Character design isn’t easy. It’s one of those parts of the writing process that often starts out fun, but quickly throws up challenges. If you don’t invest enough time into character development, you’ll soon realise you don’t know your heroes and villains as well as you thought you did. This post will give you a detailed character design sheet to help change that.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re creating characters ahead of NaNoWriMo or general novel writing. You might even develop characters as part of the game you’re designing. Whatever the project, thorough character development is crucial.
They’re the heart and soul of your story. If you don’t know them inside out and back to front, how will your readers? Ultimately, you want to make your audience care about the characters you build. To do that, you’ve got to put some time into their design and development.
Ideas for a strong character design sheet
When working on a design sheet or character checklist, you should try to find or create a template that works for you. All writers work differently, so experiment with different formats for getting to know your characters.
You might want to put together a pen and paper binder, for example. Or maybe you prefer to keep all of your character design work in one big spreadsheet. Your method of choice is really up to you. What matters are the questions you ask of your characters.
Example character design sheet
Here’s a sheet I use to help with designing my own characters. I try to think of them in isolation first, and then consider the world or setting they’re intended to feature in.
For quick character generation, I use the Trello method outlined in my post about developing engaging characters. After that, I’ll use a document like this one to help further design their personality and history.
You want to try and explore as many different aspects of your character’s traits and beliefs when working on their design. I find that having organised documentation for each character really helps with the writing process in general. You don’t need to go into detail on every point, but you might find that some of the prompts in this character design sheet provoke fresh ideas for your characters.
Character design sheet download
If you want to use my template, you can download it in full here.
I’d love to know more about your characters and how your planning process works, so let me know in the comments below. If you’re gearing up for NaNoWriMo, I’d love to hear about your progress so far!
Make sure to check out this post on worldbuilding, once you’re feeling a bit more confident with your characters. Putting in a bit of preparation before writing a novel or game narrative makes a huge difference.
If you’ve found this character design sheet template helpful, you can buy me a coffee on my Ko-Fi page, if you like. Otherwise, it’d be great if you’d give this post a share or pin it on Pinterest. You might also enjoy my boards on Creative Writing there too.