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How to Create a Character Profile [with Free Template]
Ask any great novelist and they’ll likely tell you that good writing starts with good characters. But sharp character development is also one of the toughest hills to climb, especially if you’ve struggled to 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 to turn to the age-old solution: a character profile. In this post, we take you through all the steps that creating a character profile requires — and give you a character template that you can use with any story you’re writing.
What is a character profile?
A character profile is a detailed biography of a fictional character that covers everything from a character’s age and appearance to their relationships. By answering the questions on a character profile , an author can better understand that character’s life, personality, motivations, and story function in a novel.
What’s the point of filling out a character template? I never end up using all the information in my story, anyway! That’s true. In fact, you shouldn’t try to pack every character detail into your novel. Only use what's relevant to the actual story — otherwise you risk turning off readers with the dreaded "info dump."
But the author always needs to understand their characters like the back of their hands. In Creating Unforgettable Characters: A Practical Guide to Character Development , Linda Seger compares the depth of a character to 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, and real — as though they could live outside of the book itself.
Those are the kinds of characters our character bible is here to 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 color, what color 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 to 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 like an apple, they’re going to have three layers of depth: the “skin,” the “flesh,” and the “core.” (Otherwise known as their physical appearance, backstory, and psychology.) That’s how this character template is structured — and if you have a particular area that you’d like to hone, you can skip to 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 to fill it out and personalize it yourself as you go along. Feel free to do so below!
Reedsy’s Character Profile Template
A story is only as strong as its characters. Fill this out to 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 to identify a criminal, detectives build a painstakingly thorough file of said criminal’s physical characteristics.
That’s the goal of this section, which covers the “skin” of your character: everything from their outer appearance to 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.
📖 THE BASICS
- Place of birth
- Current location
👀 PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
- hair style?
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 level of grooming?
- Smart, very put together
- Untidy but clean
Do they have any distinguishing “tics” and mannerisms?
What's their health like? Do they suffer from chronic illnesses? 🏥
Describe their handwriting (sloppy, neat, careful, unintelligible). ✍
How do they walk? 👣
- Confident, powerful strides
- Lazy stroll
- Fast, walks at a clip
- Distracted, eyes on the ground
💬 SPEECH AND COMMUNICATION
How do they talk (rapid, slow, measured, drawl, etc.)?
What's the style of their speech (elevated, educated, peppered with slang, etc.)?
Do they have an accent?
- Stiff, military
- Casual and relaxed
- ‘Turtle,’ tired
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 contact that they like to make (direct, shifty, etc.)?
What's their preferred curse word?
What's their catchphrase?
Any speech impediments?
What are any distinguishing speech “tics”?
What's their laugh like? What do they tend to find funny?
Describe their smile?
How emotive are they? Do they wear their emotions on their sleeve? How easily can others to read them?
They have a resting _____ face.
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Part 2: The Flesh
Characters don’t exist in a vacuum — they’re a product of their environment.
This section in the character template dives a bit deeper into your character and covers their “flesh”: the people, circumstances, and formative influences that filled them out and made them who they are today. It’s the springboard to 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 and clubs at school?
- Gay / Straight Alliance
At graduation, they were named Most Likely To ___________ in the yearbook. 🎓
Jobs (if applicable)? What would their résumé look like? 💼
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 to 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 to describe them as a child?
What advice would they give to their younger self?
List their criminal record. ⚖
How to Develop Characters
In 10 days, learn to develop complex characters readers will love.
- Age (if living)
- Briefly describe their relationship with your character
- What are their names and ages?
- Briefly describe their relationship(s) with your character
Children 👶(if applicable)
Extended family 👴
- Uncles and aunts
What's their family's economic status? 💰
How often do they see their family in a year?
💜 EXTERNAL RELATIONSHIPS
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?
- the opposite sex?
- extended family?
What social media platforms are they on?
- Other? If so, explain.
How would they use their social media platforms?
How would they fill out an online dating profile for themselves? ✨
What’s their role in a group dynamic? 💡
Who do they depend on for:
- practical advice?
- emotional support?
- moral support?
How quickly do they respond to emails? 📨
What do 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 to the “core”: who your character is deep down.
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 to your novel: the character’s story goal and story motivation .
What do they do on rainy days?
- Street-smart or book-smart
- An optimist or pessimist
- Introverted or Extroverted
What is their favorite sound? 🔊
Favorite place in the world? 🌎
What secrets do they keep? What are they most afraid of people finding out? 🔒
What do 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 to be remembered? What for? ⌚
How do they approach:
What is the one object or possession that they would rescue from their burning home? 🔥
What (or who) bores them? 💤
What makes them angry? 💢
What do they look for in a person?
How strong is their moral compass? When, specifically, are they willing to compromise their morals?
List the last 10 books they read. 📚
Which fictional world would they most wish to visit?
If they didn’t have to sleep, what would they do with the extra time?
What are their pet peeves? ⚠
If they won the lottery, what would they do?
Describe the character’s bucket list at the ages of 15, 20, 30, and 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, do they push the elevator button more than once? 🚪
What would they want their tombstone to say?
🔮 THE PRESENT AND FUTURE
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 do they want it? Every other answer in the character template builds up to this. This is critical information to know because it’ll make up the unshakable foundation — and raison d'être — for your story. Whenever you feel like your story is straying off course, go straight back to your character’s story goal and motivation.
And if you lose 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 file. Simply save it on to your computer and start typing in the text boxes to start developing your character.
Enter your email address to download the Character Template & Worksheet!
You'll get it in your email inbox right afterward.
If you’re in an interrogatory mood and want even more questions outside of this character template, we’ve got your back. Here are some more famous tests with which to quiz your character — and 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:
- What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
- What is the trait you most deplore in others?
- 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.
- Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
- Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
- 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 .)
- At a meal, your friends start belittling a common acquaintance. If you felt their criticisms were unjustified, would you defend the person?
- Are you able to separate sex from love?
- 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.
- Where do you see yourself in ten years? Twenty years?
- Tell me about yourself in 30 seconds.
- 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 to hone your characters even further, here are seven of the best character development exercises . Keep an open mind as you work through every question and you'll be on your way to creating well-drawn, interesting characters in no time 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!
Rachel Mendell says:
02/06/2018 – 12:23
excellent! so much info - thank you.
↪️ Reedsy replied:
07/06/2018 – 04:37
Our pleasure, Rachel. Glad that it helped!
07/06/2018 – 08:50
Wow! I tried to find such kind of list many times. Thank you so much! Creating character is always difficult for me. I imagine tutoriage character but it was not full. With this list Finally I will finish it.
22/01/2019 – 15:37
Nice I was gonna make one myself but this is great since normally I obsess to the point of procrastination.
Gwendolyn Clark says:
13/05/2019 – 00:09
I was never sent a copy to download
↪️ Martin Cavannagh replied:
13/05/2019 – 08:20
Hi Gwendolyn, could you drop us an email at [email protected] and we'll sort you out with a link :)
Sabrina Douglas says:
08/06/2019 – 16:40
I have not received the PDF yet.
10/06/2019 – 13:48
With Gmail, our emails often can be found in the Promotions folder. if it's not there, send us an email at [email protected] and we'll sort you out :)
Tactical Weasel says:
08/06/2019 – 23:18
I was never sent a copy to download either.
02/07/2019 – 01:47
This is a developed list of questions for sure. Thank you!
21/08/2019 – 08:01
Thanks! Great help in this articke. X peace, susanne
james bolin says:
22/08/2019 – 21:05
This my be a crazy question, but I am writing a science fiction book, and I already made character profiles for my ow use. But, that being said, would it make sense to also include a section in the book that includes all the main characters profiles. It would serve as a reference in case someone wants to know the characters hair color, birth date, and other details. any advice would help thanks
23/08/2019 – 09:04
It would be a somewhat unusual move — but it's not for me to say if it's wrong. Often, you see books provide family trees and brief histories of the 'world' of the story... but that tends to be so that readers can check up on facts that are highly relevant to relationships and plot of the book. In almost all cases, readers won't really need to know things like hair color or date of birth. So, I'd think hard before putting a character stat sheet in your book.
↪️ Nyla replied:
02/09/2019 – 16:12
I don't see why not! Some books did it (sort of); Wings of Fire, Tailchaser's Song, Warriors... I don't think including one would be a bad move. Definitely not something that would kill your story. Keep in mind that I'm a beginner when it comes to books, so I may not know any better. I'm just saying that in my opinion, I don't think it's a bad move.
Satyajay Mandal says:
25/08/2019 – 04:31
You can tweet me to get more updates on the story I'm directing
02/09/2019 – 16:13
What do you mean by "education"? Like what school they went to?
17/09/2019 – 09:02
Yup. Are they a college grad? What did they study? Did they leave school at 18 and take up an apprenticeship — that sort of thing.
27/09/2019 – 14:03
Will i ever get the document to download!
07/10/2019 – 15:48
Hi Sky, if you're still having trouble downloading the template, could you drop us a message at [email protected]? Thanks! Martin
20/10/2019 – 03:56
I will update you about all the details
Max Sangers says:
23/03/2020 – 20:16
I like it, just pls refrain from bad language :)
26/03/2020 – 04:49
No need to refrain from using bad language, if it is assigned to the villains instead of the heroes/heroines
26/03/2020 – 05:02
No need to refrain from using bad language if it is assigned to the villains instead of the heroes/heroines
28/03/2020 – 05:01
This is @*#$ing AWESOME!!!
Comments are currently closed.
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11 Tips to Spice up your Character Bios (FREE Character Bio Template)
Character bios may seem like busy work, but they’re crucial outline tools that bring light and life to your stories.
If everyone has a story to tell, then every character in those stories needs to be made up of stories of their own, so the tale comes across as real and engaging. The more detail you give your character, the more the audience can identify with them and the easier it'll be for your project to find its way to the big or small screen. To get your characters in shape, I recommend writing a character bio for them.
Today we'll go over character bios, mini character bios, and we'll even give you some tips and tricks to deepen your characters with our character bio worksheet. They're the same as character profiles, so if you came here looking for those, you're in the right place.
So let's dive in!
What is a Character Bio?
A character bio, or character profile, is a few sentences or pages that make up your character's story. They help embellish your character's traits and aid in character development and mapping out your character's arc . The bio should give the person reading it a way to personally connect with the character. It should not matter whether or not they are a protagonist or an antagonist ; the bio needs to provide information that makes that person more human. These bios don't have to occur on the screen. But they should be known by the writer, director, and actor to give depth and meaning behind every choice, and be available to provide backstory as needed in the script.
Mini Character Bios
A mini character bio is a one-sentence summary of who that character is, for example, "Bruce Wayne is a billionaire philanthropist who dresses like a Bat to avenge his parents' death at the handle of a criminal." Your mini character bio can help when you're pitching your characters . But if you're creating a bible or a treatment , you might want to write a longer character bio, so development executives know exactly what to expect from the characters in your screenplay.
How to Expand your Character Bio
Since screenwriting is an economical way to get ideas across, we often lose out on the art of expanding our character bios. But we have to be ready to give the long-form version of these biographies because they'll help inform the people playing our character and the casting search. They also are great in helping us define the hoops and hurdles people need to go through to arc. If we now why our characters are a certain way, we can help change them moving forward.
11 Tips for Your Character Bios
When you're expanding your character biographies, it can be hard to think about all the details you need to make a complete person. I've assembled 11 tips and tricks to help you add to your characters' stories. I'll provide examples for each, and we can go through them on the worksheet we provide to help you brainstorm.
1. Personal information
This one is pretty easy. What should we know about your character? Height, weight, hair, personal style - give us the police description of who we are looking at and why they stand out in the crowd. Try to avoid cliches, such as labeling the women hot or beautiful, and telling us how muscular the men are. Sure, if you need to describe a superhero, maybe they're jacked and hot, but go a step further. What else can we know about them?
For example, what do we know about Steve Rogers when we meet him? Sure he's puny, but how big is his heart? Consider digging deep when you get here.
2. Their family
As Dom Torretto can tell you, you're nothing without your family. So whether you're the Dad playing catch with his son in Field of Dreams, or the Joker's dad putting a smile on your face, or the mother from Oedipus , all the way to Stranger Things , let us know about the characters' family.
Superman can leap tall buildings in a single bound and is faster than a speeding bullet. Elle Woods knows how to accessorize. What is your character good at? A lot of the story is going to focus on people overcoming things, and the way to plan that out is to see what they're good at and make sure the obstacles butt up against that. So pick out what you think your characters are good at and make sure that shines.
What's your character's kryptonite? Elle Woods relies too much on what people think of her and doesn't think enough about what she can accomplish. These weaknesses will help guide your story structure . Keep your character bio fresh by talking about your character has problems with so that we have places for them to arc.
While this might get confused with weaknesses, it's a little more personal. Maybe your weakness is kryptonite, but a character flaw would be being willing to save everyone without taking time to save yourself. Think about Peter Parker - his flaw is that he values being a hero over being a kid, and that means sacrificing a lot of his relationships. This inability to show up for his friends is a huge character flaw. And if we include that in the character bio we will know how to craft our story, or even future movies or tv episodes, around this flaw.
6. What’s their backstory?
Everyone comes from somewhere. The backstory is important because we are the sum of our parts. Your characters are the same way. Tell us where they came from and when their strengths, weaknesses, flaws, and family come from. This should be an amalgamation of all the tips - and an explanation for who the character is today. Think about Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy. She's a fierce warrior with issues because Thanos raised her and took her from her fallen planet.
7. Why Do We Care?
Seriously. Why? Empathy is the strongest emotion. It's what connects us to your characters. Every character bio needs empathy. We need to know what these people are going through that makes them accessible to us. Michael Scott started as a character who we kind of hate, but then we realized he just wanted love. Michael was a guy afraid of dying alone, and who doesn't relate with that! Once we found empathy with Michael, he came into America's homes and became one of the most popular characters of all time. And this counts for villains too. We understood Killmonger's intentions, had empathy for his struggle, and it made Black Panther a deeper movie.
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot087niezBw
8. What do they want?
Wants and desires drive your character's intentions. They're arguably the most critical part of the character bio. The reason we watch your show or movie is to see characters reach for their goals . So knowing what drives them gives your story a ton of purpose. So what does your character want? It could be like Thanos, to rule the universe, or it could just be a small goal that drives a bigger story, like Mud's desire to get his boat running.
9. What’s in their way?
Obstacles, and how they attack them, are the definition of a character. So it's time to define who this person is and what stands in their way from being the fulfillment of their dreams. Indiana Jones wants to be the guy who found the ark, but he has to beat the Nazis to get there. Just like Chiron wants love but coming out and being a gay man is frowned upon in his community. So each character has to overcome what stands in front of them to fulfill who they are in their bio.
10. How do they arc?
We talk about character arcs here. It's the backbone of the story and should align with the story map . When it comes to the bio, we want to know where they start and where they're going. This matters especially in television because if you're staying with these characters for several seasons, we need to have illusions toward where they are going. Think about the Cheers dynamic with Sam and Diane, or even Blackish's Bo and Dre. Who are these people when we meet them? What puts a strain on their relationship and what can we do to bring them closer and tear them apart?
