Writing a character biography for a novel

Share via Email Illustration: Jess Wilson Character sketches, like most aspects of outlining, are a process of brainstorming.

Writing a character biography for a novel

Though fiction, by definition, is made up, to succeed it must be believable. Even fantasies must make sense. Once the reader has accepted your premise, what follows must be logical. Effective research is key to adding the specificity necessary to make this work. When my character uses a weapon, I learn everything I can about it.

Accurate details add flavor and authenticity. Get details wrong and your reader loses confidence—and interest—in your story. Consult Atlases and World Almanacs to confirm geography and cultural norms and find character names that align with the setting, period, and customs.

If your Middle Eastern character flashes someone a thumbs up, be sure that means the same in his culture as it does in yours. YouTube and online search engines can yield tens of thousands of results. Just be careful to avoid wasting time getting drawn into clickbait videos Use a Thesaurusbut not to find the most exotic word.

writing a character biography for a novel

People love to talk about their work, and often such conversations lead to more story ideas. Resist the urge to shortchange the research process. Add specifics the way you would add seasoning to food. Choose your point of view. The perspective from which you tell your story can be complicated because it encompasses so much.

The cardinal rule is one perspective character per scene, but I prefer only one per chapter, and ideally one per novel. No hopping into the heads of other characters. What your POV character sees, hears, touches, smells, tastes, and thinks is all you can convey.

Most novels are written in Third Person Limited.

writing a character biography for a novel

That means limited to one perspective character at a time, and that character ought to be the one with the most at stake. First Person makes is easiest to limit yourself to that one perspective character, but Third-Person Limited is most popular for a reason.

Read current popular fiction to see how the bestsellers do it. Then he finds out that person told someone else something entirely different, and his actions prove he was lying to both. Begin in media res in the midst of things. You must grab your reader by the throat on page one.

It means avoiding too much scene setting and description and getting to the good stuff—the guts of the story. The goal of every sentence, in fact of every wordis to force the reader to read the next.

The reason is obvious: Your job as a writer is not to make readers imagine things as you see them, but to trigger the theaters of their minds.To avoid this authors create templates for character biographies and profiles.

And writing these is pretty similar to outlining your biography or writing a military bio. Besides, the above mentioned perks of exploiting a character bio make it an essential part of writing a fiction novel.

Writing character profiles is an easy way to invent characters and to come up with short story ideas or start a novel outline.

Use these helpful questionnaires to begin. Menu. Besides, the above mentioned perks of exploiting a character bio make it an essential part of writing a fiction novel. Moreover, creating your own persons, though not real but unique, is fascinating. Still, most probably novice fiction writers don’t tend to think so simply because they get lost while overthinking what they should include and what shouldn’t.

When you write a longer work, such as a novel or screenplay, it is easy to forget minor character details. If you aren’t careful, the blue eyes you described on page .

Probably your book will be about a character who changes for the best. But there’s also room for characters who change for the worse.

Indeed, though they may lead to depressing, poor-selling books if given the lead role, these tragic characters are fascinating to watch. Characters are the central element in any kind of storytelling.

You can learn all about creating characters in the Gotham Character course. And you can also start the process right here on this page. One of the best ways to get to know your characters is to ask questions about them. Many writers do.

How to Write a Character From Start to Finish