You Need To Take Time Out To Write Character Sketches

Miriam E. A.Thompson > Miriam’s Blog > Writer's Brain > You Need To Take Time Out To Write Character Sketches

After my second rewrite of The Chaplain’s Heart, I was absolutely ashamed of myself.

The characters were not singing to me.

How else can I say this?

They were:

I love all of them but their development stunk.

So, I decided to do something which should have been done in the first place.

Write out character sketches.

I believe I have close to twelve or more characters. No, I did not write out twelve outlines. For the moment, I chose to focus on the core characters. These personalities move my plot along.

Miriam, why do we need character sketches?

Friend, it is super important. How else would we be able to present real personalities? How else would our readers be able to relate to them, walk alongside them in their journeys or even go through the emotional rollercoasters with them?

Character sketches may take the form of questions about their birth, age, ethnic grouping or family life. They may go as far as questioning their views on politics, sex, marriage and whether they love Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift.

“The writer’s characters must stand before us with a wonderful clarity, such continuous clarity that nothing they do strikes us as improbable behavior for just that character, even when the character’s action is, as sometimes happens, something that came as a surprise to the writer himself. ”
John Gardner, The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers

It took me two hours or more to write outlines for each of my characters but at the end of the day, I had  interviews guaranteed to enrich my manuscript. I feel confident that I can jump around into their brains and let them come to life on the page.

Check out this awesome Tumblr page for a complete master-list of character sheets and templates!

You are welcome!

Talk back to me! Are your characters all laid out? Will you consider character sketches? Are they worth the time and effort?

Leave me a comment or two.

Keep swimming friend!


3 thoughts on “You Need To Take Time Out To Write Character Sketches

  1. theowllady

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

  2. Morgan Vega

    Agreed! You’d think it’d be easier to write, but planning pays off. Character sketches help so much…I need to do more of them! Thanks for the advice. 🙂 Good luck on your writing!

    • Miriam E. Thompson

      Hey Morgan! I feel much more confident now I have these character sketches. It was so muddled and chaotic before but now I feel great. Thanks for your comment and best wishes to you as well!

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