11. Do they have a secret?
The last character bio tip and trick that I love is to give your character a secret. What's something they don't share with the world, or something we could reveal, that deepens who they are in our eyes? You could use a character secret generator , but it's probably better to just get to know your characters. I love big reveals, like Snape's obsession with Harry's mom. But you can have little things too, like Jon Snow being a Targaryen. Wait, that's not so small, but maybe something small like an alter ego, or maybe they have a hidden fear or love. Let your character's secrets get them in trouble, add some emotion, and dictate the path of your story.
Character Bio Worksheet
What’s Next? Join our Free Drama Pilot Seminar!
Want to learn how to write a TV pilot? You've come to the right place.
Breaking into Hollywood with a writing career is one of the hardest things you can do. Fewer and fewer movies are being made every year, and now, many young writers are turning to television to find jobs. But to get a job in television, you need a sample. Samples are speculative pilot scripts that your agent or manager can hand to showrunners to prove your worth.
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How to Write a Character Bio (With Examples!)
If you’re starting a new roleplay (RP) or Tabletop Roleplaying Game (TTRPG), then one of the things you will be expected to provide is a character biography. If you aren’t familiar with writing character bios, then you might be a little stumped on what exactly needs to be included, and what is better left out.
Although there is no perfect, established way of writing a biography for a character, there are a couple of things you could do to make it more effective and useful to your fellow roleplayers and TTRPG players. But first, you should make sure you understand exactly what a character bio entails before writing your own.
This article is specifically about creating character bios for roleplays, tabletop games, and other collaborative writing settings. If you’re looking for how to create a character for a story, try checking out How to Make Characters Interesting, Complex, and Unique instead.
What is a Character Bio?
A character bio, also known as a character profile or character biography, is a brief overview of your character that you can provide to others prior to the start of a game or roleplay. It gives them an introduction to your character before the narrative actually begins, which makes it easier to create plots and interact between characters.
Generally, a character bio includes basic information about the character, such as their name, appearance, and behavior, but it can also include topics such as backstory and motivations. Bios can look different depending on what they are being used for, the genre of the story, and the other players’ preferences.
Why is a Character Bio Important?
Character bios make it much easier for other players or RP partners to get to know your character. By providing information on your character up front, you can allow others to get to know them, build relationships between characters, and come up with ideas for the story based around your character’s information.
In addition to that, having a good character bio can be helpful to reference later, especially if they are part of a long campaign. Bios help keep your characters consistent and true to their original design. Even the best writers forget things about their characters over time, so it’s a good idea to write everything down anyway. When I take notes on my characters, I usually keep the character’s bio at the top of the page and simply add to it as events unfold in the story.
How Long Should a Character Bio Be?
One of the most important things to keep in mind when writing a character bio is that it should be short . You need to keep it clear, concise, and brief. You aren’t trying to give away your character’s life story, after all. You just want to break the ice and introduce them to the other players and characters. After all, if you gave away all their secrets at the beginning, there wouldn’t be any mysteries to uncover over the course of the story.
As a general rule, you should try to keep your character bios shorter than a page (which is typically about 300-500 words). If you make it much shorter than that, you likely wouldn’t be doing your character justice. If you wrote much more than that, however, most people probably wouldn’t get around to reading the whole thing. Character bios aren’t exactly known for being riveting literature.
What to Include in a Character Bio
When you’re writing your character’s bio, you don’t need to create an entire novel about their life and exploits. You only need to include the details that are important for others to know from the beginning. Some things aren’t even important enough to share at all.
Although some people have preferences about the ways they want character bios to be formatted, this is the generally accepted formula for writing a good character bio.
The Most Basic Character Elements
The first thing you should establish in your character’s bio is the most basic elements of who they are. That includes things like their:
- Species (if applicable)
You don’t need to get fancy here. This is the easy part—just give the basic information and move on to the next section.
The Character’s Physical Description
Next, you’ll want to give a basic description of what the character looks like. For this section, you’ll want to consider their:
- Physical details
- Clothing style
You can cover this information in bullet points, but I find that it is much more effective to write this part in paragraph format. That makes the bio feel more like an introduction to the character, and less like some kind of legal document.
If you need some pointers for designing your character, check out Tricks for Describing a Character’s Appearance (With Examples) .
Remember to keep this part brief. Physical appearance is only one small part of a character, and you don’t want to waste too much time and energy describing what they look like—especially since you don’t want their bio to be too long.
The Character’s Personality
Obviously, most of the character’s personality should come out as you are playing them, but it’s still a good idea to give your RP partners or TTRPG players an indication of their personality before the game or RP begins.
As with the other sections, this part should be kept brief. You just want to cover the most important aspects of their personality. You know, the traits and behaviors that define who they are. That could be anything from “grumpy” or “hot-headed” to “innocent” or “creepy.” Just give a few adjectives to describe them, and describe some of their dominant behaviors. This section shouldn’t be any longer than a few sentences.
The Character’s Backstory
This section is the tricky part. You want to explain enough of your character’s backstory to explain how they got where they are in the present day, but you don’t want to give away too much and make your character a completely open book. Not only that, you want to make sure the information you are providing is meaningful to the story, and not just useless facts.
When summarizing the character’s backstory for their bio, you should cut out everything except for the bare bones. The details aren’t important now (and you can reveal more over the course of the story anyway). Instead, draw attention to a few milestones in the character’s life, whether that relates to family, education, tragedy, or something else.
What happened in their past to turn them into the person they are at the beginning of the story? Focus on those points, and leave out all the rest.
If your character doesn’t have much of a backstory yet, you might want to check out this article before moving on: How to Create Compelling Character Backstories .
What Motivates the Character
When you’re creating a bio for a character, you’ll want to consider their motivations and goals. A character without a direction is boring, so make sure you have some idea of what your character wants before the story begins. Do they want to start their own business? Hunt ghosts for a living? Avenge their dead brother? What is going to motivate your character to actually do something ?
This part of the bio is often labeled as “present day,” or it’s lumped in with the backstory section. Regardless of how you choose to format it, the point is worth drawing attention to by itself. This part is particularly important for RPs and TTRPGs because it gives partners and fellow players the context they need to understand how this character operates.
The Character’s Quirks and Flaws
I cannot stress this enough: every character needs to have flaws.
All characters need flaws. No one is perfect, so none of your characters should be either. Even if your character is perfect in one regard, they need to be flawed in some other way. The best sharpshooter in the world might be afraid of snakes. The world’s most mesmerizing dancer might have self-confidence issues.
Quirks are also important! They operate a lot like flaws, though they don’t interfere with the character’s ability to live their life normally. Having a weird sense of humor or a tendency to fidget isn’t necessarily flawed behavior, but it is worth mentioning in this section as well.
Flaws and quirks are indispensable when it comes to creating interesting characters. They create conflict, and make characters more realistic and sympathetic. Without those details, your characters just won’t resonate with other players. Or worse—you’ll get accused of creating a Mary Sue .
If you want more information on creating flaws for characters (and why they’re so important for stories), check out How to Create Complex Flaws for Characters .
Miscellaneous Traits and Abilities
Finally, you’ll probably want to include a miscellaneous category at the end of the bio. Depending on your personal preference and the genre of story you’re creating, this part could also go closer to the top. You could also use a different term, or include this category as part of the character’s basic info.
This is the section in which you include anything important that wasn’t covered in the other sections. This could include things such as the character’s:
- Magical Abilities
- Special Skills
- Languages known
Basically, this section is meant to cover anything else that your RP partners or TTRPG players need to know about your character.
What NOT to include in a Character Bio
That “miscellaneous” category probably has you scratching your head. If that’s supposed to cover the other important parts of your character, how do you know where to stop?
There are many things that you should never include in a character bio, but there are two distinct reasons why things should be left out: either the point is boring and doesn’t matter, or it is much more fun to reveal that particular piece of information over the course of the story instead.
Here are some things that should be left out of character bios because they are uninteresting :
- Their Zodiac sign
- Every single detail of their appearance or personality
- Their entire life story
- Their birthday
- Their entire family tree
- Their favorite food/color/etc
Here are the things that should be left out because they would make good plot points later :
- Their secrets
- Their relationships with other characters
- Their strengths and weaknesses
- Their past trauma or struggles
Character Bio Examples
Character bios don’t have to show off your best writing skills. The point isn’t to impress the pants off the other players, and it’s definitely not to prove you’re a better writer than anyone else. You aren’t showing off, you’re just providing a resource on your character that is necessary for the game or RP.
With that said, here are some examples of character bios to give you a better idea of how to apply all this information.
Sample Character Bio 1
Name: Rory Bannon
Species: Human (Superhero)
Superpower: He can float.
Power Drawbacks: He’s not very good at controlling his ability, and it is dependent on his mood. Sometimes, he will begin to float when he gets excited.
Appearance: Rory is tall and lanky, and his limbs almost look too long for his body. He has brown hair with a stripe of orange in the front. He has a goofy smile, and he holds a lot of childish optimism in his sunny green eyes. He always wears a suit no matter where he goes, believing that dressing for success is the first step to achieving it.
Personality: He’s chipper and optimistic, and all his friends agree that he’s a bit of a hopeless romantic. He’s a dreamer, and his head is often stuck in the clouds.
Backstory: Rory is an only child from a loving home. He decided to attend a school for young heroes to learn how to control his powers, with the full support of his doting parents.
Goals: He wants to learn how to control his powers and use them to help others.
Quirks: He’s gotten pretty good at floating up—just not at coming back down again.
Sample Character Bio 2
Name: Alice Howard
Nicknames: Red, Little Red, Pumpkin (by her father)
Appearance: Alice is the preppy, pretty girl at school, with a figure that makes boys drool. Her long hair is a gorgeous shade of reddish-brown, and delicate freckles dot her petite, pale features. She is careful to keep her makeup perfect, and she is always pushing the limits of what her school’s dress code allows.
Personality: Despite her looks, Alice is remarkably insecure. She thrives off compliments and bases her entire self-worth on what others think of her. One bad pimple is enough to get her to skip school, and she takes even the smallest insults to heart. Despite how she feels about beauty and her own self-image, she always tries to be uplifting and encouraging to other girls, and would never say anything nasty about the way someone looks.
Backstory: Alice lives with her grandparents since both of her parents are deployed Marines. Her grandparents are getting quite old, and they often require her help more often than she needs them. She does her best to be responsible, but she often regrets that she can’t get out as much as other girls her age.
Goals: Alice has a history of bad relationships. All she wants is a good boyfriend and real friends.
Quirks: She has a tendency to be clingy and physically affectionate with her friends.
Misc: Alice’s one true love is food, specifically greasy, tex-mex food.
Sample Character Bio 3
Name: Samson Anders
Species: Half-human, half-demon
Hair: Long, Brown
Eye Color: Hazel
Skin Color: Medium-light
Physical Details: He has a large scar over the left side of his neck and collarbone, and multiple smaller scars all over.
Personality: Harsh, cold, and unapproachable. He has a softer side for those he cares about.
Past: He isn’t one to talk about his past. Most of his friends know that he had a rough childhood, but no one knows the details.
Present: He is living with a friend in a one-bedroom apartment, and the duo are professional ghost hunters.
Goals: Secretly, he hopes to learn more about his demonic side.
Quirks/Flaws: He tends to grow out his facial hair when he is feeling down, simply because he can’t be bothered to shave.
Friend's Email Address
Your Email Address
Data journalist and (soon-to-be) author
How to write a character biography.
Think of your character biographies as entries in a dictionary. Credit Liz West , reused under Creative Commons
In one of my previous posts I talked about how I use character biographies for my book. I skimmed over the details what a character biography is, how to put one together and why they are so useful. Let’s backtrack a bit and discuss this.
What is a character biography?
A character biography is the sum total of everything you can think of about one of your characters. It all goes in a separate document to which you can refer when this person is involved in your story. If your character is a language, the biography is your dictionary.
Who deserves a character biography?
Your characters will likely interact with many different people over the course of your story. You don’t need to write a profile for every single person, but a general rule is: if you find yourself describing a character in any serious detail, then he or she probably deserves one.
Why have character biographies?
The same reason you have a dictionary: for reference! Dictionaries stand unused most of the time, but they are always there for when you reach for (or click to) them.
You will always have information about someone that is not directly relevant at that point in the story, but certainly will be elsewhere. Perhaps it’s a relationship with another character that’s yet to be introduced, or part of their backstory yet to be revealed. Trying to keep all this information in your head is a bad idea. If you don’t note it down, it gets lost or confused.
The other main reason for writing a biography is that sketching out a character’s entire profile from their beginning to their ‘present’ (i.e. the beginning of the events of your story) will give you the fullest possible understanding of them.
How to write a character biography
Now that we’ve established that profiles are a good idea, how do you go about putting one together?
- Get into the right mindset beforehand
No information is too trivial. Put anything down that you think of. Remember that this is a work in progress. It doesn’t stop: whenever you think of new, relevant information, jot it down.
- Start with the essential details
As I mentioned above, these will be traits like hair colour, birthdays, height, weight, typical dress. Get these down first.
- Move on to their back story
How did your character get to where they are when they are first introduced in your story? Describe their ‘journey’ to the events of your novel. Start with their childhood, assuming they are an adult. Someone’s childhood will be pivotal to shaping who they are. Did they grow up rich, poor or somewhere in the middle? How many were their family, and how complete was it? Who did they get on with, and who did they not? What events shaped their childhood? These events can be ‘macro’ such as war, revolution or natural disasters, or ‘micro’ such as family tragedy, divorce of moving to a foreign country.
A screenshot of part of the biography of Melissa Thomas
Here is a screenshot from Melissa’s character biography, one of the characters in my upcoming book. You can see from this what she looks like and a bit about her upbringing in Seattle. The events of the book don’t take place in Seattle though…
- Describe their fears and desires
What keeps them awake at night? What do they want out of life; at the moment and in the future? What do they dream of?
- Describe their relationships with other characters
This is one of the most important functions of your biographies. These relationships will likely be complicated, fluctuating and tense, with much history behind some of them. Use this section to chronicle them.
Understand that there will be a fair amount of repetition as you write each biography and how they relate to each other. This is no problem because it reinforces your understanding of your characters. Besides, no two people will have precisely the same feelings about each other. How Miranda thinks about Terry will not be the same as how Terry thinks about Miranda.
Anything else that doesn’t quite fit goes in here. Do they prefer cats or dogs? Tea or coffee? Their birthmark on their right knee, the fact he bites his nails, favourite colour, the car they drive, what their favourite toy was as a child – that all belongs in the miscellaneous section.
Hopefully this piece shed some light on how to go about writing character biographies. Adopt an ‘anything-goes’ mentality to writing one, structure it along these lines and you’ll have a valuable resource.
