Writing Tip: So You Want to Build A World – Part 2

Once you have completed your detailed descriptions of your world from the laws and regulations to the setting and describing how the world looks in great detail, you will want to begin to look at the cast of characters that you will be including in your writing.  I had you create the background to your world before focusing on your characters because you want a world that will outlive your characters.  This means, if you want to create a world that will become real for the reader, you want it to be a world that doesn’t rely on your characters to exist.   This will also allow you to expand your world in multiple novels if you intend on writing a series.

But once you have created that necessary background, you can begin working on your cast.  However, I do not want you to start with character profiles like you might in other circumstances.  The best way to begin working on your cast of characters will be to create a character map.  An example of a character map is below and it is based on The Kite Runner:

kite-runner-character-map.jpg

Character maps are a great way to establish the relationships between your characters, and how they might influence one another.  You want to make sure that you understand all of the relationships that your characters hold and that way you can make sure that you aren’t over revealing any of the relationships between your characters in your novel, and you want to make sure that you don’t cross any boundaries between characters.

Once you have worked on this character map, make a separate profile sheet for each character based on their appearance, occupation, birthdate or other important dates, favorite foods, etc. The more details you can jot down, the better.  Also, make sure to define their physical characteristics in depth.  The more that you understand your characters, the better you will be able to bring them to life for the reader.  I have prepared a character profile sheet for you below, and please feel free to use this sheet for each of your characters.  You can also omit any of the characteristics shown, or add your own.  Your story is in your own hands!

Character Profile Sheet

  • Name:
  • Occupation:
  • Birthdate:
  • Birth Place:
  • Relationship Status:
  • Sexual Orientation:
  • Eye Color:
  • Hair Color:
  • Body Type:
  • Typical Clothing Choice:
  • Favorite Color:
  • Favorite Food:
  • Family Background:
  • Role Model:
  • Best Friend:
  • Living Situation:
  • Education Status:
  • Life Goals:
  • Hobbies:
  • Favorite Book:
  • Favorite Song:
  • Favorite Quote:

The deeper your delve into your characters, the more passionate you will be about them.  This planning will also help to prevent any inconsistencies in your novel.  But don’t worry, all of this work will pay off!  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Much love,

Ashley

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