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The EPIGUIDE.COM Character Chart for Fiction WritersBy Kira Lerner and Toni Walker

If you're a fiction writer -- whether you're working on a novel, short story, screenplay, television series, play, web series, webserial, or blog-based fiction -- your characters should come alive for your reader or audience. The highly detailed chart below will help writers develop fictional characters who are believable, captivating, and unique. Print this page to complete the form for each main character you create.

IMPORTANT: Note that all fields are optional and should be used simply as a guide; character charts should inspire you to think about your character in new ways, rather than constrain your writing. Fill in only as much info as you choose. Have fun getting to know your character!

You can also choose one of the following printable formats:
.pdf (Adobe Acrobat required) | .doc (MS Word) | .rtf (Rich Text Format)

If this character chart is helpful, please let us know! To join our community, which focuses on online writing, visit http://www.epiguide.com -- and feel free to show off your character charts.


Character's Full Name:
_________________________________________
Date:
_________________________________________


GENERAL INFO:
Name origin:  
Nickname, if any
(if so, explain its origin – e.g. who created it?):
 
Does s/he like the nickname?  
Birth date:  
Place of birth:  
Ethnic background:  
Religion:  
Degree of religious practice
(e.g. orthodox, casual, lapsed):
 
Current address:  
Does s/he rent or own?  
Brief description of home
(apartment, house, trailer, etc.):

 

 

 

Does s/he live with anyone?  
Describe the area in which s/he lives
(big city, town, rural, other):
 
Is this his/her ideal home and location?
If not, what would s/he prefer?
 
Home decor (check all that apply): ___ Expensive ___ Inexpensive
___ Carefully planned ___ Comfortable
___ Neat ___ Cluttered
When someone walks in, what's his/her first impression?  
Pets? ___ No (why?) ___ Yes
If yes, what kind and how many? Name(s)?  
How important are they? How well are they treated?  
Current occupation
(include length of time, location, job title):
 
Job satisfaction (happy, discontent, ambitious...):  
Income level:  
Education:  
Does s/he drive? What kind of car does s/he own, if any? (Make, model, color, age, etc.):  
Sexuality
(e.g. straight, gay, bisexual, asexual, unsure...):
 
Marital status:  
If married or currently romantically involved, with whom, and for how long?  
List any significant previous romantic partners:  
For current spouse/partner, what does the character call him/her (pet names, nicknames, etc.)?
 
How did they meet?

 

 

 

Any children (include names, ages, other parent if different from current partner)?

 

 

Describe relationship with each child (if any):
 

PHYSICAL APPEARANCE:
Height:  
Weight:  
What is his/her body type (skinny, slim, athletic, curvy, overweight, muscular, etc.)?  
Eye color?  
Does s/he use glasses? Contacts? Hearing aid?  
Skin tone (pale, ivory, ruddy, tan, olive,
brown, black, etc.):
 
Any prominent features, freckles/moles/scars/tattoos/
other distinguishing marks?
 
Face shape (round, oval, chubby, thin, long, square, heart-shaped, etc.)?  
Whom does s/he most look like (e.g. famous person or relative)?  
General health (good, excellent, poor...)?  
Any chronic conditions?  
Any current health problems?  
How does s/he dress (mark as many as appropriate):

PRICE:

__ Expensive     __ Average     
__ Inexpensive   __  Cheap

STYLE:

__  Haute Couture  __  Conservative   
__  Trendy    __  Eclectic   __  Business   
__ Sexy    __  Gaudy    __  Casual   
__ Sloppy                
Does s/he dress to be noticed? Why?

 

 

Any special jewelry?
If so, why is it special?
 
Other accessories:  
Grooming: ___ Every hair in place, very neat (Why?)
___ Average grooming
___ Clean but sloppy
___ Unkempt (Why?)
Hairstyle
(long, short, crewcut, locs, bangs, side-part etc.):
 
Natural hair texture
(thick, thin, wiry, smooth, wavy, curly, nappy, etc.):
 
Current hair texture (if different from above):  
Natural hair color:  
Current hair color (if different from above):  

SPEECH AND LANGUAGE/COMMUNICATION:
Pace (does s/he talk fast, average, slow?):  
Accent or dialect, if any:  
Voice tone 
(shrill, high, average, deep, squeaky,
hoarse, harsh, authoritative, cultured, etc.):
 
Any favorite/habitual words/phrases or curse words?

