Every writer has a different approach to creating characters for their stories. When I wrote the first draft of SEELIE PRINCESS, I knew very little about my two main characters, Kayla and Fay. And some writers might find it exciting to learn about their characters as they progress through the story, but for me personally, I realized that if I don’t have an idea about who my main protagonist really is, I will struggle with how I want to portray them.
Step 1: Character Template
I like to start out with a character template. These templates can come in all shapes and forms. You can create your own, or you can use one from the internet (e.g. Reedsy has quite a nice template for free). These can be as in-depth as you want them to be; just remember that you don’t have to include every single fact about your character in your story. If it’s not relevant to the plot what kind of music your character listens to, then don’t mention it. This is just for you as the author.
I use a pretty in-depth template that I stitched together using various templates I found online. For any minor characters, I use a shortened version of that template. I believe that aside from general information like age and gender, the most important pieces that make up a great character are the ones that focus on who they are deep down. What’s their core strength? Their key flaw? What are they most afraid of? What are some of their biggest accomplishments, and what do they hope to achieve in the future? And most importantly: story goals and motivations.
Step 2: Moodboards
Once I’ve worked through most of the template for each main character (I usually have two) and any other minor characters that matter to the story, I move on to create moodboards. Moodboards are a great way to visualize your characters, but since I’m not an artist, I have to really on Pinterest. Thankfully, there are tons of talented artists who share their work online, and I love scrolling through my feed, looking for any drawings or doodles that fit the character I’m working on.
Take the two main protagonists for my current WIP. After working through their templates, I knew who they are on the inside. But what about the outside? What do they look like? What kind of clothes do they like to wear? I also like to include their hobbies and some other aesthetics to create one cohesive moodboard. And once I’ve got all that (along with the plot points for the story) I’m good to go!
Leave a Reply