Friday, June 10, 2016

Who's Who? Keeping track of the cast.

The best books have interesting characters with unique personalities. It's a writer's job to keep everyone straight, or her character will all start to look and sound alike.

To keep track of my characters, I create character profiles for my protagonist and the supporting cast. This starts with a brief biographical sketch of the characters that includes age, occupation or grade level if a student, hair/eye color, any other pertinent description evident in the story, relationship to other characters, etc. Next, I get to know them by developing their back story. And while I may not always know the intricate details of what brought each character to where they are when the book starts, I know the highlights of their lives. After all, a person's past helps to shape who they are today.

Below is the character profiles for Madison Riley, the brave, loyal, and sometimes impulsive protagonist in the Embrace Series. It's my go-to sheet whenever I can't remember the small yet important details that set her apart from her friends:

   Madison Elizabeth Riley 
  • 16-years-old / Born in March
  • Junior in HS
  • Naturally curly chestnut-brown hair / hazel eyes like her mom's
  • Has her mom's high cheekbones and fair complexion
  • Book 1 drinks hazelnut lattes. Book 2 pumpkin spice lattes. Favorite cold drink, Nantucket Nectars Lemonade
  • Madison is a loyal friend, a positive person, and she's always there for her closest friends. She depends on Kaylee and Josh more than she realizes. She avoids conflict and hates change in her life. She has a good relationship with her father and brother.
  • Her magic tastes like chocolate covered strawberries when fueled with positive emotions and copper when fueled with negative emotions. Her fear tastes like rotten strawberries.
  • As the series progressed, I added even more detail to this list.
  • I also add notes based on character interviews Madison participated in.
I repeat this for the supportive cast, listing their quirks and strengths and making it easier for me to keep track of my characters then and now.

Do you create character sheets? If not, how do you keep track of your characters?


  1. Yes I do. It's a great place to develop their backstory so I can understand why they are the way they are when the story begins. I also write out their goals and strengths and weaknesses.

    1. I've done that too. It really helps me learn my characters. :)

  2. Yes, cheat sheets. I use them for settings, pets, plot lines and a pile of other things. I'd never stay organized if I didn't. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  3. My character profiles are much briefer than yours but I focus on backstory or motivation for why they do what they do. Nice list!

  4. I love character profiles! I'll have a page for each character similar to what you have here, that helps me keep track of physical details, relationships, etc. Then I'll have two to three pages where I've answered questions from the characters POV, a lot of "What would you do if" questions, as well as questions delving into their past and current issues. It's like getting to know people, and I find it so much fun.

    1. I've had my characters answer questions too. That's a fun way to get into their heads. :)