Creating Characters

May 4, 2007 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I started talking about this subject a little bit here.

When creating characters, you’ll need to get to know them. I do this by filling out a character chart, where I’ll answer a series of questions about my characters. It’s good to use a chart because you want a broad range of information about your character, however, you don’t want to overload your mind with useless information. For example, it might not be important for you or your reader to know that your character had a cat named Spencer when she was in the fifth grade. However, your reader may find it interesting to know that your character likes animals, and that your character’s love of animals inspired her to become a veterinarian! The following list of questions can be used as a guide. You can probably find a similiar list of questions on other writers’ websites if they have sections on character development.


Character Name: Age:
Physical Characteristics:

Best Feature:
Worst Feature:
Feelings about their own looks:
Ethnic Background:
Neighborhood of Youth:
Church affiliation:
What they believe about God:
Parent’s Attitudes about: Money/Getting Ahead: Sex:
Discipline received:
Special Opportunities:
Attitude about: Money/Getting Ahead: Sex:
Favorite Foods:
Favorite Music:
Favorite Movie/Book:
Strong Points:
Pet Peeves:

RULING TRAIT: the driving force, the trait that affects all their actions and reactions:

A character question: Does your character MAKE things happen or REACT to what happens?
What is the most significant/emotional things that have happened in your character’s life?

Also, another list of questions I’ve used in the past, is from a book entitled The Writer’s Digest Sourcebook for Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon ISBN: 0-89879-683-0 Pages 34-48. I did not post the list from this book here, however, I encourage all who are struggling with character development to get this book and use it as another guide in helping with building characters. I used this book a great deal when I first started writing and was just learning how to develop my characters.

Also, if you are writing an inspirational novel, it’s important to know your character’s views about God and religion before you begin your story. Also, maybe you’ll want a focus a bit about your character’s religious upbringing. For example, was he/she raised in a Christian home? Were his/her parents atheists?

Here is a blog post where I fill out a character sheet for the hero in my Christian Romance Novel, John’s Quest.

Cecelia Dowdy

2 Responses to Creating Characters

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