 

 

Describe general vocabulary or speech pattern (e.g. educated, precise, pretentious, average, childish, uneducated, vulgar…):  
Mannerisms/demeanor? ___ Cool/confident
___ Volatile/moody
___ Nervous/fidgety/shy
___ Other?
Typical posture: ___ Stiff and rigid
___ Stands straight but not stiffly
___ Average, varies with mood
___ Slumped and defeated
___ Slouchy, careless
___ Relaxed
___ Other
Gestures: ___ Doesn't gesture much
___ Deliberate and controled
___ Only when excited/upset
___ Most of the time
___ Wildly/weirdly
Common gestures (e.g. nail-biting, hair patting, drumming fingers, clenched fists, hands in pockets, etc.):  

EVERYDAY BEHAVIOR / HABITS:
Finances: (prudent/cautious, average w/some debt, lives paycheck to paycheck, deep in debt, criminal activity, etc.):  
Describe any personal habits, e.g. smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling, etc. Are any of these addictions?  

Morning Routine:

Describe the character's morning rituals. Who else is sleeping in the same bed? What time does he/she wake up? Is he/she cheerful in the morning? What wakes him/her up -- alarm, spouse/lover, kids, pet? What does he/she do during breakfast-read, watch tv, feed kids, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

Afternoon/Workday:

Now describe the character's workday or afternoon behavior. Does s/he work outside the home? How does he/she get there? Does he/she anticipate, dread, resent the work ahead? Does s/he give the job genuine attention and effort? Does s/he enjoy this work? Is s/he good at this job? What would he/she rather be doing? How long and hard is the work day?

 

Does s/he stop for lunch? Where?

 

 

Dinner:

Does s/he eat at home or go out a lot? If the latter, what is/are his or her favorite restaurant(s)? At home, who prepares the meal? Who does he/she eat it with? What does it typically consist of? What goes on during dinner -- tv, conversation, fighting, reading, etc? Who cleans up?

 

 

Evening:

What does your character do on a typical evening? Where? With whom? How much does he/she enjoy it? What is the ideal evening for him or her?

 

 

 

 

 

Bedtime:

Does he/she go to bed at a consistent time? Alone or with someone else? Does s/he usually fall asleep right way, or is s/he an insomniac? Does he/she dream -- a lot, a little, never? Are most of his/her dreams scary, pleasant, sexual, imaginative? Are there any recurring dreams? Does s/he sleep well or poorly (e.g. tossing & turning)?

 

 

 

Skills/Talents:  
What is s/he particularly unskilled at?  
Any hobbies (sports, arts, collecting, gaming, etc.):  

THE PAST:
Home town (if different from current home):  
Was his/her childhood happy? Troubled? Dull? (And does the character remember it accurately?)

 

 

Earliest memory:

 

 

Saddest memory:

 

 

Happiest memory:

 

 

How much school did s/he attend, if any?
Did/does s/he like school? Why or why not?

 

 

 

Most significant childhood event:

 

 

Other significant childhood events, if any?

 

 

Significant past jobs:

 

 

Any police record?  
If so, what was the arrest for? When/where?  
Convictions? Sentence(s) served?  
First crush or romantic love?

 

 

What was his/her first sexual experience?
Is it a positive/negative memory?

 

 

Major accidents or traumas?
How is s/he still affected, if at all?

 

 

 


FAMILY OF ORIGIN:
Mother's name (include maiden name if known/applicable):  
Mother's current status: ___ living ___ deceased
(If living, her age: ____)
Mother's occupation, if any:  
Describe the mother's relationship with character:

 

 

Father's name:  
Father's current status: ___ living ___ deceased
(If living, his age: ____)
Father's occupation, if any:  
Describe the father's relationship with character:  
Any step-parents, foster parents,
or birth parents (if not same as above):

 

 

 

 

If s/he is adopted, does s/he know?  
Any siblings (include age and birth order, i.e. relative to main character):  
Relationship with each:  
Nieces/Nephews, if any:  
In-Laws, if any:  
Other than the above, who else in the story is part of his/her extended family (e.g. cousins, aunts/uncles, grandparents, etc.)?  

RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS:
Who, if anyone, is his/her best or closest friend?  
Other close friends:  
How in general does s/he react to or is perceived by...
Friends?  
Strangers?  
Spouse/Lover?

