I am a pantser, so when my teacher asked us to do an assignment where we had to create a character sketch, I was like “a what?” I do not outline my stories let alone my characters because I like to believe I know them. Here is the breakdown.
A character sketch is a written analysis of a character, can be a real person, such as a historical figure or a fictional character. By providing descriptive words, a character sketch details physical characteristics and personality traits. The format for a character sketch is a four or five paragraph essay, which should include the following.
- Introduction: This paragraph gives the name of the character, the title of the story and name of the author. It should contain one or two general statements about the character.
- Physical Description: In this paragraph, you provide the description of what the character looks like, the ways he/she dresses. Things like age, height, weight, physical build and any unique marks (tattoos, scars, moles, etc.)
- Actions & Abilities: These are traits that describe the things the character does or is capable of doing. They may be specific things; these are best illustrated from the text, which shows that specific trait.
- Mood, Feelings & Attitudes: These are personal reactions to certain situations.
- Conclusion: The last paragraph provides a basic summary of the character; it can contain comments about the character.
Creating a character sketch also helps to know your character in a more specific way, it’s great to be able to describe you MC and really know what you’re talking about. As a new writer, these are exercises that help to further understand the writing process. I may not always get it right, but being able to get feedback is invaluable.
Tell me have you ever done a Character Sketch, either in paragraph or point form? What’s your process for creating one?