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How to Create a Detailed Character Profile
Last Updated: October 21, 2022 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Lucy V. Hay . Lucy V. Hay is an author, script editor and blogger who helps other writers through writing workshops, courses, and her blog Bang2Write. Lucy is the producer of two British thrillers and her debut crime novel, The Other Twin, is currently being adapted for the screen by [email protected] TV, makers of the Emmy-nominated Agatha Raisin. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 84% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 251,954 times.
Envisioning the Character’s Appearance
- You might introduce a character as “tired and looking much older than he really is.” This is a great starting point because it gives you plenty to dive into for the character’s background. Think about why they look older than they really are and what struggles have they faced that wore them down.
- Then use this basic information to get more specific. If you decided on a job for the character, think about their income. What social class does this put them in?
- You don’t have to fill in every single aspect of the character’s life. This is more of an exercise to get your creativity working and put you inside the mind of the character you’re planning.
- Start with very basic information like hair and eye color and clothes the character normally wears. Does the character have a beard or not? Is their hair color natural or dyed?
- Then get more detailed about the appearance. Decide if the character usually well-groomed or slightly unkempt. Think about what a well-groomed person could be hiding, or what a messy person might be struggling with.
- Also determine if the character has any distinguishing marks or features. A scar on someone’s face, for example, can tell a whole story about a character and how they received that injury.
- Think about how your character walks into a room. Decide if they are the type of person who would walk in confidently and introduce themselves to everyone there, or sneak in so no one sees and stay out of sight.
- Envision the character's speech pattern. Do they have an accent? Do they use a lot of big words to try and sound smart? Do they have a stutter?
- Plan out if the character has any other ticks or habits. Perhaps they tend to blink a lot if they lie. This could be a plot point in the story later on.
- Unless there is symbolic meaning for the character’s name, don’t stress too much about coming up with a great name. Focus more on description so your readers connect with the character.
- If you don’t care much about the character’s name, there are random name generator tools online that will help.
- One thing that is very important is keeping different character names distinct from each other. For example, having a John, Jack, and Joe will get confusing for readers. John, Armando, and Scott are much more distinctive names.
- Think about any nicknames the character has as well, and in what situations characters use different names. For example, if everyone calls a character Joe but during an argument his wife calls him Joseph, that could automatically tell the audience that she’s angry with him.
Developing the Character’s Background
- Establish how long the character lived in their hometown and if they lived there long enough to have the local accent.
- Think about why the character left their hometown. Did they just move for work, or did they not get along with their family? Does the character miss their hometown, or were they happy to leave?
- Develop as many details as you can about the character’s childhood. Try to come up with their best friend, school, favorite teacher, hobbies, career goals, and favorite foods.
- Outline any trauma the character suffered as a child. Perhaps this why they left their hometown, or why they have trouble forming friendships later on.
- Maybe the character was spoiled as a child and never had to struggle. This is also important for their personality.
- Start simple with the character’s personal relationships. List their parents, siblings, and other close family members. Decide if the character is married or single.
- Then think more deeply about what these personal relationships mean. Choose who the character would talk to if they needed help, or who they would ask for money if they were struggling.
- Does this character make a lot of friends easily, or do they just have a lot of acquaintances? If the latter, explain why they have trouble connecting with people.
- Ask a broad question like, “Is this character happy?” If they are, consider if something in the story will ruin their happiness. Or if they start off unhappy, decide what happened in their past that prevents them from feeling happy.
- Then work more into how your character reacts to the world and what makes them angry and sad.
- Would your character consider themselves accomplished, or would they say they are a failure?
Defining the Character’s Role in the Story
- Think about if the character will experience a life-changing event but doesn’t change. For example, experiencing the death of one’s spouse would be a life-changing event for most people, but if your character is unaffected by this, explain why that is.
- Keep in mind that not all main characters are protagonists. You could flip the perspective by making your main character the antagonist who causes everyone else’s struggles in the story.
- If the change is only a few months, then new profiles aren’t necessary unless a character changes completely in that time.
- Take the character’s relative age into account to decide if they need a new character profile. For example, if the character was 10 in one chapter but 15 in another, that’s a big jump. However, if someone goes from 30 to 35, that’s not as big of a jump because a 30-year-old has already established their personality.
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- If you have trouble getting started, there are many templates online with suggested questions for your character biography. You don’t have to fill out every question for the character. The questions just get your brain moving so you can plan your character. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
- The character profile is not set in stone. If you end up not liking the profile you made initially, change it. Just remember to keep your character consistent throughout the final story. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
You Might Also Like
- ↑ Lucy V. Hay. Professional Writer. Expert Interview. 16 July 2019.
- ↑ https://jerichowriters.com/how-to-introduce-characters/
- ↑ https://www.writerswrite.com/characters/character-profile/
- ↑ https://www.dailywritingtips.com/how-to-create-a-character-profile/
- ↑ https://www.novel-writing-help.com/create-character-profiles.html
About This Article
To create a detailed character profile, start by coming up with a name that suits their culture or nationality. Then, think of their birth date and where they were born. From there you can work to describe their background. For example, you can decide what country they come from, what past traumas they have experienced, and what motivates them. After that, choose a body and style that matches their personality. You can then work to fit them into the context of the other characters in the story. For instance, if they’re introverted and shy, you can play them off of a character who is loud and outgoing in the story. For tips about how to develop a family background for a character profile, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Character Bio Template: 200+ Character Development Questions
BY Angelica Hartgers | Mar 08, 2020 | Learning , Fiction , Writing
Think of a character bio template as a shortcut for developing realistic characters. It's the key to creating believable protagonists and antagonists that come alive through your writing.
Character templates include guiding questions to help you shape your main characters as you write.
By answering significant questions about your character's development, not only will you be able to understand a character inside and out, but you’ll also be able to show your readers the depth of your character.
Creating life-like characters goes beyond just plopping your character into the storyline, giving them a name, and describing a few traits.
This guide to creating a character bio template includes:
What is a character bio, why is character development important.
- Why should you use a character development template?
- What should a character template include?
- How to use this character bio template
- Tips for using this character bio template in your writing
- Character template basics
- Physical descriptors of character
- Character health bio
- Character preferences
- Family life of character bio
- Character relationships
Character template life stages
- Character perspectives
Character's story development
The character template.
Get The Free Character Sheet!
And it’s not just for fiction – but for non-fiction , too. Are you writing a memoir? A biography? A self-help book using “case studies” or examples of people in particular situations? Experimenting with creative writing prompts ?
You’ll want to fill out a character bio template for your main character if you’re writing one of these non-fiction books as well!
Even if your character is modelled after a real person, that’s not enough to make him or her come alive for the reader. As an aspiring author , the first rule of thumb is to fully develop your character. You need to create an individual with a story of their own that readers want to engage and connect with as they read your book.
Click here to jump to the Character Template!
Your character’s development should not be an after-thought – after all, you’re telling a story, and the story likely centers around the characters.
Invest the time to answer these questions, and you’ll see just how real your character will become.
A character bio is a document or template that outlines the biography of a character in a story. Commonly used in the form of a character template, which includes in-depth questions that highlight the character's traits, descriptions, and journey, the character bio is used as a resource for the writer's reference.
It helps the writer keep track of the character's personal traits, background, and arc , which in turn helps the reader understand the character's dynamics through the story. By creating a character with a past, present, and future, storytellers are able to paint a vivid picture of the character's behavior and actions as displayed in the story.
The main goal of using a character bio is to increase the realistic attributes of the character, to ultimately make them more believable and relatable for the reader.
Character templates are used mainly by fiction writers and authors, screenwriters, and other storytellers. Character bios should be created for all main characters in the story, for both protagonists and antagonists, to improve the overall character development.
Character development is important because the more developed a character is, the more realistic the character is – and readers want to invest in characters that are believable.
Have you ever been so connected to a book or story that you were devastated when you finished reading it? You were sad to say goodbye to the characters. You wished you could open up the portal to that world forever.
If you’ve experienced that, then you were emotionally invested in the characters and their lives. You connected with them – you felt like you truly knew them. And that’s because the writer did such a phenomenal job developing the character , that they seemed real to you as the reader.
That’s exactly what you want to do with your own writing. You want to write characters that are so fully developed, the reader will become invested in their lives.
And the secret to fully developing characters lies in being able to answer detailed questions about your character, which is how this character bio template will help you.
Top character development tips to use when writing:
- Start with a mind map or outline of your character's journey in the story
- Brainstorm the character's main characteristics as needed for the story's plot
- Practice writing about your character to get a solid idea of who the character is
- Give your character a main goal, purpose, motivation, and flaw
- Fill out the character bio template to fill in any gaps and get clear on their history and small details
- Interview your character to build their perspective
- Complete writing exercises in your character's perspective to fully develop the character's mindset
- Begin writing your story with your fully developed character in mind
Why should you use a character template?
Using a character bio template will help you create realistic characters that your readers will believe in, and connect with.
You should develop a character bio to create believable characters for two reasons.
First, by answering character development questions, you’ll know the character like the back of your hand, which helps you tell your story better.
Second, the character template will help you create an actual individual by painting a comprehensive, detailed picture of who they are – from what they look like to their personality quirks to their biggest mistakes in life.
Reasons to use a character bio template:
- To help you tell your story better
- To prevent inconsistencies in details
- To create a life-like character, full of personality with a comprehensive living history
- To use as a reference when incorporating details about your character
- To improve your character's development
- To help readers connect and relate to your character
- To immerse your reader in your story
What should a character profile include?
A character profile, or character template, should include all of the relevant details that the writer needs to incorporate into the story, to fully develop the character. Some writers use a basic character bio, with only relevant details that show the character's arc within the story, while other writers use an advanced, comprehensive character bio with specific details about the character's life, personality, aspirations, and internal and external features. The type of character profile you include will depend on several factors, such as the type of work you are creating (ex: novel , short story, film), and the type of writer you are (ex: do you need a comprehensive profile, or just a one-page summary?). However, at the minimum, you should include the specific details about your character that highlight his or her role in the story, and how they develop within your story.
What to include in your character profile:
- Character basics such as name, age,
- Physical description of character's appearance
- The personality traits of the character
- Overview of the character's health
- Career and education details
- Preferences of the character
- Description of the character's family life
- Overview of the character's main relationships
- Important life stages and milestones
- Character perspectives, outlook, and opinions
- Character's role in the story's development
How to use this character bio template
This particular character template is comprehensive, and designed to be used as an in-depth resource with more advanced character development questions. Novel writer and short story writers will benefit from this template to create a full character bio.
Fill this template out fully for each of your main characters ( protagonist and antagonist), and use the sheet as a reference for your writing.
It’s best to complete the character template sheet once you have your story’s outline, but before you actually start writing your rough draft. If you’ve already started writing your rough draft, that’s okay – you can still use this template and it will be helpful as you edit and complete your draft.
steps to use a character bio template to improve your character's development:
- Start with a good idea of your character's creation , like who they are and what their purpose is in your story
- Know your character's main goal , purpose, motivation, and flaw
- Begin filling out the basic section in your character bio template
- Get clear on the physical descriptors of your character
- Fill out health section of the character bio
- Next, build out your character's career details
- Think about what your character prefers
- Dig into the family history in the character's bio
- Then, move on to the relationships section of the template
- Narrow down your character's main life stages
- Develop the character's perspectives and views of the world
- Next, build the character's story development
- Review the full character bio template to make sure every detail connects, and that there are not any inconsistencies
- Practice writing in your character's perspective to get a natural feel for the way your character thinks and acts
- Practice writing about your character in different perspectives (as a narrator, as a friend/lover/enemy of the character)
- Repeat steps #1-16 for any major characters in your story (good or bad ones!)
- Reference your completed character bio template as you begin writing your story
Follow the steps above to develop a realistic character that readers will be invested in.
Don’t just share this character template directly with your reader – it is meant to be a complete guide for you as you write about who your character is, and how he or she affects the story.
This character template serves as a skeleton for developing a realistic character, so you should be able to answer each question. You need to be able to answer everything about your character, but your reader only needs to know the details that help tell the story.
These character development questions are comprehensive, so this doesn’t mean you need to tell your reader everything about your character. Only give your reader what they need to know about your character as it pertains to your story.
If you’re writing a genre or story that requires more questions, feel free to add more as you see fit! For example, if you’re writing a sci-fi novel, maybe you need to answer more questions about your character’s species, or the special powers that they possess.
As you write, you’ll want to have a copy of your completed character bio template nearby so it can be retrieved easily and referenced. This will help you tell your story more accurately, by avoiding little mistakes or inconsistencies in your plot and story setting .
For example, let’s say you start the story with describing your character as a vegetarian, but later on have your character order a hamburger at a restaurant. This is a detail that many engaged readers will notice!
Tips for using this character bio template in your writing:
- Complete the character bio after your outline is completed. Start filling out the character bio sheet after you complete your book's outline , but before you start fully writing your chapters. This will ensure you have a solid idea of what details make sense based on your story's main events, but still gives you the opportunity to incorporate the small details into your actual story.
- Use the character template as a reference guide when writing. Don't just fill out the template and share it with your readers. This exercise is meant for you, as the author, so that you can fully develop all the intricacies of your character, and incorporate relevant details to shape who your character is, and their purpose in the story.
- Don't skip any questions that can be answered. Answer as many questions about your character as possible. Obviously, if a question does not apply to your character (like if they are a child and do not have any past relationships), skip it. But don't avoid questions simply because you don't want to think. Cutting corners in this way will reflect in your character's development.
- Only give your reader what they need to know when you're writing. Just because you answer every question in the character development sheet, doesn't mean that your reader needs to know all of those details. Only give what's necessary, and what will help your reader understand your character better.
- Add more questions as needed. This template is meant to be a starting point for you. If you need to add more questions, do so, especially if you're writing a genre like Sci-Fi where your characters are non-human.
- Think about the small details. Once you start writing, the character bio template will bring value to your dialogue , scene setting, and plot. Don't be afraid to focus on the small details.
Character template basics
Begin by answering these basic questions about your character. These character development questions are the surface-level facts that you can use to start building your character.
These are the essential facts to fill out for your character, such as name, birthday, race, gender, etc. This section should be particularly quick for you to fill out since you most likely know all of these details for your character already. These questions help show your character's development on a surface-level.
These are the basic questions for your character template:
- Name significance/meaning:
- Zodiac Sign:
Physical Descriptors of Character
Now, you can start building out your character’s physical appearance. These are external questions that will paint a physical description, so your reader can envision what your character looks like.
The physical attributions for your character template are important because they will also help you write vivid descriptions and apply physical attributes to your character’s actions in your book.
These are the physical appearance questions for the character template:
- Physical Appearance:
- Natural Hair Color:
- Dominant Hand:
- Age Character Appears to Others:
- Dyed Hair Color:
- Usual Hairstyle:
- Makeup Style:
- Clothing Style:
- Clothing Size:
- Shoe Style:
- Nail Appearance:
- Painted/Natural/Manicured/Rugged/FakeEyebrow Shape:
- Face Shape:
- Facial Hair:
- Voice: What does it sound like?
