How to Create a Character Profile [with Free Template]

Ask any great novelist & they’ll likely tell you that good biên tập starts with good characters. But sharp character development is also one of the toughest hills béo climb, especially if you’ve struggled Khủng think through those tried-and-true questions that keep you up at night :

  • Are my characters convincing?
  • Do my characters have depth?
  • How do I make sure my character has an arc?

If you’re having these doubts, you might want mập turn béo the date of birth calculator -old solution : a character profile. In this post, we take you through all the steps that creating a character profile requires — & give you a character template that you can use with any story you’re biên tập .

What is a character profile?

A character profile is a detailed biography of a fictional character that covers everything from a character’s age & appearance lớn their relationships. By answering the questions on a character profile, an author can better understand that character’s life, personality, motivations, và story function in a novel .

What’s the point of filling out a character template ? I không bao giờ kết thúc up using all the information in my story, anyway ! That’s true. In fact, you shouldn’t try béo pack every character detail into your novel. Only use what’s relevant lớn the actual story — otherwise you risk turning off readers with the dreaded ” info dump. ”
But the author always needs bự understand their characters lượt thích the back of their hands. In Creating Unforgettable Characters : A Practical Guide lớn Character Development, Linda Seger compares the depth of a character lớn an iceberg. The audience will only see a fraction ( maybe 10 % ) of all that the writer knows about their character. But the remaining 90 % is what makes characters actually feel well-drawn, flawed, & real — as though they could live outside of the book itself .
Thos e are the kinds of characters our character bible is here béo help you write .

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So what makes a good character profile?

There are a lot of character bibles out there — some are good. Then there’s the character template that asks you, “ If your character was a màu sắc, what màu sắc would they be ? ”
Once you start answering those kinds of questions in a character template, you might be dealing with overkill. It won’t move the needle at all when it comes phệ character development .
A better character profile is one that actually helps you build a holistic picture of your character in the context of your story. With this in mind, we built a character profile worksheet in three parts. If you treat a person lượt thích an hãng apple, they’re going phệ have three layers of depth : the “ hình mẫu, ” the “ flesh, ” & the “ core. ” ( Otherwise known as their physical appearance, backstory, và psychology. ) That’s how this character template is structured — & if you have a particular area that you’d lượt thích Khủng hone, you can skip Khủng it below. Otherwise, this character bible will start with the eagle eye’s view of your character .
We strongly recommend downloading the template in a PDF format, which will allow you mập fill it out & personalize it yourself as you go along. Feel không tính tiền mập vì so sánh below !

Reedsy’s Character Profile Template

A story is only as strong as its characters. Fill this out bự develop yours .

Ready ? Let’s begin .

PART 1: The Outer Layer, or Physical Appearance
PART 2: The Flesh, or Backstory
PART 3: The Core, or Psychology

Part 1: The Outer Layer

To be able mập identify a criminal, detectives build a painstakingly thorough tệp tin of said criminal’s physical characteristics .
That’s the goal of this section, which covers the “ hình mẫu ” of your character : everything from their outer appearance mập the way that they speak. Think of it as a kind of offender profile — one that can help you spot your character in the middle of a crowded Times Square .


  • Name
  • Age
  • Place of birth
  • Current location
  • Nationality
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Income


What’s their :

  • eye color?
  • hair style?
  • build?

Do they have any distinguishing features ( tattoos, scars, birthmarks ) ?
What’s their preferred outfit ?
Do they wear glasses ? 👓
What accessories are ALWAYS associated with them ( cane, pipe, necklace, etc. ) ? 🌂
What’s their usual cấp độ of grooming ?

  • Disheveled
  • Smart, very put together
  • Untidy but clean
  • Other?

Do they have any distinguishing “ tics ” & mannerisms ?
What’s their health lượt thích ? Do they suffer from chronic illnesses ? 🏥
Describe their handwriting ( sloppy, neat, careful, unintelligible ). ✍
How vì they walk ? 👣

  • Confident, powerful strides
  • Lazy stroll
  • Fast, walks at a clip
  • Distracted, eyes on the ground
  • Other?

