It’s October, the equivalent of Christmas Eve for NaNoWriMo participants and if you’re anything like me, you have outlines for everything – but nothing concrete.

Creating your characters for your NaNoWriMo novel doesn’t have to be stressful. I’ve always found this time the most exciting when I’m writing; the first meeting with my characters. I get to decide whether they’re handsome or pretty, good or bad, rich or poor, what’s not to like? I use this Character map quite a bit – I’ve also got lots of other ideas that I slot in when I feel like it – things like politics and religion if they fit with the story.  This is when you really get to know them and I find it happens a lot in my head. Go for a walk with them, see what they have to say. 

When you look at a Character Map at first it can seem daunting – it’s only a series of questions about someone you know nothing about – yet. Try not to think about it like that – if you can’t put a face to the name, use someone you know. If you’re describing a murderer best not to let them know maybe… 
 

Before you start, draw a sketch of your character. It doesn’t matter if you can draw or not – it’s your vision, and that’s the important thing.

Character statement

Think carefully about this because all the answers you provide later on will have to reflect this person.

Example:  My name is [Mary Brown].  I haven’t been alive as long as others here. I live in a world of heat and sand, where water and wood are rare. It seems that everyone’s out to get me, and I’m being followed by two women. Most of the village people are angry and I’m afraid all the time. Why does it have to be like this?

Characteristics 

  • Character’s Name:
  • Gender:
  • Age:
  • Current Location:
    • Where the Character Grew Up:
  • Height:
  • Ethnicity:
  • Zodiac Sign – study its characteristics
  • Personality test
  • Children:
    • Number of Children:
    • Names:
    • Favorite Child:
      • Why:
    • Family Information (Parents, Siblings, etc.):
      • How Many Siblings:
      • Favorite Sibling:
        • Why:
      • Favorite Parent:
        • Why:
      • Nickname:
      • Clothing Style:
      • Hairstyle:
      • Eyewear:
      • Complexion:
      • Eye Color:
      • Hair Color:
      • Weight / Body Shape

Likes & Dislikes 

  • Favorite Music Style:

Why:

  • Least Favorite Music Style:

Why:

  • Favorite Band:

Why:

  • Least Favorite Band:

Why:

  • Favorite Movie:

Why:

  • Least Favorite Movie:

Why:

  • Favorite Book:

Why:

  • Least Favorite Book:

Why:

  • Favorite Food:

Why:

  • Least Favorite Food:

Why:

Personal History

 Marital Status:

    • Partner’s Name:
    • Where’d the Character Meet His or Her Partner:
    • How They Fell in Love:
  • Educational Level:
  • Pets:
  • Occupation:
  • Political Party:
  • Allergies:
  • Physical Handicaps:
  • Best Friend:
    • Why This Person Is their Best Friend:
  • Religious Beliefs:
  • Criminal Past:
  • Chemical Dependencies / Addictions:
  • Family Traditions:
  • Nemesis (and why):

Goals/Abilities

  • Interests:
  • Personal Goal:
    • Motivations:
    • Completed or Not:
  • Biggest Fear:
    • Why:
  • Greatest Strength:
  • Greatest Weakness:
  • Biggest Regret:
    • Why:
  • Talents:
  • Musically Inclined:
  • Where Does the Character See Him/Herself in 10 Years:

Random

  • Oddest Thing That Has Ever Happened to this Character:
  • Special Talents:
  • Sexual Fantasy / Preferences:
  • Quirks and Vices:
  • Extra Information: 

Do you relate to the character? Do they have personality traits you recognise in yourself? 

  • If You Were an Actor / Actress, Would You Want to Play This Character:
    • Why or Why Not:
  • Relate This Character to Another Literary or Movie Persona:

Now, practice, practice, practice!