How to create a fact-based character profile?

How to create a fact-based character profile?


While writing, you can focus too much on the plot, that your character may appear bland. In the series of blogs on character profiles here is a new blog. Creating a fact-based character profile can help with understanding you character better. Detailing your characters make them more dimensional and unforgettable.

So you have already made your way through physical, and psychological character profiles and crafting character arcs? What’s next? There could be some miscellaneous details that don’t come under those categories.

So let’s make a factual character profile.

In this blog let’s discuss what to add to your factual character profile. This is a vague list of things I found important based on my research. But you can add your own categories based on your needs.

So when it comes to your character how they look and how they think is not the only thing that makes them who they are. Because if you think about it, your characters are people just like us. Would it be okay if someone diminished you to just the way you look and the way you act?

A character is their own separate person and has likes, dislikes, skills, interests, and much more. This is what makes them appear more dimensional.

Once again, just because you outline so many things about your characters, it doesn’t necessarily have to end up in your book. I think the character profiles and all other guides exist to make us understand our story better. Just because you say your character likes blue colour, you don’t have to make a big deal about it in your book. You can mention it on the go or just show how your character reacts positively to the colour. It is a different thing altogether if their favourite colour has some sort of importance in the story.

So let’s see what are some facts that will help readers feel more connected with the characters.

I think the trick here is to think about someone from your own life for example – a friend, a family member, or a colleague.

Just list everything (doesn’t need to be endless) you know about them.

Their birthplace, favourite celebrity, go-to activity, insecurities, and anything that comes to your mind. This list can be pretty long and it is mostly your perception of the person.

But if you see this list you can see there are a lot of things you know about the person -a wide range of information starting from basic details to personal.

You might ask why doing this is important.

This step is the best way for you to broaden your mind. Because generally, you would go for the things that come to your mind by thinking about other book characters you could remember. Then start to list out similar facts about your characters as well. But this will probably make your character look less dimensional.

But if you try to apply the same to a real person, you can see there is more to a person and how each person has their own characteristics and traits. You will even find reasons for why the person is the way they are.

So after listing facts about your characters you can make them more dimensional.

Tips when it comes to listing facts about your characters:

There is a high chance this particular part of character profiling might distract you a lot and at times might look like a waste of time. So here are a few tips to keep you on track.

  • While listing out facts about your character, make sure it is precise and adds value. It doesn’t matter if your character doesn’t like a certain food. But it matters when there is a reason for them to not like their food – the food reminds them of a bad memory/ food is not something they are used to based on their lifestyle. Or it should be one of their quirks. Like if a character hates soft-boiled eggs, make it a funny thing that happens to them in the story. If your fact is not something that adds value to your book, then it is probably not useful.
  • The facts about your character need to be woven into their history. If a character thinks dance and drama are overrated, make it understandable. Why do they hate? What event in their life made them come to this conclusion? This helps you view your character more as a person.
  • The facts are there for you to see your character in more dimensions. So explore different angles to approach them. The rule here is to never go out of topic. Always focus only on the relevant facts.
  • Writing facts about your characters just for fun can be useful. When you are in the middle of writer’s block or you feel like you don’t like your story, you can write random facts about your characters. This will help you ease your mind out of the regular writing routine. Also, you can get inspired to approach your story from a different angle.

Here are some facts I would add when it comes to outlining a character:

  • comfort things- food, activity, place, season.
  • birthplace
  • go to hobby
  • job/day-to-day duties
  • long time wish
  • favorite memory
  • the worst thing that happened to them
  • insecurities
  • preferred recreational stuff
  • pet peeves
  • their idea of a happy ending
  • emotional scars
  • their taste – music, books, movies, or others
  • how do they feel about romance/ sex and their experience
  • trust issues
  • where does their loyalty lie
  • embarrassing memory
  • their quirks
  • their skeletons in the closet
  • biggest regret

To conclude I am going to say that character profiles are there for you to understand your characters better. You can find ways to improve your work and also make the character look more interesting. So here is my set of facts that I think are important to understand your characters better.

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