- Distinguishing Feature: What people notice right away
Now it’s time to start scratching beneath the surface to better understand the type of personality the character has. These character development questions focus on describing the personality traits within the character’s demeanor as they are in the present time of the story.
For example, most people that are naturally introverts will always be introverts. But, maybe your introverted character has only recently developed a habit of talking to people on the subway as they commute to work every day.
These are the personality questions for the character's development:
- Extrovert or Introvert:
- Personality Traits:
- MBTI Personality:
- Optimist or Pessimist:
- Temperament: Are they generally hot-headed, or cool as a cucumber?
- Mood: What mood are they often in?
- Attitude: What everyday attitude does your character have?
- Morning Person or Night Owl:
- Pet Peeves:
- Favorite Sin: Which of the 7 deadly sins does the character do often?
- Favorite Virtue: Which virtue does the character possess most?
- Ruled by Heart or Mind:
- Motivated by:
- Everyday Speech: Words or phrases the character often says
- Life Motto:
Character health bio
This section is all about your character’s health. It covers everything from mental and physical health, to major surgeries, to allergies.
If certain questions don’t pertain to your character, feel free to skip them. Or, if anything needs to be added, do so. Make this section as relevant to your character as it needs to be.
These are the health questions for the character template:
- Energy Level: Is your character more active, or sluggish generally?
- Memory Level: Does your character often forget people’s names, or do they have a photographic memory?
- Disabilities: Is your character impaired in any way?
- Phobias: What is your character very scared of?
- Addictions: Does your character have a smoking addiction, or maybe an addiction to social media?
- General aptitude: Are they fast learners? Do they have poor problem solving skills?
- Mental Strengths: Is your character mentally tough ?
- Mental Weakness: In what aspects is your character mentally weak ?
- Physical Strengths:
- Physical Weakness:
- Past Illnesses: Major
- Stability: Is your character emotionally stable?
Now it’s time to cover what your character does for a living – or how they spend the majority of their time. Is your character making a living doing a job they hate, but attending night school to get their dream job?
A person’s choice of career, or their type of dream job, says a lot about that person’s qualities and interests, or lack thereof.
These are the career questions for the character template:
- Career Type:
- Work Ethic:
- Job History:
- Political Party/Organizations:
- Volunteer Work:
- What job would s/he do poorly at:
- Career satisfaction:
Everyone has their likes and dislikes, from books to activities to the time of day. By answering all of these questions about your character, you’ll be able to build up a person that’s realistic and believable.
These are the personal preferences questions for your character's bio:
- Favorite Foods:
- Favorite Drinks:
- Favorite Movie:
- Favorite Music:
- Favorite Book:
- Favorite Place:
- Favorite activities:
- Favorite time of day:
- What makes them happy?
- What makes them sad?
- Favorite animal:
- Loves to do:
- Hates to do:
- Inspired by:
Family life of character
Let’s face it – family, or a lack thereof, shapes a person. The same is true about your character.
This section is all about your character’s family life, from their parents to extended family, and even pets.
By knowing the family your character came from, you’ll also learn a lot about your character and why they are the way they are.
These are the family life questions for the character bio:
- Parent Status:
- Mother’s Name:
- Mother’s Age:
- Mother’s Background:
- Father’s Name:
- Father’s Age:
- Father’s Background:
- Relationship with Mother:
- Relationship with Father:
- Parenting Type:
- Only Child? First Born, Middle Child, or Youngest?
- # of Siblings:
- Relationship with Siblings:
- Do they have kids of their own, or do they want them in the future?
- Extended Family: Insert any details about aunts/uncles, grandparents, or cousins here.
- Family Relations: Are they generally close-knit or distant? How has family life shaped the character? Do they have any sibling rivalries, or are they best friends with a particular sibling?
- What they like most about their family:
- What they dislike most about their family:
Character bio relationships
In this section, you’ll be answering all the questions that have to do with your character’s relationships – from friends to lovers to enemies.
Think about all of the influential relationships your character has been involved with. Each person, and each relationship, is different, so keep that in mind as you fill out this section.
Each of us become involved with people that teach us lessons, whether these individuals stay in our lives long or not. The same is true for a well-developed character!
These are the relationship questions for the character bio template:
- Best Friend(s):
- Worst Enemy:
- Many acquaintances or few close friends?
- Sexual Preference:
- Relationship Status:
- Marital Status:
- First Love:
- Current Love or Aspiring Love:
- Notable Ex-Lovers: Are there any exes that influenced the character, either positively or negatively?
- Top 3 Loved Ones: Who does your character love best in terms of their friends and relations?
- Top 3 Disliked Ones: Who does your character dislike in terms of enemies and acquaintances?
- Who knows the character best?
- Who is closest to your character?
It’s time to cover your character’s life stages. If your character is an adult in your story, then you’ll want to fill out quick details on each question in this section. If your character hasn’t reached a certain stage yet, just skip that part.
For each life stage, you can write a few sentences to describe the overall time period for the character. Don’t feel the need to list out every single thing that happened to your character in a certain life stage – unless you want to.
These are the life stage questions for the development of your character:
- Childhood: What was their childhood generally like?
- Did anything significant happen?
- Adolescence: What were their teenage years like? Did anything significant happen?
- Young Adult: What were they like as a young adult? Did anything significant happen?
- Coming of Age: When did they really grow up and come into themselves?
- Moments/Experiences that shaped them: List any important experiences here.
- How have they changed as a person throughout their life: Were they raised as a spoiled only child, but later became a Buddhist monk?
- Major regrets: List any major regrets the character has from their life.
- Biggest life lessons learned: Did they learn not to take life for granted when their best friend died?
Next, we’ll go through the questions that will help show us how your character thinks about the world and perceives things.
This is important because it helps shape your character’s mindset, especially if you are narrating the character’s inner thoughts, and dialogue.
Filling out this section will also help you as you practice writing in your character's point-of-view, and will give you a sense of your character's thought process, and how their mindset affects their actions.
These are the perspective questions for the character bio:
- Religious Beliefs:
- Core Values:
- Morals: What does s/he believe is evil? What does s/he believe is good?
- Risks Worth Taking: What would your character risk their life for?
Now it’s time to answer all of the questions that have more to do with your character’s thoughts, actions, and role within your storyline.
You need to know what’s driving your character in the story, and what’s getting in their way. Answer each one of these questions as it relates to your story.
For example, when describing the character’s main goal, don’t answer it in terms of their entire life’s main goal – think of the main goal in terms of your story. Maybe your character’s main goal is to live without regrets. But how does that relate to your story? You need to make it more specific to your plot. Maybe your character’s main goal within the context of your story is to help hide persecuted children, even if it means death and dishonor.
These are the story development questions for your character's development:
- Important milestones: What important things will happen to the character in your story?
- Achievements: What will they achieve?
- Failures: What will they fail at?
- Lifestyle: Describe your character’s lifestyle as it pertains to your story’s time period or setting.
- Character Traits: List out traits your character possesses during your story.
- Culture: What culture do they identify with?
- Minor Goal:
- Biggest mistakes:
- Life lessons:
- Dream Life:
- Worst Nightmare:
- Favorite Memories:
- Least favorite memories:
- Things they want in life:
- Things they don’t want in life:
- What obstacles are currently in their way?
- Any secrets:
- Personal Hero:
- Internal Conflict:
- External Conflict:
- What others think of them:
- What they think of themselves:
- What they wish they could change:
- What they wish they could have:
- What gets them fired up:
- Risks worth taking:
- Things they take for granted:
- What inspires them:
- What they have doubts about:
- What makes them feel alive:
- What makes them want to do better:
- What do they want to be remembered for?
- How will the character change?
Now that you’ve quickly read through each section of the character template, your brainstorming wheels should be turning as you start to hone in on certain questions about your character that you hadn’t thought of before.
Once you’re ready to start, you can use the blank template below to fill out for each one of your main characters. Remember – keep a copy of your character template sheets nearby for reference as you begin writing!
So there you have it – your very own comprehensive character bio template. Remember, it doesn’t matter what genre you are writing about. Every book should have well-developed characters that come alive through using writing strategies, techniques, and devices .
At the heart of every story, is a believable character that readers are engaged with and connected to. To create that character, you want to make them as realistic as possible, and you can do that with the help of a character bio template.
How are you creating life-like characters?
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How to Write a Character Bio
What is a character bio.
A character bio, sometimes called a character profile, is information about your characters that will directly or indirectly inform the story you’re writing.
A character bio can be pages long or can be short and sweet—I.e., Tara, age 15, lives with her father and stepmother, is self-conscious about her height, and has the power of time travel.
Why write a character bio?
Writing a thorough character bio can help you create dynamic, believable characters with depth.
Knowing about who your character is, both on and off the page, can make writing your story easier. Let’s say your protagonist gets on an elevator with a rival colleague, but you’re not sure how to write the rest of the scene. Your protagonist’s character bio—which might include things like how they feel about their career, their insecurities, and how they’ve learned to handle conflict—can help you write a realistic response to that situation.
While you’re writing a character bio, you could uncover ideas for new plotlines or scenes. For example, you decide that the character has a terrible fear of heights. If so, you might consider putting them on the observation deck at the top of the Willis Tower on a first date.
Do you need a bio for every character?
Not necessarily. Character bios are most valuable for primary and secondary characters, or those who feature prominently in the story and undergo some sort of change.
If you’re writing about conflict between parents and their three children, you might need bios for all five characters. Let’s say a family argument erupts while at a fancy restaurant; you don’t likely need to develop a full bio for the waiter who’s left to clean up the food they’ve thrown at each other (though it might be worth it to consider what that waiter’s day has been like).
Plenty of writers work without writing backgrounds for their characters, though you would be hard pressed to find one who doesn’t have some information on a character that doesn’t make the published page.
What does a character bio include?
Your character bios can be as cursory or detailed as you like. Here are points and questions to consider as you write.
Start with biographical basics:
- Age or date of birth
- Race and ethnicity
- Sexual orientation
- Where they’re from
- Where they live
- What they do for a living
- Socioeconomic status
- Physical description: Are they tall, average, or short? Do they have dreadlocks down to their waist or a shaved head? What kind of clothes do they wear? Etc.
- Do they have a family?
As well as information directly related to the story you’re writing:
- What’s the character’s goal? What’s the motivation?
- What are they most afraid of?
- What are their flaws?
- What are their strengths?
- How will they change by the end of the story?
- What is their role in the story?
Questions to get a clearer picture of what they look or sound like:
- What kind of clothes do they wear?
- What’s their hair color and hair style?
- How do they dress?
- Do they have any distinguishing physical characteristics? For example, perfectly straight teeth, a giant scar across their chest, or blue hair? If so, why is this the case and how does it affect their daily life?
- What are their mannerisms like?
- Do they have an accent? How do they feel about their accent?
- Do they have distinguishing speech habits? I.e., do they stop and think before answering a question or do they blurt out their feelings? Does their voice crack when they’re nervous?
Questions to uncover emotional and mental characteristics:
- What does your character want out of life?
- What was their childhood like?
- What are your character’s relationships like? With their parents? With siblings? With extended family? With their spouse or significant other? With friends?
- What are their romantic relationships like?
- Are they good at making friends? Why or why not?
- What kinds of people do they gravitate toward?
- What kinds of people do they avoid?
- Do they have any pet peeves?
- Has your character experienced a monumental or traumatic event? For example, abandonment in childhood or the sudden death of a friend?
- How does your character feel about the way they look?
- Do they have any insecurities?
- How do they feel about their job or career? If they weren’t doing that, what would they be doing?
- What’s their political affiliation?
- What’s their relationship to authority like?
- How do they deal with conflict? With confrontation? With pain? With happiness?
- Do they have any vices?
- What disappointments have they experienced? Successes?
Questions to explore their tastes:
- What kind of music do they listen to? What kind of books do they read? What kind of movies do they watch? Etc.
- What kinds of music, books, and movies do they not like?
- What kind of food do they like?
- How do they spend their free time?
- What kinds of things have they tried and not liked?
How to write a character bio
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of creating a character bio, consider that it doesn’t have to read like a traditional narrative. It can take any form: a list of bullet points, a question-and-answer format, or roughly scribbled notes. Whatever helps you get to know your character and keep track of the details.
Begin building your character bio with the basics: basic biographical information and their role in the story. You can then write an entire bio from start to finish, considering all the questions above, or you can fill it in as you write your story. For example, let’s say your character is having a particularly good day and her father calls—no, her stepfather—and he has bad news. As you write this scene, you should make some notes on her family history (you didn’t know until now that she had a stepfather) and how she deals with stress or conflict.
Some writers will “interview” their character and write the answers in the character’s voice. This can be helpful when trying to identify a character’s voice and speech patterns or when writing dialogue.
Feel free to tinker with a character’s biography as you write and edit your story. If a trait no longer fits with the arc, you don’t have to be married to it. Let your writing process be fluid and organic.
How to use a character bio
There’s no limit to what you can mine from a character profile, but in general, bios can:
- Create depth in your characters and storyline: Simply understanding who your characters are and what they’ve experienced off the page will help you introduce believable reactions and scenarios.
- Maintain consistency: You can use your bios to track information as you introduce it into the story and reconcile inconsistencies. For example, if you write that your protagonist is shorter than average on page five, but on page ten they reach the top of a library shelf with no problem, you can flag the inconsistency and track the accurate description in your character bio.
- Spark new plotlines: When exploring your character’s background, you discover that, as a child, they wanted to be a musician, so in your story you decide to introduce a plotline in which they secretly moonlight as a jazz singer under a mysterious stage name.
- Fight writer’s block and solve problems: If you’re unsure where to take your story, working on a character’s bio can help you get out of a writing rut.
Other ways to explore your characters
- Take a personality test, like this one from 16 Personalities , answering the questions as your character
- Write a scene from their perspective
- Draw or describe their house in detail
- “Interview” your character, answering questions in their voice
- Write their resume
- Write a few journal entries in their voice
- Ask to shadow someone who has the same job or hobbies your character has
- Go interview someone with similar experiences
- Go explore their hometown
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How To Write A Character Bio: 7 Important Aspects To Consider
- September 18, 2022
Character bios are essential for creating believable characters.
Understand that the characters in your story are a major hook. They carry the plot and stick with readers. They are often the reason why a reader enjoys a story and even recommends it to a friend.
So, how do you write a compelling character bio, one that will help you craft realistic, believable, and engaging characters for your readers to enjoy? This article will explain how to do just that.
How to write a character bio
Below we’ve included a list of questions to serve as a character bio template.
Answering these questions about your character will help you gain insight into that character’s depths, feelings, perspectives, goals, hopes, dreams, weaknesses, desires, and other aspects that will inform the plot development.
1. Name, age, nationality
Let’s start with the basics—outline basic but essential details about your character, such as their name, age, and nationality. Defining the geographical background is still important even if your characters live in a fictional world on another planet.
Consider the relevance of the above details.
Where did their name come from? Were they named after a relative, or does their name have something to do with the circumstances of their birth?
Are they mature for their age? How does their birthplace influence other parts of their lives?
