yourbookstore.eiworth.se/. Her musings about writing can be read at http://www.writerholic.blogspot.com/ Her personal website is http://franceslynn.org
  9. Max Vantage

    Max Vantage Banned

    Oct 19, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Ach! Bloody character sketches are a waste of time. They can have blond hair and blue eyes, come from Australia, have seventeen children and fourteen cats, spend all day with innumerable hobbies and crafts whilst gazing at the stars looking out for their star sign while quoting some bloody poem in a foreign language. But that tells me shit about a character!

    What was the outcome?
  10. Lily

    Lily New Member

    Dec 17, 2006
    Likes Received:
    Thanks so much for posting all this stuff - (Everything above this reply), it's been very educational for me. (Yay!) Now I have a good outline on how to develop my characters. This type of thing is like candy to a novelist.
  11. Onoria Westhrop

    Onoria Westhrop New Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    Likes Received:
    I dunno, I tend to have a rough idea for a story, then I put in some characters that I have only the vaguest ideas about and then I think, 'how would they react'. This can be anything from the character selecting food at a buffet dinner to encountering a giant squid...

    It's easier to kind of let the characters introduce themselves to me.

Share This Page