Starting to work on a brand new character is one of the most exciting parts of a creator’s journey. But when there are so many potential elements for your character’s style and personality, keeping track of everything can be a challenge. In this article, we’ll show you why a character template is useful and how you can get working on your first one right now.

What Is a Character Template?

A character template, also known as a character profile, is a list of questions that you ask yourself as you start to design your new character. You can use the same template over and over again with any character you create and keep those notes handy as you work on your story or designing your creation.

Most character templates will feature basic biographic information first—think name, age, gender, job, and any specific details about their family. By narrowing down these pieces of information first, you’ll be able to think of your character in a more realistic way.

character questions
Your templates can also include details about the world itself, not just your specific characters.

From there, you can start to add in more specific questions that relate to their appearance, personality, history and backstory, and anything else that might become important later on.

For example, if you’re writing a fantasy story, details about their fighting style or magical powers would be helpful, but may not be necessary if your narrative is historical fiction or romance. The best part of character templates is that you can completely customize them to fit whatever your creative needs are.

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How to Use a Character Profile Template

character sheets
Source: Instagram

Your profile templates will be helpful to reference throughout your writing or drawing process.

Your character templates will give you a constant reference point throughout the creative journey, particularly when you’re trying to keep track of multiple characters

While you may not need to include every little detail that’s outlined on your template in the actual story itself, having that information will help you visualize your character as you write or draw. By the time you come to editing, you’ll know your characters as if they were real people. That will help you tighten up the narrative.

What You Might Need It For

Being able to convince your audience about a character is tricky, so having a strong character profile to draw on when you need to add in a few extra details will help make your characters more realistic. 

character planning
Searching for visual references can also help when building realistic character templates.

Small details like where someone grew up or their relationships with their siblings may seem irrelevant, but if you can weave parts of their history or information about their life that doesn’t necessarily relate directly to moving the plot forward, your characters become more relatable and lifelike. Just like with real humans, those little details are what make us unique and tell our story in more effective ways. 

How to Make Character Templates

Use a Generator

A character profile generator is a great place to start if you’ve never made this kind of template before. You’ll fill in those all-important biographic details about your character (or you can choose to randomize it if you’re really stuck for ideas), and the generator will provide a character profile that you can use for your story.

Find Downloadable Templates

When you’re creating a character template, look online for downloadable options that others have already made. There’s no point reinventing the wheel! If you know that you’re looking for templates that fit a certain genre, make your search more specific like “thriller story character profile template” so that you have more relevant questions to ask yourself as you flesh out your characters.

Reflect on Your Favorites

apollo character
Source: Instagram
Be inspired by other creators and reflect on the types of characters they’ve made.

Go back to some of your favorite characters and make a list of what you know about them. This will give you a good starting point for the types of attributes that top writers and illustrators are mapping out about their characters before they ever put pen to paper.

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Character templates can save you so much time and frustration when you’re thinking about how to make believable and memorable characters. Try working with a few profile templates on your next project and see how they can make your story even better!

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Written by:

Holly Landis