Even though the above details are the most basic aspects of your character, they can still offer rich insight.
2. Physical appearance and characteristics
Well-defined physical characteristics help readers visualize your character , making a more engaging and immersive reading experience. Consider:
- Hair and eye color
- Unique facial features (scars, moles, etc.)
Explore why a character looks the way they do.
What features exist that are not from birth? If your character has a scar, how did they get it? If they have an extra large nose or acne, how do they feel about it?
What does their style say about them as a person, and how important is their style to them? Do they have short fingernails because they bite them?
Character preferences help you take a step further in understanding your character.
Even if these preferences don’t show up in the actual story, knowing about them will help you visualize and craft a rich character, and your insightful relationship with whom will help you keep writing the story. Consider your characters’:
- Favorite food
- Favorite Music
- Favorite color
- Political views and opinions
- Religious views
- Favorite book/movie genre
- Clothing/style preferences and goals
- Favorite way to relax
- Favorite type of people
4. Health status
Consider your character’s health. That includes both physical and mental health. Their health status will inform other aspects of their life, such as their energy levels, worldview, and hopes and dreams for the future.
- Are they generally healthy?
- Do they have any diseases?
- Do they smoke/drink/use other drugs?
- Are they calm or stressed?
- Do they exercise much? How much?
- How is their diet? Do they follow a healthy one? Do they under/overeat?
- Could they successfully escape if being chased?
- How does their health relate to their physical appearance?
Consider your character’s career and education. These may or may not be relevant to the particular story you’re writing, but these details and others may become relevant at some point in the story, so it’s wise to have an existing idea of them.
- Did your character study? If so, what did they study? Do they have a career in that field?
- What’s their job?
- Do they like their job? What aspects of their personality help them succeed at work?
- Do they prioritize their job, or are other parts of their life more important?
- What’s their level of education?
- Does their education level affect their choices and success in their life as per the story?
- Do they have any notable career achievements?
6. Personality Traits
- Are they motivated?
- Are they open or closed to new experiences?
- Do they act the same way around everyone, or do they change around particular people?
- Are they more optimistic or pessimistic?
- Introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?
- Are they kind or nasty?
- What skills and strengths do they possess?
- What are their flaws?
- Do they keep any secrets?
- Do they have any regrets?
- How do they approach challenges and obstacles?
- Are they confident in themselves?
- Do they prioritize self-care?
- Do they take risks?
- Are they spontaneous?
To further flesh out your character’s personality traits. Consider the Big Five personality traits outlined below. These are:
Your character’s relationships are highly formative. These include their parental, platonic, and romantic relationships and their connections with authority figures in their adult life.
How one relates to others says a lot about their character, so invest time into fleshing out your character’s relationship dynamics and attitudes.
- Does your character have a romantic partner? Boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife?
- How does the character feel about their parents? How is that relationship? If their parents are no longer around, do they have any regrets about that relationship?
- Do they have siblings, or are they an only child?
- What’s their support system like when they face stress or trouble? Do they have a family to rely on? Close friends?
- Does your character have many close friends? Are they a socialite, or is their social circle small? How do they feel about people in general?
- Has your character had any romantic relationships in the past that shaped who they are today? In what ways did that relationship shape them?
- Who is their best friend?
- What do they love about their romantic partner?
- Who does your character turn to in times of crisis?
- How is your character’s sense of trust in others? Do they find it easy or hard to trust people?
Bonus miscellaneous character questions
Add these questions to your character template to gain even deeper insight into who they are:
- What is your character’s greatest achievement?
- Which of your character’s traits will change in the story? And what will remain the same?
- What are the main aspects of your character’s story that have made them who they are, where if those aspects are different, they may be a different person?
- How would your character describe their own life at the beginning of the book?
- What biases does your character hold?
- What are some of your character’s core beliefs, and how did those beliefs form?
- Who is your character’s biggest inspiration?
- What does your character’s typical day look like before the story’s main events?
What is a character bio?
A character biography, also known as a character profile, is a type of character development aid that covers a character’s life story (or background), physical characteristics, personality traits, and strengths and weaknesses.
A character’s bio helps the author fit your character into the overall story, whereby they make decisions and react to events based on their pre-defined traits and characteristics.
A bio helps you stay on track regarding a character’s arc as you write the story.
Many authors visualize several potential story arcs and trajectories in the writing process. As such, having a framework like a character bio or a general novel outline helps you take the story from A to B with a consistent and coherent narrative rather than a story full of sprawling trajectories that don’t take the reader anywhere in particular.
Creating one for each of your characters is essential when writing character bios. Naturally, you may focus more on fleshing out your protagonist , but don’t neglect other characters.
There are no small roles because each of your characters plays a vital role in the story. As such, they deserve to be well-written.
Character breakdown example
A character breakdown is a brief character description.
It is not their complete profile but a description of that character in just a few sentences.
In writing a story, a character breakdown can help you create a basic outline for your character, after which you can interview and investigate to flesh them out further.
Consider the following character breakdown examples:
Mrs. Dursley – Harry Potter and The Sorceror’s Stone (J.K. Rowling)
Mr. Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors.
Mama Bekwa Tataba – The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
Mama Bekwa Tataba stood watching us—a little jet-black woman. Her elbows stuck out like wings, and a huge white enameled tub occupied the space above her head, somewhat miraculously holding steady while her head moved in quick jerks to the right and left.
For such an extraordinary athlete—even as a Lower Middler, Phineas had been the best athlete in the school—he was not spectacularly built. He was my height—five feet eight and a half inches…He weighed a hundred and fifty pounds, a galling ten pounds more than I did, which flowed from his legs to torso around shoulders to arms and full strong neck in an uninterrupted, unemphatic unity of strength.
Character bios are not just for fiction writers. Even nonfiction writers can benefit from crafting bios for the real people about whom they write.
Consider a memoir or a psychology book with case studies.
The fact that the subjects exist in real life is not enough for a reader to engage. Authors still need to flesh out these characters and bring them to life on the page.
Answering the questions in the bio template will help you add dimension to your characters so that whether you write fiction or nonfiction, readers will connect with and resonate with your characters.
Give careful consideration and do a diligent investigation of your characters if you want them to stand out and be remembered.
Character development is a key part of the creative writing process and should not be overlooked.
The more you flesh out a character with investigative questions and formative answers. The more you’ll notice that your character takes on a life of their own and seems to exist beyond the page.
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How Do You Write A Character Bio? The Road to GREAT Characterisation
Character bios can be an essential part of writing your character. There is no story without a character, just as there is no character without a character bio.
Every writer needs some semblance of a bio before they can start writing because it is the only way to truly know who your character is. Without one, it’s harder to feel their existence as something tangible.
The best way to think of a character bio is as it being their passport. A certificate of identity to give them life and authenticity. It’s an official record of them, something to prove their existence on paper.
Characters are built through their bios. They start out as non-existent or simply ideas in the head, but through the process characters become layered. They become real.
In this article, we’ll highlight the key tips to creating your own character bio. We’ll provide the essential information on building a bio that both births a character and helps establish the story.
It might often feel like extraneous work, but writing a character bio can be the difference between a two-dimensional functional character and a rich, layered one.
Table of Contents
The writing style of character bios, voice of a character bio, 1. outline the basics of your character(s), 2. add life to a character, 3. add color to a character, 4. immersion in a character bio, the character’s purpose, how character bios help writers, why a character bio is important to the writer and the story, an acronym to help:.
Character bios can be created in multiple ways. There is no set way. Ultimately, they must be crafted in the best way for the writer. And most importantly, they need to be accessible and easy to understand.
Some ways of creating a character bio include…
- On a blank document: Probably the most common way. This is easy to execute, follow and allows for you to let rip with words. Just fill a document with as many words as you can about your character. Let it all spill out, without limitations.
- On PowerPoint: This allows a character bio to become more like a character portfolio. PowerPoint allows both text and images to be added, which gives a visual dimension to the character. It’s also easy to access and one can select what slide is needed for certain writing times.
- On a Spreadsheet: Establishes a critical perspective, as the writer will be dissecting and labelling each aspect that makes up the character.
- In a Notebook: Having a hard copy character bio makes it easier to access when writing on a laptop. This way multiple tabs aren’t open. It can help you not only literally separate out your character bio from your other writing but mentally too, allowing you to work on your character bio and feed in its details to the wider document.
- On Post-Its: Easier to add new details to a character, and have them around you when writing.
All of these different styles have their own benefits due to their form. PowerPoint is arguably the best way as it lays out each aspect of the character clearly, and encourages the visual side of the character too. This is ultimately what character bios are best for, visualizing your character.
Another feature of the style of writing a character bio is what personal tense to use. Both First or Third person could be used. And using either of these styles when writing a character bio can have a different meaning…
- First Person: This suggests that the writer is the character, so it becomes more personal and intimate. However, it also makes it harder for the writer to view themselves just as a writer if they are the character, as the lines could become blurred, and confusing when dealing with multiple characters.
- Third Person: This provides a more analytical character bio as the writer is shaping who/what they want the character to be, so it is somewhat easier to access them as a character. However, it can distance the writer, so they are less involved in the world they are creating, as they are on the outside looking in.
Both styles of voice have their pros and cons, but both do formulate solid character bios that will allow the characters to come to life. Some writers may prefer a more immersive approach, some may relish a more objective, analytical approach. But both allow the writer to sit with their characters and let them spill out onto the page.
Finding the voice to write in for your character bio is one thing, but what are the key elements to tackle when writing your character bio? Let’s take a look…
The starting point of a character bio is to determine the basics of the character(s). Starting the character bio with the basics is essential, it’s like laying the foundation for a house. Without the foundation it becomes unstable. The same goes for character. If you don’t know your character solidly, then the story will fall apart.
- Name – Obviously, the major starting point. It is how your character will be known and in many ways, it defines them. So, the name has to represent who they are. And a distinctive yet believable name is always the best bet, particularly when it comes to main characters.
- Physical appearance. What they look like is obviously important for reading through and remembering the characters but also for aspects of production like casting.
- Personality traits. How does their conflict manifest? What are they like? What kind of figure do they cut within the action?
- Family. What are their relationships like? How have these relationships shaped them into who they are?
- Where the character is from. What is their background? How does this manifest, for example, in their accent, in their outlook and in their character arc in general?
- Where the character lives. What is the context they live within? And most importantly, how does this shape their character arc and the story overall?
- Career. What do they do for a living? Whether important to the story or not, their job and how they spend their daily life is important to understand.
When determining the basics what needs to be apparent is the character’s relatability. Their personality traits, past, relationships and context help to provide relatability, giving the audience an insight into the character and an opportunity to connect with them. Without this, the story is harder to find a way into.
After determining the basics of a character in their bio, the next step is to go more in-depth. This stage allows a writer to establish a character’s goals, flaws, and quirks. It is a character’s goals and flaws that make the story because this it almost always what the plot revolves/evolves around, particularly as it pertains to the protagonist .
What to add to develop a character bio…
- The character’s wants and needs.
- Their niches and quirks.
- What are their goals?
- What are their flaws and foibles?
By being thorough at this stage, the character is getting more and more real. They start to take their first steps. Every minor detail that may seem unnecessary e.g., a character’s minor behavioural ticks, is vital to a character bio.
For example, by knowing some small detail about a quirk of behaviour, a character’s state of mind, background, self-esteem and sense of self can all be determined.
It is these intricate features that not only bring life to a character bio but also improve the narrative. Each detail of the character works synchronously with the story as a way to build on the plot. But it also ensures each character’s reaction fits the plot and explains who they are.
Adding color acts as a double meaning in this instance. The literal meaning is to choose colors that can be associated with the characters (through clothes, for example) to match their personality/moods.
It’s this meaning that aids in furthering the character bio as the colors chosen can represent who the character is and what they will become. Breaking Bad is perhaps the greatest example of this. Throughout the series, the colors are used to represent the characters’ shifting motivations.
Color also carries the meaning of making a character real. Adding color as visualizing them, how they walk, how they talk, how they interact. What is it that makes them real? That is the next step of writing a character bio.
“I demand the right to be them, I demand the right to think them.” – Quentin Tarantino
To add color the writer has to completely submerse themselves into the characterisation- every choice the writer makes regarding the character, particularly in relation to visuals needs to weave into narrative and characterisation.
The goal of the character bio is to make a character real. And the only way to make a character real is for the writer to become one with the characterisation. This means looking into and focusing on aspects that seem unimportant or useless.
A character bio needs to act like an extension of the writer’s self, drawing from themselves and their real life in general. It is a part of them but it’s not them. By adding color the writer is able to work multidimensionally between building the character and partially being the character.
There needs to be the ability to move between perceiving how the character functions as a person, whilst disconnecting in order to look at the big picture of crafting the story.
Following on from adding color to a character bio, and the necessity to work multidimensionally, is immersion. To become immersed in a character bio means the ability to view yourself as a writer whilst also having the perspective of a character.
The writer’s voice needs to become the character’s too.
Exercises for the writer’s voice to become the character’s include…
- Write a journal/diary entry as the character: This allows the writer to directly access the character’s thoughts and behaviour.
- Write a letter from the character to another, or even to the writer: This technique encourages two different styles, one being for the writer to become the character, and the other being the writer accessing the character’s voice whilst being aware of themselves as a writer.
- Carry out an interview with the character: By doing this the writer is able to concurrently carry the role of the writer as well as the character.
- Make a specific list about your character’s likes and dislikes – including, for example, everything from their favorite color to their favorite food to their favorite pastimes.
These exercises are almost a form of method writing , getting into the character’s headspace and indulging in them as if they were real. Again, some of these details may seem unnecessarily specific, but they might help in building a convincing and realistic vision of your character.
The character’s purpose is what needs to shine through the bio as it is that which will be explored and built on throughout the narrative itself. The writer being able to find the character’s voice within making a character bio helps to make the character as close to real as possible.
By being clear and pliable, the character bio guarantees that even if the story alters as it is created, the core of the character(s) can remain the same. And this core is the character’s purpose. This is what’s driving them through the story and consequently, particularly in relation to the protagonist , driving the story itself.
You might find your character’s purpose when writing the bio, or you might have it already before the bio. Either way, a key aim of writing a character bio should be to understand what that character’s purpose and function is within the story as a whole.
Without purpose, the character could seem two-dimensional or unnecessary, no matter how fleshed out in specific detail they are.
Character bios are priceless to a writer. They allow writers to get to know their character(s) much as they would a person in real life. If a character doesn’t feel real and relatable then the audience or screenplay reader will struggle to connect with the story.
They help the writer to conceptualise all that exists in their head. Before creating a character bio, a character is simply a writer’s thoughts of a person. But once the bio is on paper those thoughts start the process of transforming into a fully-formed person.
- A character bio can also help writers to establish the arc that characters will go on throughout the narrative.
- It acts as a blueprint. If a writer loses track of their character(s) and their arc, the bio is there to act as the heart of a character.
- It is what births and maintains the character’s existence.