Past spouse/lovers?
 
Own children, if any?  
Other family members  
The opposite sex?  
Children in general?  
Others who are more successful?  
Others who are less successful?  
Boss (if any)?  
Underlings at work?  
Competitors?  
Authority (police, IRS, politicians, attorneys, doctors, etc.)?  
Anyone who challenges him or her?  
Anyone who angers him or her?  
Anyone who asks for help?  
What do most people consider likeable about him/her?  
What do most people consider his/her biggest flaw?  
Any secret attractions? If so, does the other person know it? Has there been any actual romantic/sexual activity?  
In romantic relationships, is s/he generally monogamous or uncommitted? (If the latter, is s/he honest w/ partners?)  
Is his/her sexual behavior inhibited, average, experimental, or reckless? Has this changed
(and if so, why)?
 
Whom does s/he dislikes most, and why?  
Whom does s/he like most, and why?  
Who's the most important person
in his/her life right now, and why?

 

 

Whom does s/he admire (nonromantic), and why?

 

 

Biggest influence, and why (famous or not)?

 

 

Whom (if anyone) does s/he consider an enemy, and why?  
Person s/he most misunderstands or misjudges:  
Person who most misunderstands or misjudges him or her:  
Has s/he's lost touch with anyone who was once significant in his/her life? If so, why?  
Worst end of a relationship (could be friend, romantic, colleague...)  
Whom does s/he most rely on for practical advice?  
Whom does s/he most rely on for emotional support?  
Whom, if anyone, does s/he support (e.g. advice or emotional support)?  

MENTAL ATTITUDE/PERSONAL BELIEFS:
Any psychological issues (e.g. phobias,
depression, paranoia, narcissism, etc.)?

 

 

 

Is s/he an optimist or pessimist?

 

 

Meyers Briggs Personality Type:
(Don't know? Take a sample test for your character.)
 
Most comfortable when ...
(alone, hanging w/friends, drinking, etc.):
 
Most uncomfortable when ...
(in a crowd, alone, speaking in public, etc.:
 
Is s/he cautious, brave, or reckless
in his/her approach to life?
 
What does s/he most value/prioritize?
(family, money, success, religion, etc.)
 
Whom does he/she really love best?  
What would he/she be willing to die for?  
Is s/he generally compassionate, sensitive to others?
Or self-involved/selfish/oblivious?
 
Personal philosophy:

 

 

What is his/her biggest embarrassment?

 

 

 

What is his/her greatest wish?

 

 

 

Any prejudices (race, culture, sexuality, religion, etc.)?

 

 

 

Political party or beliefs, if any:

 

 

 

Does s/he believe in fate or destiny? Is s/he superstitious?

 

 

 

Character's greatest strength:

 

 

Character's greatest flaw:

 

 

Other good characteristics:

 

 

Other character flaws:

 

 

What are his/her own favorite attributes
(physical and personality)?
What about least favorite?

 

 

Are these feelings accurate?

 

 

How does s/he think others perceive him or her? (And is this accurate?)

 

 

Biggest regret:

 

 

Other regrets:

 

 

Proudest accomplishment:

 

 

Other accomplishments:

 

 

Biggest secret(s):

 

 

Does anyone else know these secrets?

 

 

If yes, how were the secrets revealed?

 

 

How does s/he react to a crisis?

 

 

What usually causes the problems in his/her life (romance, finances, friends, colleagues, personality flaws, health, etc.)?

 

 

How does s/he react to change?

 

 

Quirks:

 

 

What would s/he most like to change about her-/himself, and why?

 

 

 

Write a paragraph (~100 words) of the character describing him/herself:
Short term goals:  
Long term goals:  
Does s/he plan to achieve these goals, or does s/he think they're unrealistic?  
Will others be affected?
If yes, does it matter to the character?
 

What, if anything, is stopping him/her from achieving these goals?

 

What does he/she actively work to gain, keep or protect?

 

What event or occurrence does s/he most dread or fear?

 

Which person in his/her life would s/he most want to emulate?

 

Which person in his/her life would s/he least want to emulate?

 

LIKES/FAVORITES:
Food:  
Drink:  
Color:  
Book:  
Film:  
Music/Song:  
TV:  
Sport:  
Motto/Quote:  
Hangout(s):  
Possession:  

 

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This chart may be reprinted as long as above credit is included