Creating a Character Bio Sheet

Character bio sheets are not only a simple way to create characters, they are a great way to keep track of the characters you develop. When you write a longer work, such as a novel or screenplay, it is easy to forget minor character details. If you aren’t careful, the blue eyes you described on page five can turn to brown eyes by the end of page eighty.

Using a character bio sheet, you can record all of the essential details for your characters and keep them in a single place so that you can check those details whenever necessary. As your story progresses and your characters continue to evolve, you can use bio sheets to keep track of any changes you have made to your characters. If you keep track of all your details on the bio sheet, your editing process will go much more smoothly.

When you fill out a bio sheet initially, don’t feel as if you have to include a detail for every category. There are many things you will need to discover as your story progresses. On your first pass, record all of the details you are comfortable with and leave the rest. Feel free to add your own categories. This list has details that I find useful. You may have different needs or ideas.

  • Character Name
  • Nickname / Alias
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Residence
  • General Appearance
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Measurements
  • Clothing Sizes
  • Clothing Choices
  • Hair Color
  • Hair Length
  • Eye Color
  • Handedness
  • Jewelry
  • Tattoos / Marks
  • Role in the Story
  • Key Relationships
  • Education
  • Work History
  • Skills
  • Phobias / Fears
  • Bad Habits / Vices
  • Quirks
  • Best Qualities
  • Worst Qualities
  • Key Childhood Experiences
  • Key Teenage Experiences
  • Key Adult Experiences
  • Sexual Background
  • Favorites (food, clothing, art, music, TV show, movie, book)
  • Goals and Motivations
  • Morality / Ethics
  • Style of Speech
  • Words/Slang/Jargon
  • Additional Information
  • Character Name
  • Nickname / Alias
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Residence
  • General Appearance
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Measurements
  • Clothing Sizes
  • Clothing Choices
  • Hair Color
  • Hair Length
  • Eye Color
  • Handedness
  • Jewelry
  • Tattoos / Marks
  • Role in the Story
  • Key Relationships
  • Education
  • Work History
  • Skills
  • Phobias / Fears
  • Bad Habits / Vices
  • Quirks
  • Best Qualities
  • Worst Qualities
  • Key Childhood Experiences
  • Key Teenage Experiences
  • Key Adult Experiences
  • Sexual Background
  • Favorites (food, clothing, art, music, TV show, movie, book)
  • Goals and Motivations
  • Morality / Ethics
  • Style of Speech
  • Words/Slang/Jargon
  • Additional Information

19 thoughts on “Creating a Character Bio Sheet

  1. I didn’t even think of us. Thank you.

    The Priest

     Character Name / Nicknames / Aliases: Father Bouchante’,
     Birth Date: November 19, 1944
     Place of Birth: Unknown
     Residence: Lubbock, Texas
     Height: 5’4″
     Weight: 155
     Measurements: works out, shoulders and abs, narrow hips, bulge in his pants
     Clothing Sizes / Styles: blue, brown, umber, ochre, likes overalls and white t-shirts or solid black, sometimes gray leather vest,
     Hair Color: blackish brown, graying temples
     Hair Length: long pony tail braid pulled straight back
     Eye Color: dark brown
     Handedness : left handed
     Jewelry: silver cross
     Tattoos: none
     General Appearance: varies from neat to scruffy
     Relationship with Family: family all deceased but was close to mother
     Key Family / Relatives: Mother, two brothers, one sister
     Relationship with Friends many close friends in his youth, only one presently
     Key Friends: everyone
     Key Enemies: gets along with everyone, several dark enemies from the past
     Educational History: college and martial arts training
     Work History: service industries, he is alledgedly a Priest of a Greek Orthodox church, black belt Kajekimbo, Akido and Tang Soo Do Sensai
     Skills: primitive crafts, martial arts
     Phobias / Fears: afraid of commitment, wife is an unexpected contradiction
     Bad Habits / Vices: isolates, sometimes fails to communicate,
     Quirks: no automobile, rides a bycicle, wants no children
     Best Qualities: loyal, trustworthy, mentors adults and children
     Worst Qualities: elusive, secretive,
     Key Childhood Experiences: violent death of father
     Key Teenage Experiences: being small and having help to raise brothers and sister
     Key Adult Experiences: abandonment by first lovek, lived with nomadic Indians of the Southwest and learned to tan hides
     Sexual Background: heterosexual, drawn to large women, early sexual identify ambiguous
     Favorites (food, clothing, art, music, TV show, movie, book, etc.) classics, Japanese, salsa,
    loves coffee, catfish, loves to walk by the water, reads the bible and indigenous American Indian stories and history,
    makes his own art, frequents garage sales, movies with Jim Carrie, and likes small animals, fenches fly down and sit on his shoulders
     Personal Goals: none
     Professional Goals: none
     Morality / Ethics: no threesomes, but will fool around with married women or anybody willing,
    has had impromptu sex on an elevator with a stranger
     Style of Speech: assertive
     Commonly Used Words / Slang / Jargon: Educated, extensive vocabulary
     Lies / Misinformation: is not an ordainied priest, is not really married to his wife
     Other Important Details: says he is Italian and French, he is actually Mexican

  2. Connie, these details already make him a fascinating character!

    Dear John, Cheryl and anyone else doing NaNo – all the best, have fun!

    I’ll catch up with posting some of these exercises in the next few days.

  3. John,

    These character building posts have been absolutely wonderful. I have not taken time to do all this work, as I have suddenly got dumped on at work; hoever, U know where to look when I start working my characters.

    Thank you veyr much

  4. Pingback: 10 Days of Character Building: Wrap Up | Writer's Resource Center
  5. I’ve been writing for a long time now, and I used to find that the further I got into a story, I tended to forget details of my characters. So then, I end up going back and re-writing a lot so that the story flows correctly. Using your idea for character bio sheets really helped because now I can just go back and refer to each characters bio sheet. Thanks a million!

  6. Hi. Thanks for this very helpful site. I’m also working on my first novel. Just like all the aspirant novelists out there, you’ll never know where you’ll end up with your first book. Either in the bookstores’ shelves or in the trash cans. It’s could go either way, and it’s really up to the writers to increase the percentages of getting their first book published. Keep the invaluable information coming. Regards. JPB.

    Julius P. Bantigues last blog post..The Real Reason Why Filipinos Leave And Criticize The Philippine Upon Their Return (Part 2)

  7. What a great disciplined approach to character development! Just don’t let your notes get out on the internet or all the high school kids and college freshman who have to read your novel are going to get an easy “A” on their next report. But seriously, what is it that we remember about great novels? It’s the people and how we might relate or admire them.

  8. Brilliant, really helpful. Before I did the ten day character building my story was getting no where. Now, my character is expanding rapidly. THANK YOU :)

  9. Thanks you this is very helpful and I known that I am more of the art type but, I have a Novel ideal in my head anyways, and it extermly good! and you going to love it.

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