Character bios help provide security for the writer as they can map out the story through the eyes of the character(s). This means that no matter what happens in the writing process the bio is always there to refer to.
The ability to get inside a character’s head is essential to a successful narrative, as often the audience perceives and responds to the story through their relationship to the characters.
Character arcs are a key part of the narrative or are the narrative itself, and a crucial way to track an arc’s success is with the bio. It is the character’s flaws that are tied up with the story and the flaw that needs to be resolved or handled by the story’s end.
A bio is what fleshes out characters, making them feel human. They become a part of the world you are creating, both feeding into and feeding off the depth you are gradually building.
They can also be important to both the writer and the story for continuity reasons.
- Change happens in a story, both in the actual narrative evolution and redrafts.
- So, for a bio to act as a continuity guide provides assurance that characters won’t become debased.
- They will retain their strengths as independent characters whilst ensuring the story itself doesn’t fall flat.
Connection is what a character bio provides. They allow the writer to establish the traits of that character that an audience can connect/relate/empathise with. Every character needs to have a perspective on humanity whether it be a positive or negative one. And crafting a bio helps identify what this perspective looks like.
As discussed, there are multiple ways to write a character bio, but it must be…
- E xpressive
So, think of CREATE when creating a character bio, and you’ll be in the best place possible to write one.
A character bio is a tool to helping you understand your character and what shapes them. It brings a character to life on the page. And it is this aliveness that feeds the life of the story.
Bios are pivotal to both the writer and story as they are the glue that holds it all together, whilst ensuring organisation and coherence for the story and writing process.
– What did you think of this article? Share It , Like It , give it a rating, and let us know your thoughts in the comments box further down…
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This article was written by Libby Laycock and edited by IS Staff.
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4 thoughts on “How Do You Write A Character Bio? The Road to GREAT Characterisation”
Dealing with characters that are 98% Native American, I knew from the start in writing the book, I needed to distinguish the characters.Thank you for the information it was very helpful in going forward with the teleplay.
This article is definitely a good, clear reminder why character matters in driving the plot. If your plot isn’t working, the answer often lies with character; and as painful as it is, that means you have to step back from the direct script writing and do more research. That’s what this article has made me do. Thanks.
Thanks Angela, glad we could help!
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Character Bio Templates: How To Write & Examples
Frequently Asked Questions
Need to write a character bio? Here are 3 simple steps to get started: 1. Gather the information you need to know. Before you write anything, you need to know who or what you're writing about. The more specific you are, the more personalized you can make your content. Here's our suggestions for writing a character bio: Character name: [character's name] Character description: [description of character's personality, appearance, and backstory] Character role in story: [role of character in the story] What you want readers to know about this character: [what you want readers to know about this character] 2. Determine the structure of your output. The structure of your content is just as important as the content itself. The structure of your content is how you're going to arrange the information in the content to make it easier for the readers to read and understand. Introduce the character to the reader Describe the character's personality, appearance, and backstory Explain how this character fits into the world of your story Tell readers what you want them to know about this character 3. Write the content or use Copy.ai to help you get started. Once you have your structure down, you can start writing the content.
Example: [Character's name] is a [character role in story] who lives in [character's world]. [Character's personality] [Character's appearance] [Character's backstory] [What you want readers to know about this character] Example: [Character's name] is a [gender] [age] who lives in [location]. He was born in [location] and has lived there ever since. He has a good relationship with his family and friends. He lives with his parents and two younger siblings. His parents are both [occupation]s and they support him in his endeavors. His siblings are very supportive of him as well. [Character's name] has a history with [plot device X]. Example: [Character's name] is a [describe the character's personality] who was born in [describe the character's backstory] and grew up in [describe the character's backstory]. She has always been an [describe the character's personality trait], but she's also known for her [describe the character's other traits]. She's always been interested in [describe the character's backstory]. She believes that [describe the character's backstory]. She's afraid of [describe the character's backstory]. She loves [describe the character's backstory]. She hates [describe the character's backstory]. She can't wait to be [describe the character's backstory].
1. A character bio can help a reader better understand a character and their motivations. 2. A character bio can help an author to keep track of their character's development over time. 3. A character bio can help an author to create a more believable and three-dimensional character.
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How to Write an Online Bio
Which three words would you use to explain your personality to a stranger?
If you could only think of “human with face,” or “professional needs job,” you’ve come to the right place. Learning how to write a bio is not easy; defining yourself in a few words even less so. But never fear—you can do it! Taking a few minutes to think about what you’re about isn’t just a great writing exercise, it’s a clarifying moment of personal development. Here are a few ways you can get started on your professional, website, LinkedIn, or short bio.
Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing shines? Grammarly can check your spelling and save you from grammar and punctuation mistakes. It even proofreads your text, so your work is extra polished wherever you write.
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How to write a short bio
When most people think of online bios, they probably can readily name a few common short bio examples first. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest all have space for a short description of who you are and what you do. And you should make the most of the 1-2 lines you’re afforded here. Keep your social media bios short, sweet, and only filled with the most important things a stranger should know about you, such as:
- Your current role
- Your ultimate goal
- Your biggest achievement
How to write a professional bio
Professional sites like LinkedIn , AngelList, or a speaker bio on an event site all have space for a bio or summary section. For each of these, you’ll probably want to write a mid-length description of both your current role, professional aspirations, and biggest achievements. Professional bios allow you to go into a bit more detail than short social media bios, especially on LinkedIn. It’s generally a good idea to include:
- Your current role or professional tagline
- Your company or personal brand
- Your goals and aspirations
- Your 2-3 most impressive and relevant achievements
- One quirky fact about you (if it’s appropriate to the site)
What to include in a bio at work
Writing a bio for your company’s website, HR system, or Slack instance? Be sure to give your coworkers a sense of both your professional expertise—and your personality!
You should include anything you’d include in a professional bio in a bio for your company, but don’t be afraid to personalize it with a few personal details. Have a hobby you love? A favorite book? A professional hero you look up to? Add them to give your coworkers a sense of who you are before they work with you.
What to include in a bio on your website
The “About” section of any personal website can be a slog. A drain. A hassle. You’ve already created a whole website about yourself, so it can be difficult to muster the strength to write that final description of who you are and what you’re about.
But never fear! Your website bio doesn’t need to be complicated, it just needs context on who you are and what you’ve done. This is an open, larger space, so you have room to list a few accomplishments and give context on why they’re important. You can also add a short paragraph about who you are outside of your nine-to-five. For this type of bio, you may also want to include a contact form or email, to help prospective clients, employers, or collaborators get in touch. If you do, be sure to include a clear call-to-action for your reader to contact you.
A bio template to use and customize
Even after you understand different types of bios, it can be difficult to get started. The words may not be flowing, you might not fully understand how your professional bio will be used, or you might just be stuck. Never fear! Here’s a bio recipe you can use across most sites.
- Your first and last name: Start by writing your name. That wasn’t so hard!
- Your company or brand: If you have a consulting firm, a brand you use for your side hustle, or a company you currently work at, list that next.
- Your current function: What do you do for work? You can either list your current title or a short, descriptive phrase about your role here.
- Your north star: People reading your bio will also want to get a sense of who you are. Listing your overall goal, values, or a statement that describes your ethos will help them get to know you, even in short bios.
- Your top three accomplishments: Especially in professional bios, you’ll need a few accomplishments to show off what you’ve done in your career. Choose the top two or three large milestones from your career (no more), and put them next.
- Your cute closer (optional): This may not be necessary in a shorter bio for Twitter or Instagram. But for a website or similarly professional bio, you may want to add a sentence describing who you are outside of work.
- Your contact info (optional): Depending on the site, you may also want to include an email, contact form, or another easy way for readers to reach you. List this information at the end of your bio.
4 quick tips on writing a bio
Even with all of this information on how to write a bio, it might still be difficult to write about yourself. Even for the most confident person, self-promotion can be exhausting. But never fear! There are a few ways you can keep your “about me” writing on point—without pulling your hair out.
Tip #1: Don’t overthink it
Bios are usually formulaic—and that’s OK! For most professional bios, LinkedIn summaries, and speaker bios at events, you won’t need to stray from the norm too much to stand out. Even adding an adjective that shows your personality or an unusual accomplishment can make your bio different from the crowd. You don’t need to create the next Between The World And Me to write a killer bio.
Tip #2: Remember your worth
Writing a bio on a site like Twitter, Instagram , or LinkedIn can be daunting because there are already so many fantastic bios (and people!) out there. But don’t fall prey to bio comparison. Your story is only yours to tell, and it has value. Focus on staying authentic to your truth, and don’t worry about others’.
Tip #3: When in doubt, borrow
Bios can be repetitive, sometimes even tedious. So if you find a structure you like and think sounds unique, borrow it! You should never copy a person’s bio—after all, it’s their story, not yours—but you can mimic the structure if you’re feeling stuck.
Tip #4: Get writing help
You’re not alone in your quest to create a bio that stands out. Grammarly is here to help you choose powerful adjectives , clean up hedging language , and make your bio stand out.
Character Biography Template: Ultimate Guide with 14 Templates to Download for Free
A character biography is defined as a body of information that can be generated while keeping a particular character in mind. Character biographies are created in total separation from the actual context – be it a character in your book, movie or game etc.
The reasoning involved in creating character biographies is similar to that involved in creating a dictionary. A typical dictionary spends the majority of its lifetime simply laying around, untouched and unused. However, at the time of need, dictionaries are always there to help us whenever we reach out for them.
Character biographies are created with a similar mindset. The characteristics of a particular character, present within the character biography, might not be relevant to the context currently. However, generating this information could allow you to potentially improve the calibre of your context. For example, in a story, you could use the information to introduce a new character in the story. Or, you could create a hidden backstory that is to be revealed in the future.
Have a look at few Examples and Samples of Character Biography
Character biography outline template for writing.
Given below is a simple character biography template which you can implement to structure a perfect biography for your character while writing.
Video Game Character Bio Template
Writing biographies for video game characters are slightly different than writing biographies for traditional characters. Video game creators usually feel that the apt time for introducing video game characters is during the period after the brainstorming and creating the game world. Doing so provides the game creators to house the characters within their world.
You can use the guide below to create the required characteristics for your characters.
Online Character Biography Generators
The above character biography template should completely eliminate any and all doubts that you might be having in your minds. However, if you still feel overwhelmed by all the steps that you might need to take in creating your character biography, you can go ahead use online character biography generators to get help in generating a character biography.
All that you need to do in creating the online biography generators is to fill in a few details such as the name, gender, social class, nationality, religion, education etc. of the characters. With the help of these details, the generator automatically generates the template. A few online generators which you can access to receive the required information are given below:
- Character Biography
Link – https://www.character-generator.org.uk/bio/
- Backstory Description Generator
Link – https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/backstory-descriptions.php
- Writer’s Character Profile Generator
Link – http://writers-den.pantomimepony.co.uk/writers-character-profile.php
- Character Biography Generator
Link – https://oakdome.com/k5/lesson-plans/word/biography.php
- Backstory Generator
Link – https://www.kassoon.com/dnd/backstory-generator/
Contents of A Character Biography
For us, imagination is the limit. Therefore, there aren’t any limits to the number of characteristics that can be contained in a character biography. Any characteristic that you include in your biography can be majorly classified among three categories. These are:
- Physical Aspects – The physical aspects of a character deal in creating an embodiment of the character. These aspects fuse life into the character by unifying him/her with the world. Numerous characteristics such as the looks of the character, hobbies, work ethics etc. help to build up the physical aspects of a character.
- Sociological Aspects – Sociology is the field of human study that deals in the niches of human societies and human interaction. Sociological aspects are generally used to provide structure to the emotional attitudes of the character in relation to society. One of the most important prospects in generating the sociological aspects of a character is his/her history. With the help of history, you can generate details regarding the character’s social status, financial status, his/her relationship with the parents etc.
- Psychological Aspects – Psychological aspects deal with the behavioural traits of the character. These facets can greatly help you to map out the thinking process of a person. Few traits that can help you in accomplishing so are the temperament, preferences, disapprovals, fears etc of the person. Creating a character’s psychological profile right at the beginning is not an easy task. But, as you further develop your character, you start to figure out the attributes power the character vis-a-vis the context.
The Steps Involved developing a character biography
Developing a character biography isn’t something that can be performed at one go. There are numerous elements which are involved. In order to make sure that you develop a perfect character biography, you need to carefully piece together all the steps to develop the perfect character biography. The steps involved in doing this are:
- It’s all in the details – While developing your character biography, you should fixate on noting down even the tiniest of details. Make a note that no information is too trivial during this stage. Also, this step is a work-in-progress, meaning that it never stops. Even if you’re deep into developing your character, you should keep returning back to this step if you are stricken by some relevant piece of information.
- The essentials come first – As aforementioned in the contents, there are three aspects of a character biography. And it all starts by addressing the primary aspects of the character. These aspects include details such as hair colour, birthdays, height, weight, dressing sense etc. Usually, these details are the easiest of the details. You can be inspired by the environment around you and develop the aspects of your character in a likewise manner.
- The backstory, next – Once you’re done with the essential frameworks, dive deeper into the character frame and develop their backstory. The backstory essentially answers the fundamental question, “How did your character find their way to their current position?” This question can be easily answered by describing the numerous events in your character’s life. Answering the questions, in turn, will lead you to easily formulate your character’s backstory.
If your character is an adult, you might want to start their backstory from their childhood. Embarking from here, you can go on describing the numerous aspects of your character’s life that played a massive role in shaping their lives up. A backstory also presents you with the opportunity to answer various other questions such as the social status of their family, their financial status, the best mates of the character, the character’s relationship with his parents, are his parents deceased etc.
- The relationships amongst your characters – Character relationships are one of the most important functions of any story. These relationships serve important a function in shaping up your story. With the help of the relationship status, you can shed light on the various complicated, fluctuating and tense form of relationships that might be present. Apart from this, the history of the characters could also help you to shape up the relationship status.
During the process of formulating the relationships amongst your character, you will often come across some or the other form of repetition. You should understand that this is completely normal and doesn’t forebode any form of errors. On the other hand, this repetition can play an important role in your story. Not only does it reinforce the interactions amongst your characters, but it also allows you to display the contrasting thoughts and ideas amongst your characters.
- Miscellaneous – The miscellaneous section is in-charge of housing all other categories of information. Any other information, that you want to insert in your biography, but which does not fit into any of the other sections should be included under the miscellaneous section. There are various examples of trivial details that could be included under the miscellaneous section such as the character’s favourite animal, colour, first car etc.
Questionnaire For Writing A Character Profile
While writing a story, there is so much about the story that you, as a writer, may want to convey to your audience. However, it is nearly impossible to retain such vast quantities of data within the confinements of your mind. Keeping this shortcoming in mind, you should know the importance of relaying the complete set of details that help to make the details of your character, clear to the audience.
