A story can have a vibrant world and a brilliant plot, but it’s all for naught if the characters don’t act like genuine people (or elves, trolls, whatever, you get it). This blog series is about creating authentic characters who act and react realistically in fantastic and futuristic worlds.
Writing a rough character sketch is the first step to creating a fully formed fantasy or science fiction character ready to adventure in your world. Character sketches should focus mostly on the character’s traits and personality instead of looks. It’s much easier to craft your character’s outside once you’ve figured out their insides. Plus, their physicality might change throughout your personality crafting. Maybe their backstory gives them a scar, or they belong to an order wherein everyone has purple hair.
Even though looks come later, you might not want to start from a blank slate, so your character basics might include a rough age, gender, and body type. I also like to add their name, their goals, and some stand out personality traits. Stand out qualities might include friendliness, level of conscientiousness, and emotional stability (or lack of these).
Sometimes, I start out with none of these, or just a name, and let the character reveal herself to me as I work through their backstory. But starting with a rough sketch often best. Here’s a checklist to help create character sketches
That’s really it for the sketch list. Keep in mind a character sketch doesn’t have to meet all these criteria and often includes other info, such as the narrative reason you’re creating the character.
Next blog, I’m going to discuss a few quick tricks to make even minor characters authentic.