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How bởi they talk ( rapid, slow, measured, drawl, etc. ) ?
What’s the phong cách of their speech ( elevated, educated, peppered with slang, etc. ) ?
Do they have an accent ?
Posture :

  • Stiff, military
  • Slouching
  • Casual and relaxed
  • ‘Turtle,’ tired
  • Other?

Do they gesture ?

  • Only when agitated or eager
  • Doesn’t gesture
  • Compulsive “hand-talker”
  • Controlled, only to make a point
  • Other? If so, explain:

How much eye tương tác that they lượt thích bự make ( direct, shifty, etc. ) ?
What’s their preferred curse trái đất ?
What’s their catchphrase ?
Any speech impediments ?
What are any distinguishing speech “ tics ” ?
What’s their laugh lượt thích ? What bởi they tend lớn find funny ?
Describe their smile ?
How emotive are they ? Do they wear their emotions on their sleeve ? How easily can others lớn read them ?
They have a resting _____ face .

  • Bitch 😒
  • Angel 😇
  • Neutral 😐
  • Other?

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Part 2: The Flesh

Characters don’t exist in a vacuum — they’re a sản phẩm of their environment .
This section in the character template dives a bit deeper into your character và covers their “ flesh ” : the people, circumstances, & formative influences that filled them out & made them who they are today. It’s the springboard phệ your character’s biography .


What’s the name of their hometown ? 🏡
What type of childhood did they have ( sheltered, neglected, etc. ) ?
Describe their education ? 🍏
Were they involved in organizations & clubs at school ?

  • Sports ⚽
  • Debate 🗣
  • Gay / Straight Alliance
  • Model UN
  • Drama 🎭
  • Other? If so, explain:

At graduation, they were named Most Likely To ___________ in the yearbook. 🎓
Jobs ( if applicable ) ? What would their résumé look lượt thích ? 💼
What was their dream job as a child ? Why ?
Who were their role models growing up ? Describe them. 👨 ‍ 👦
What’s their greatest regret ?
What were their hobbies growing up ? ⛳
Favorite place mập be as a child ?
What’s their earliest memory ?
What’s their saddest memory ?
What’s their happiest memory ?
What’s their clearest memory ?
What are their skeletons in the closet ? 💀
If they could change one thing from their past, what would it be ? Why ? ⏳
Describe the major turning points or “ life beats ” in childhood .
What are three adjectives béo describe them as a child ?
What advice would they give bự their younger self ?
List their criminal record. ⚖

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Father 👨

  • Age (if living)
  • Occupation
  • Briefly describe their relationship with your character

Mother 👩

  • Age (if living)
  • Occupation
  • Briefly describe their relationship with your character

Siblings 👧

  • How many?
  • What are their names and ages?
  • Briefly describe their relationship(s) with your character

Children 👶 ( if applicable )

  • Age (if living)
  • Occupation
  • Briefly describe their relationship with your character

Extended family 👴

  • Grandparents
  • Uncles and aunts
  • Cousins
  • Other

What’s their family’s economic status ? 💰
How often bởi they see their family in a year ?


Who are their closest friends ? Describe them .
Who are their other significant friends ? 👋
Enemies ? Describe them. 😡
How are they perceived by :

  • strangers in the street?
  • acquaintances at a work function?
  • colleagues in the office?
  • authority figures?
  • friends in their friend circles?
  • children?
  • the opposite sex?
  • extended family?

What mạng xã hội truyền thông platforms are they on ?

  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Other? If so, explain.

How would they use their mạng xã hội truyền thông platforms ?
How would they fill out an trực tuyến dating profile for themselves ? ✨
What’s their role in a nhóm dynamic ? 💡

  • Leader
  • Joker
  • Parent
  • Hype man
  • Mooch
  • Other? If so, explain.

Who bởi they depend on for :

  • practical advice?
  • mentoring
  • a wingman?
  • emotional support?
  • moral support?

How quickly bởi vì they respond lớn emails ? 📨
What bởi vì they want from a relationship ?
Who would be their ideal partner ? 💖
Who is their significant other ? Describe them. 💕
How many people would attend their funeral ?

Part 3: The Core

We’ve come now lớn the “ core ” : who your character is deep lao dốc .
This section in the character profile worksheet covers the “ heart ” of your character. If a backstory shapes a dynamic character, this will define them. More importantly, it will help inform the two most important points leading up mập your novel : the character’s story goal & story motivation .