Creating a questionnaire can help you greatly, in such cases. With the help of a questionnaire, you can keep a track of all the information, present within the deep recesses your mind without overlooking on any of them while you’re busy writing your story. To help you, we have provided a sample questionnaire that can help you to achieve your writing goals.
a. What are the character’s name and age?
b.Where was he/she born? What is the name of his/her hometown?
c.How was their childhood?
d.How was the character’s relationship status with his parents?
e.Where does the character live now?
f.How old is your character currently?
a. Does the character have any siblings? Where are they now? How is the character’s relationship with his siblings?
b.Are there any close relatives present in your character’s life? Are there any distant relatives, relevant to the story?
c.Does the character have any enemies?
d.How is the character’s relationship with other boys and girls of his age?
e.Does your character have any “in-love” relationships?
f.Did the character have any close friendships? Did the character have any other close relationships?
g.Was the character raised by only one or both parents?
a. How is the character’s family’s social status? Are they a wealthy family or not?
b.What expectations did the parents and the society have from your character?
c.What are your character’s education qualifications?
d.Does the social status of the character change during their childhood? If yes, what and why does this happen? How does it shape the character’s future in your storyline?
e.What religion does your character associate himself with? What is your character’s attitude towards the concept of religion and God?
a. Is your character an introverted and extroverted kind of person? Is he or she popular at their school, workplace or society?
b.Is your character considered to be a leader or a follower?
c.Does your character possess a sense of humour or is he a short-tempered individual? Does your character have the consideration of what others think or do?
d.What opinion does the character have of himself/herself?
e.What are the goals, ambitions, and philosophy of life as stated by the character?
f.Are there any other personality traits that could define your character?
Creating a character within a story is not as difficult as it is perceived to be. All that it takes, is for you to be powered by a simple mindset and use two simple steps.
These steps are given below:
- Possess Clarity – Be crystal clear about your character’s purpose in your context. Even before you start the process of creating your character, be clear about the reason for which your character exists. This step not only helps you to not only allows you to define him/her in accordance with the story but also prevents you from unnecessarily introducing characters.
- Pen Down Your Thoughts – Now that you’ve spent a considerable amount of time thinking about your character, pen down your thoughts and ideas onto paper. Take all the time that you may need during this process. Revamp your character into an entity of flesh and blood powered by your imagination. Write about him as if you have actually lived or spent time with him.
How To Write A Character Description
The characters in our context, be it a story, poem, video game or even essays, accentuate our story. These are the creations which turn into flesh and blood with the help of our words. More often than not, these characters speak for us and even carry our emotions. Due to this, it is highly essential that we anchor them unto our context in the right means.
However, these characters do not exist until and unless we actually anchor them unto our context. Doing this is quite easy. All that you need to do is follow the simple tips given below:
- Constant Specificity Is Irrelevant – Being specific can help your character’s rise in the story. However, this does not mean that you have to constantly be specific while writing the description.
- Describe Facial Expressions – As far as accurately possible, try and describe the character’s facial expressions. Doing so allows your audience to perceive the thoughts that might be swirling within the minds of your character. Apart from this, it could also allow them to predict what his/her next reactions might be.
- Make your Descriptions As If They Match The Tone – Write your context as if the descriptions match the tone in which your audience might read it. For example, if you want to describe a funny piece, make descriptions that go along with it. An example of this could be, “The child was funny-looking. When he grew up, he became a funny-looking youth.”
- Make Actions Apparent Which Reveal Physical Characteristics – You can ingeniously integrate physical characteristics with the help of the actions of your character. For example, “While walking, she pulled the clip and set her auburn hair free…”
- Describe The Body Language – Write your story in a manner which can help you to describe the way in which your character moves or carries himself or herself. Doing so, allows you to give a more accurate sketch of your character.
- Less Is More – This is the most important to be kept in mind. While describing a character, you may feel inclined to constantly describe the character from head to toe. However, instead of a detailed description, try to use to well-placed clues which help readers to form an accurate picture in their minds.
The Distinction Between Trait and Character
Character and traits are two words in the English Language which are often misunderstood with each other. The primary reason for this due to them being considered as mere synonyms of each other. However, these are two words which have a completely different meaning than each other.
- Character – The word character helps us to understand a sense of quality. A character who has qualities such as integrity, honesty, helpfulness etc. are automatically associated to be a good character. On the other hand, a character that depicts the qualities of deception, rudeness, manipulation etc. are known as bad characters.
- Trait – On the other hand, a trait is a characteristic or a feature that is inherited by a person genetically. In a gist, it can be said that traits are inherent qualities that have been genetically inherited from the previous generations.
Combining A Character Biography Using A Character Worksheet
A character plays one of the most important roles in shaping up a story. Accessibility to a well-defined and well-developed character, allows you to breathe life into the numerous traits and opinions that drives these characters to their accomplishment. The process of creating such well-defined characters is known as characterization.
Characterization is performed via the help of character worksheets. Character worksheets contain a short description of a particular event and help the writer to figure out a particular character trait of that character.
However, a character worksheet can perform so much more than that. Once coupled with a character biography, a character worksheet can be used to generate a complete list of traits and factors possessed by a character. Often, the questionnaire found in character biographies is integrated into a checklist format which easily generates the entire traits of the character.
Creating and writing about a character in your story is a magic. A character biography is a process of writing specific traits of a character logically and reasonably. Character biography includes consideration of elements like character’s role in the story and the various conflicts associated with the character.
Your story may include different characters interacting with different other characters for different conversations. There is no need to write a biography for each and every single character in your story. A character biography is deserved for a character which the writer feels he/she is a very intense and serious character.
Here are few points on how to write a character biography: 1) Get into the right mindset beforehand 2) Start with the essential details 3) Move on to their back story 4) Describe their fears and desires and relationships with other characters 5) Miscellaneous things like character’s favorite things to do, hobbies etc.
The following tips are useful when you think of expanding your character’s bio: 1) Personal information including family, strengths and weaknesses, flaws etc 2) Writing about their back story is also important 3) What connects to your character 4) Wants and desires drive your character’s intentions 5) Character arcs
The main reason for writing a character’s biography is reader’s will get to know completely about the character that inspires them and helpful to better understand the character. The other reason is reader’s eagerness and interest to know about the character that is inspirational and unique.
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Character Bio Template – How to Create A Character Bio
February 20, 2023
Creating a new character for your story is magic. You breathe life into a new and exciting character. Apart from that, it is also highly important for writing a coherent and logical story. Hence, you should know your characters (at least) as good as your mother. Pretty hard eh?
No worries, we created a character bio template that includes 73 important questions and attributes you need to answer and define before starting to write your story . The character bio template will help you to make sure that your characters seem real and authentic.
You should fill the character bio template for all your characters. If you recognize that you need to change some attributes of a character, don’t forget to update the template as well. It should really help you to organize your thoughts, to avoid forgetting any important traits or features of a character and to get the full picture of the existing relationships between your characters.
Of course, you can decide about the level of bio detail for each of your characters. But, often, it makes sense to detail them out as much as possible. This will not only give you a better understanding of the potential role of the character in your story but will also help you to describe situations the character is involved in.
What’s a Character Bio?
So, creating a character biography is quite important and will help you to build your story. Of course, you want to start writing. But take this break and start by defining the attributes, features, and characteristics of your characters first. Trust me, it will help you to write a better story.
So, let’s dive into the character bio template.
BTW: We also created a Template that allows you to edit and update your templates easily. The good thing: You can use it for free. If you want to use it, just create a copy of the spreadsheet.
Download a free character bio template
Fill out the form below to get instant access to our character bio template.
To save an editable copy, follow these simple steps:
- Click “File” in the top-left corner
- Click “Make a copy”
- Choose your destination folder
Get the free character bio template
Character bio template, general information.
Full name Nickname: Age: Nationality: Religion: City of birth The current place for living Job title: Employing company: Income: Is he or she married? Mother tongue Birthday: Does he or she own a home? What does the character like? What does the character dislike?
How would you describe the childhood of the character? How would you describe the teenage years of the character? How would you describe the adulthood of the character?
Role and Involvement of Character
What’s the role of the character in the story? How is the character introduced? What’s the first time he is mentioned in the story?
Sisters or brothers Wife or husband: Children Grandparents Grandchildren Other important persons: Relationships with other characters of the story: [Character 1] [Character 2] [Character 3] [Character 4] [Character 5]
Addictions: Bad Habits: Color of Eyes The color of Hair: The color of Skin: Dialect Does the character drink regularly? Does the character have any disabilities? Does the character prefer any proverbs? Does the character smoke? Good Habits: Height: Hobbies: Is he/she wearing Glasses? Is the character healthy or does he have any diseases? Type of Face: Weight: What’s the style of the character? (modern, outmoded):
Education: Intelligent or not? Fears: Life Goals (next 5 years): Life Goals (next 25 years): Self-perception Assumed external perception Self-Confidence: Rational Or Emotional How could you upset this character?
What are emotional strengths of the character? What are emotional weaknesses of the character? Is the character an introvert or an extrovert? How does the character cope with fury and rage? … with unhappiness? … with rivalry? … with new situations? … with trouble? What’s his or her meaning of life? What would the character like to change in his/her life? What things motivate the character? What situations scares the character? What makes this character happy? Is the character often biased? Does the character prefer to give or to take? Is the character rather nice or rude?
I hope you liked this character bio template. If you have important additional questions, attributes or characteristics that are missing on my list, feel free to leave comment. I would love to add them to the list.
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BrandYourself Blog | ORM and Personal Branding
11 Tips On How To Write A Personal Biography + Examples
We’ve all been there: agonizing over how to write a bio that doesn’t sound too self-promotional or fall flat with modesty.
“What is a biography?” you may ask. A bio is a piece of work that details a person’s life. In addition to basic facts, like education and employment, it is meant to portray their lived experiences as well.
Writing a biography that’s professional and actually sparks interest can be tricky. And optimizing it for greater visibility in search engines can make your job even harder.
In many cases, your personal biography will define your first impression online when you’re Googled by:
- A potential employer or client before an interview.
- Someone at a networking event who wants to learn more about you.
- A potential client or customer looking to get more info before working with you.
And when someone finds your social media profiles, personal website, or company bio page, your bio will be there to greet them.
It can make or break whether someone wants to take the next step and work with you.
So it’s important to make it count.
1. How to write a bio about yourself that checks all the boxes.
When it comes to writing a personal or professional bio, there are a few items that are standard to include. While a bio may not have all of these things, if any of the following apply to you, then they should be included. Use the following bullet points to write out a list of information about you. From there, you can draw info from each line item to start crafting your bio.
- Your current role
- Hometown/Current place of residence
- Work experience
- Education history
- Special skills & attributes
- Professional accomplishments
- Personal accomplishments
- High-level personal goals & aspirations
- High-level professional accomplishments
- Hobbies & pastimes
- Personal passions
- Awards or Accolades
- Press Mentions
- Miscellaneous (What makes you unique!)
Starting with a list ensures you won’t leave anything out.
2. Introduce yourself… like a real person.
This is one of the most important pieces of understanding how to write a personal biography. Always start with your name.
When many people start learning how to write a bio, they skip this important part. People need to know who you are before they learn what you do. Remember that your most important details should go in the very first sentence.
Keep the first sentence short and sweet, either by describing what you do at a high level or going into more detail about your specific role. Aim to describe yourself in a way that’s professional…but also human.
3. Watch your word count.
When you start writing a bio about yourself, determining the length may seem like an afterthought – something that just happens once you stop typing. However, it is something that you need to think about before you start writing – and your ideal word count may shift depending on your primary focus.
From an SEO perspective, the more words you use in your personal bio, the better. If you are filling in the bio section of a profile, find out the word or character limit – that’s how long your bio should be. If you are writing the bio on your personal website, the longer, the better. Plan to write 500 words – minimum. If you have 1,500 to 2,000 words in you, that’s even better.
From a branding perspective, you may have a different take on the length of your bio. Perhaps you would prefer to keep things short and sweet or don’t feel the immediate need for a 1,500-word count. If so, that’s fine too. Cater your personal bio to your goals. Start small. The length suggestion can change based on your situation and ultimate goals.
4. Write your biography in the third person.
This is one of the most common steps that you may struggle with when learning how to write a bio about yourself. While it can feel strange to talk about yourself in the third person at first, there are some very clear benefits from doing so:
From an SEO perspective, writing a bio in the third person allows you to include your full name throughout the bio. This lets search engines know that this lengthy, original, and well-written piece of content is about you . While making it clear that this awesome work is about you is important when it comes to search engine optimization, don’t let speaking in the third person become too much of a good thing.
Never overuse your name when writing a bio or include it in a way that seems unnatural. Instead, use your name when it is appropriate. By dropping your name too frequently, search engines may think that the article looks suspicious/spammy – or isn’t written very well.
5. Write a story, not a list.
When writing a personal bio, it can be easy to fall into the trap of rattling off accomplishments, but that’s what your resume is for. Your bio should go above and beyond your awards and get to the core of who you are and what you’re about.
Now, that may seem like a tall order, but with a bit of planning, you can pull it off. You can understand how to write a bio from a technical standpoint, but looking at it through this lens will help be your guideline going forward. Ask yourself questions like, “Who is your audience?” or, “What are the main takeaways for your reader?” and “What events in your life best illustrate those main points?”. Turn your biography into a story that engages the reader.
Those who have mastered the steps of how to write a bio spend a lot of time doing this. If you approach writing a bio like a story, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to differentiate yourself from others and truly connect with the reader.
6. Edit ruthlessly, analyze with free tools, and update constantly.
Your online bio is the authoritative source for you. That means that it needs to reflect you in the best light possible. This also means that it should be kept as up-to-date as possible. The proper action plan for how to write a bio is never truly finished because of this.
A lengthy, well-written, and regularly updated piece of content is like search engine gold. So when you complete your initial version of the longer personal bio that you will use on your website, know that you’re not finished.
As you gain more experience or perhaps shift your professional focus, include these changes in your bios. And keep asking other people that you trust to take a look at your main bios to edit them. Writing a bio is an ongoing process that you should never ignore for too long.
Read your bio aloud to yourself, use free editing tools like the Hemingway app , Slickwrite , or any other number of free resources that will help you write a great bio about yourself that keeps readers interested.
7. Link to your work.
Regardless of your profession, it’s likely that you have samples of your work that are pertinent to the audience reading about you. In addition to being an introduction to who you are and what you do, let your personal bio act as a marketing tool. In case you need some ideas, see this good real estate marketing teamwork where you can draw ideas. Many people want to learn how to write a bio effectively, but they don’t spend enough time learning how to use it as a promotion.
You can do this by including links to your product, company, or service. Avoid doing this in a heavy-handed way since nobody wants to read a direct sales pitch when they’re trying to learn about a human being. Mention the product, company, or service in a way that helps you tell your own story in a natural way.
These links should enhance and illustrate what you’re already describing yourself. This shouldn’t be a distraction or take anything away from the main thrust of your personal narrative.
If you have a lot of work and accomplishments to choose from, be selective! Highlight work that’s impressive, relevant, tells your story and makes you proud.
If you don’t currently have much to link to within your personal bio, don’t worry.
