Baby Evil Writers 101: Character Sheets
One of the biggest mistakes new writers make is to dive into a manuscript without planning the characters. Names aren’t enough. What do they look like? What’s their favorite food? How old are they and when is their birthday? What’s their favorite curse when they’re angry?
Having a hazy idea of what your character looks like shows in your writing. I’ve found that having a character sheet on hand (I pin them on the wall in my writer clubhouse) makes my descriptions crisp and rounds the character into a real person.
Gregor (Poppi) Romanoff
Married to: Maria (Baba) Romanoff for 40 years
Voice sounds like a gravel road
Plays the Violin for gipsy dancers
Lives in an Airstream trailer
Phrases: Devochka as an endearment
Favorite thing: To find news under the message stone
When you have an actual picture, it is easier to describe the flow of their hair and the way their ears stick out—just a little. You need a character sheet for each person you put in your book. You can use live people, but chances are that if you would use someone in your own house, someone you know well, by the time you’d need to write a sequel, they would be several years older than when you began their story. Then what would you do?
This is the start of a character sheet. Next time we’ll add tags and traits.