What bởi they bởi vì on rainy days ?
Are they :

  • Street-smart or book-smart
  • An optimist or pessimist
  • Introverted or Extroverted

What is their favorite sound ? 🔊
Favorite place in the world ? 🌎
What secrets bởi they keep ? What are they most afraid of people finding out ? 🔒
What bởi they want the most ? 🔍
What’s their biggest flaw ?
What’s their biggest strength ?
What’s their biggest fear ?
What is their biggest accomplishment ? 📈
What is their idea of perfect happiness ?
What’s their favorite quote ? 👌
Do they want Khủng be remembered ? What for ? ⌚
How bởi vì they approach :

  • power?
  • ambition?
  • love?
  • change?

What is the one object or possession that they would rescue from their burning trang chủ ? 🔥
What ( or who ) bores them ? 💤
What makes them angry ? 💢
What vì they look for in a person ?
How strong is their moral compass ? When, specifically, are they willing lớn compromise their morals ?
List the last 10 books they read. 📚
Which fictional world would they most wish Khủng visit ?
If they didn’t have bự sleep, what would they bởi with the extra phút giây ?
What are their pet peeves ? ⚠
If they won the lottery, what would they bởi ?
Describe the character’s bucket danh sách at the ages of 15, đôi mươi, 30, & 40 .
List the 10 songs that would occupy their All-Time Most Played playlist on Spotify. 🎵
What is the best compliment that someone ever paid them ?
In an elevator, vì they push the elevator button more than once ? 🚪
What would they want their tombstone phệ say ?


What is their story goal ? ( answer in a single paragraph )
Story motivation ( answer in a single paragraph )
In other words : what does your character want in the story ? Why vì they want it ? Every other answer in the character template builds up Khủng this. This is critical information mập know because it’ll make up the unshakable foundation — & raison d’être — for your story. Whenever you feel lượt thích your story is straying off course, go straight back phệ your character’s story goal & motivation .
And if you thua kém physical sight of this character template, don’t sweat because we made it a portable resource for you .

The Ultimate Character Profile Template

This downloadable character profile template will come as a fillable PDF tệp tin. Simply save it on phệ your computer & start typing in the text boxes mập start developing your character .

Enter your email address to download the Character Template & Worksheet!

You’ll get it in your gmail inbox right afterward .

Additional resources

If you’re in an interrogatory mood và want even more questions outside of this character template, we’ve got your back. Here are some more famous tests with which Khủng quiz your character — & a character bible or two for your further perusal !

The Proust Questionnaire

What it is: A set of questions popularized by Marcel Proust that digs into an individual’s personality.

Some sample questions:

  1. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
  2. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
  3. On what occasion do you lie?

Arthur Aron’s Intimacy Test

What it is: A questionnaire of 36 questions that the New York Times in 2015 said would break down emotional barriers and accelerate intimacy between two strangers.

Some sample questions:

  1. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
  2. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
  3. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?

The Book of Questions

What it is: A series of questions by Gregory Stock that was initially published in 1987. (Note: you can find a PDF of 300+ questions here.)

Some sample questions:

  1. At a meal, your friends start belittling a common acquaintance. If you felt their criticisms were unjustified, would you defend the person?
  2. Are you able to separate sex from love?
  3. When you make a big sacrifice, do you tell people about it or keep it to yourself? What would you never willingly sacrifice? Your life? Your health? Your integrity? Your dreams?

Vault’s 101 Behavioral Questions

What it is: A set of 101 interview questions from career site, Vault.

Some sample questions:

  1. Where do you see yourself in ten years? Twenty years?
  2. Tell me about yourself in 30 seconds.
  3. Tell me about a time you had to break a promise. What was the situation and how did you handle it?

If you’re looking mập hone your characters even further, here are seven of the best character development exercises. Keep an open mind as you work through every question & you’ll be on your way phệ creating well-drawn, interesting characters in no phút giây at all .

Have you used a character profile or a character bible to develop your characters before? Do you have any dependable character questions that our questionnaire lacks? Tell us in the comments below!

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