Start by learning more about personal branding . Make a note in your calendar, planner, or journal that this is something to work on outside of creating your personal bio. But don’t let this fall by the wayside. Set some time aside in the next few weeks to actively work on fixing this.
Whether it’s writing an article on your company’s website, submitting a post to a site that’s related to your industry, or finally getting your passion project’s website live… do it! And once that is live, get the most out of it by linking to it in your bios. Look to other professionals in your field who have a well-developed online presence for inspiration.
8. Don’t forget to share your contact information.
Even if you have a contact page on your site, or perhaps widgets on your website that link to your social media sites, make a point to include the most direct mode of connection at the end of your personal bio. This could be your email address, a link to your contact page, or a link to your LinkedIn account. When it comes down to it, understanding how to write a biography aids you in creating new and valuable connections.
By including this type of information at the end of your bio, you’re not only letting your audience know how you prefer that they get in touch with you but directing them to another hub that lets them learn even more information about you (if you so choose). Give some thought about what you want your audience to do after they have just been introduced to you through your personal bio.
9. Write a bio for all of your different profiles.
As you build your online presence, you will need different versions of your bio. They’ll vary in length depending on where you place them. So to start, don’t feel like you have to fit your entire life story into one bio.
It’s important to have multiple versions of your bio for two main reasons:
- From a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective, unique content helps your profiles and websites rank better in search results. Why? Because search engines like Google want to provide a broad range of information, not content that seems plagiarized (even if you just plagiarized yourself).
- From a branding perspective, it’s helpful to have different versions of your bio at the ready for different platforms. For example, your Twitter bio will be very short due to character limitations, but your LinkedIn bio (called your summary) can be longer.
Both of these reasons fit into the bigger picture of managing your online presence. A lot goes into this process, which is why we put together this comprehensive online reputation management guide .
10. Use an online tool to ensure the bios on all your profiles are well-branded and optimized to rank high in search engines.
Understanding how to write a bio is a lot easier when you have a little help. At BrandYourself, we’ve built reputation management software that walks you through building an impressive online presence.
It includes a useful personal bio analyzer that helps you ensure your bios across all profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, About.me, your website, etc.) are well-branded and optimized to show up as high as possible on Google. Just submit your profiles and quickly find out which bios need improvement.
If you want to analyze the bios on your own profiles, create a free account now . Just submit your main profiles, then click “optimize” on each one to see a list of ways you can improve them – including enhancing your personal bio.
11. Get help from an expert.
Sometimes you just need a second pair of eyes on your personal bio – or you can have a specialist write it for you. That’s part of the larger reputation management services we provide at BrandYourself.
If you’re interested in working with one of our in-house reputation specialists, we can help. As part of your kickoff strategy session, we’ll help define the most powerful way to talk about yourself, position yourself effectively against others in your industry, and ensure your bios are working for you across all your online profiles and websites. Our reputation specialists understand the ins and outs of how to write a bio that helps you achieve your goals, and it’s one of the first things they go over with you.
To learn more, check out our reputation management services here . Otherwise, don’t hesitate to check out our other blog posts as you continue your journey in building your brand. And if you don’t want to miss out on similar tips and tricks in the future, just scroll up and subscribe.
Personal Biography Examples
1. noah kagan.
Read Noah’s full bio .
This is a good biography example that does a lot of the things we’ve mentioned well. Noah links to his work, writes with a friendly style, and even connects the reader with the people he works with.
The reason why we’re highlighting this bio, though, is that Noah makes it easy to get in touch with him via email. So many biography examples that you might find will include links to social media accounts only, which is fine. However, if you want to build up a fast connection with someone who just found you, email is the way to go.
Not only that, but because he wrote this bio in a fun and conversational style (the little mention about taco gift cards), it actually encourages people to reach out. Noah is great at building connections with people, and this biography example is no exception.
2. Katerina Jeng
Read Katerina’s full bio .
The biography example from Katerina Jeng illustrates how to introduce yourself like a real person while demonstrating professionalism at the same time. Katerina covers her background, useful traits, current work, and hobbies – all while keeping things light and conversational.
The balance in this bio example can be tough to replicate, but it’s worth exploring if it fits your writing style.
Going too casual or stuffy can leave a bad impression professionally and won’t give you the best possible opportunity to stand out. This is a good example of how to write a bio that does both.
3. Barack & Michelle Obama
Read the full bios .
On Barack and Michelle Obama’s page, you can find textbook biography examples that show you how to write your bio in the third person without making it awkward to read. So many people struggle with this, so hopefully, these bio examples will make things easier by seeing it in action.
Both of these bios do a great job of not going overboard and varying the kind of third-person mentions you can include. This makes your biography more natural to read while still ensuring that it has the best chance of being seen when someone looks you up.
4. Darren Rowse
Read Darren’s full bio .
Using ProBlogger as a biography example for our tips is a perfect fit. When you check out the page, you’ll see that Darren wrote this bio to be comprehensive but also lead viewers right into his offerings (very smart).
He is mindful of his word count and makes sure to expand a bit more after he’s done talking about his background by continuing into what he’s working on now. This biography is a perfect example of how not being too brief can help the bio you wrote rank well in search engines while also catching the reader up if it’s their first time hearing of you.
5. Tim Ferriss
Read Tim’s full bio .
Tim is a master at promoting his work, and when he wrote his bio, he took full advantage of the opportunity.
Throughout Tim’s bio, he seamlessly links to his work, credentials, social media accounts, and books he’s written. If you had never heard of him before, he makes it quite easy to get up to speed and find out about his work.
One thing we like about this biography example is that he alternates between lists and paragraphs to help break things up. So many times, people write their bio as an extremely dense and text-heavy monster that ultimately never gets read fully. If you give the reader a break (especially in this age of skimming), more will be consumed in the long run.
6. Pete Kistler
Read Pete’s full bio .
Pete’s bio works in both his personal & professional story. Instead of being just a list of facts, it includes the story of how he was mistaken for a drug dealer in Google — and how it became the turning point in his career that led to BrandYourself .
Thank you for your post. A bio accompanied with a powerful and enticing resume are your two most important sales tools.
When presenting these documents you only have on chance, first impressions count. Your blog goes a long way in creating the correct image with a bio.
This info was very helpful. Is there any info on creating a health bio?
Thanks for the input. One way I was able to create my own personal brand was by using a new website called personavita.com. it was really helpful in bringing all my thoughts ideas and accomplishments together. It builds credibility and others can validate my work. You can also create different Bios based on who you are showing it to. ( Future/existing employers, family, friends etc.) I think it really sets me apart.
Thank you for the tips. Being in the process of publishing my first book I’ve had to generate a bio and despite the fact that I call myself a writer I had a tough time with it. This site has given me a much better feel for the whole thing. Keep an ey on my site for the updated version.
I had the same problem lol I call myself a writer, author but this at first was so freaking difficult to write until I found this web site to break it completly down to like what first grade level for me. lol now it makes so much since. I’m glad we got it. 🙂
I know more much than the bio rules of the kindes of the people
Thank you. These tips are easy to follow and I didn’t know about the 3 bio rule! I really enjoyed the breakdown of the other bio and used that to help me get started writing mine.
Thanks this was nice and simpe and easy to use.
Thanks! As a novice this was really helpful.
Thanks for posting this tool to the web. Over and over again, I recreate the wheel college course after college course and more recently for my introduction into the civilian arena. I am more confident now that I have this standardized method of writing bios in hand. Army Strong!
@Craig: Thanks, glad you loved it!
@Martin: Absolutely! Your bio is one of the most powerful tools to control first impressions. It’s got to pack a concise and serious punch.
@EASanders: The principles of bio writing apply to all fields. Think about what you’ve done that is noteworthy, and say it in as few words as possible 🙂
@Tim: Good luck with your book, Tim!
@LaKaye: I’m glad both of my bio articles could help. Sometimes it takes inspiration from other people to compellingly talk about ourselves.
@Rose: Thanks for the kind words!
@Martie: We’ve got a bunch of other excellent articles on resumes, cover letters, interviews, etc. if you’re looking to work on your entire career toolkit.
@Sapp: Great! The beauty of your bio is that once you consciously sit down and write it once, then you have a strong foundation that you can tweak for the rest of your life.
– Pete Kistler CEO, Brand-Yourself.com @pete_kistler and @brandyourself
Go get ’em tiger!
Thanks for Guding ….. Wonderful tips..Thanks a lot
hi thanks so much for this wonderful guide. am so grateful.
great article – thanks for the tips! you guys rock!
The tips are so helpful . Thanks
thank you for the tips
great tips it helps me alot….
Thank you for this amazing and helpful tip.
supper is ready yum, come and get your biscuits!
tips are very useful. thank you so much
The best I’ve see yet
thank you so much this will really help me get in to the film fest from cruisinwithkenny
useful tips for me
thanx helped me alot
That’s what I looked for . Thanx for that ♡♥
if you want to make a biography you need to know all about you ,family , and friends so you can write a biography
Really good information…especially the getting feedback part. While we may not want to hear it, we NEED it sometimes. Good friends who know what they’re doing can be very valuable in this situation.
So many things I wouldn’t even consider. Thanks for the tips. They are timely, since I am just going through a total rebrand!
You raise a good point, in fact you are ‘fixing’ something right now. You are adding your unique perspective as an ‘innovator’ in the information age that can assist other unlikely writers to get branded and ranked. Maybe it would be a great idea to answer questions in Quora, Yahoo Answers and the like. That can be your links to your ‘works’.
Nice article. thanks for share.
Surely in your many years of experience there are some good/funny/genius problems/solutions or stories you’ve lived or caused. Share them. 🙂
Thanks! TIps #3, #5, and #6 were especially helpful for me. I also find useful this article on how to write a biography so I recommend reading it as well. I also find really helpful suing samples. At least, it’s really helpful for me!
Thank you so much for this great blog. You wrote lot of valuable information about how to write Personal Biography . I like your post. I agree to all of your points that you have mentioned.
For me, the key to this article is section 6. Anymore, I DON’T think the expectation is a list of your accomplishments. I think the people who make the decisions based on biographies are looking for something different, a way to truly distinguish one person from another. A list says one thing about a person–a STORY says something much different. It SHOWS you are creative. A story gives you a lot of flexibility and opportunity to qualify yourself; a list is often reduced to a quantity. Dylan makes an excellent point about ‘sources’ or achievement; in a technician’s role, resolution can be rote, but my experience is solving problems presents lots of opportunities to get creative. David also makes an outstanding point: even if you truly don’t have anything that qualifies as an accomplishment, in this day and age, there are numerous ways to create demonstrable achievement. I believe that’s what the Gig Economy is all about. Dave mentions two specifics; there are dozens more opportunities. This could be an important consideration if you have been stuck for a while in a job that TRULY sucks. I’ve been in those. Then, the story REALLY comes in handy–’cause you don’t have to dwell exclusively on work related stuff. Never hurts to show people you are compassionate, or generous, or kind.
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A character profile is a detailed biography of a fictional character that covers everything from a character's age and appearance to their relationships. By answering the questions on a character profile, an author can better understand that character's life, personality, motivations, and story function in a novel.
Biographies are how we learn information about another human being's life. Whether you want to start writing a biography about a famous person, historical figure, or an influential family member, it's important to know all the elements that make a biography worth both writing and reading.
The bio should give the person reading it a way to personally connect with the character. It should not matter whether or not they are a protagonist or an antagonist; the bio needs to provide information that makes that person more human. These bios don't have to occur on the screen.
Generally, a character bio includes basic information about the character, such as their name, appearance, and behavior, but it can also include topics such as backstory and motivations. Bios can look different depending on what they are being used for, the genre of the story, and the other players' preferences. Why is a Character Bio Important?
There are several ways in which to delve into characters, such as writing character biographies in the first person - your character's voice. (I offer various templates and examples in my book Savvy Characters Sell Screenplays! ). Use whichever exercise works best for you and your writing style.
A character biography is the sum total of everything you can think of about one of your characters. It all goes in a separate document to which you can refer when this person is involved in your story. If your character is a language, the biography is your dictionary. Who deserves a character biography?
Write down the character's basic life statistics. This is general information about the character that helps you create a more detailed profile of their personality. Basic information includes age, birthday, current residence, and job.  Then use this basic information to get more specific.
steps to use a character bio template to improve your character's development: Start with a good idea of your character's creation, like who they are and what their purpose is in your story Know your character's main goal, purpose, motivation, and flaw Begin filling out the basic section in your character bio template
Writing a thorough character bio can help you create dynamic, believable characters with depth. Knowing about who your character is, both on and off the page, can make writing your story easier. Let's say your protagonist gets on an elevator with a rival colleague, but you're not sure how to write the rest of the scene.
The first step in writing a short bio is deciding on a voice. For our purposes, choosing a voice involves deciding whether you are writing in the first or third person. Writing in the first person means using the words "I" and "me", and writing in the third person means using your name.
How to write a character bio Below we've included a list of questions to serve as a character bio template. Answering these questions about your character will help you gain insight into that character's depths, feelings, perspectives, goals, hopes, dreams, weaknesses, desires, and other aspects that will inform the plot development. 1.
A character bio needs to act like an extension of the writer's self, drawing from themselves and their real life in general. It is a part of them but it's not them. By adding color the writer is able to work multidimensionally between building the character and partially being the character.
Here are 3 simple steps to get started: 1. Gather the information you need to know. Before you write anything, you need to know who or what you're writing about. The more specific you are, the more personalized you can make your content. Here's our suggestions for writing a character bio: Character name: [character's name]
It's generally a good idea to include: Your name Your current role or professional tagline Your company or personal brand Your goals and aspirations Your 2-3 most impressive and relevant achievements One quirky fact about you (if it's appropriate to the site) What to include in a bio at work
All that you need to do in creating the online biography generators is to fill in a few details such as the name, gender, social class, nationality, religion, education etc. of the characters. With the help of these details, the generator automatically generates the template.
The character bio template will help you to make sure that your characters seem real and authentic. You should fill the character bio template for all your characters. If you recognize that you need to change some attributes of a character, don't forget to update the template as well.
It is best to keep this type of personal bio between 300 and 500 words. Shorter bios are meant to capture the reader's attention and encourage them to read the rest of your resume. Keep it simple and engaging. If you are writing your bio for your professional website, it should be around 1,500 to 2,000 words.
Plan to write 500 words - minimum. If you have 1,500 to 2,000 words in you, that's even better. From a branding perspective, you may have a different take on the length of your bio. Perhaps you would prefer to keep things short and sweet or don't feel the immediate need for a 1,500-word count. If so, that's fine too.
The process of writing a biography can be easier with a map to follow. You can follow these steps to write a biography: 1. Research your subject. The first step to writing a great biography is to spend time conducting extensive research on the person you're writing about, their career, their family and other information about them.
1. Choose the appropriate name and professional title. Writing a professional bio starts by choosing the right name and professional titles to use. Different names and titles can change depending on the purpose and audience of the bio. For example, some people choose to use a different first name in their bio instead of their given name.