50 Steps to a Complete Character Study

50 Steps to a Complete Character Study

Ah, characters.

Whether readers are supposed to love or hate them, theyre absolutely critical to a good story. But writing them is not as easy as one might suppose especially since the whole sprung out of my head fully formed! thing is total BS.

Thats where the complete character study comes in, a full-scale assault on who, what, when, where, how and why your character is and will be.

The other day I was cranking out character analyses for my latest novel in the Broken Moon series, and I realized – hey. Ive shared an easier way to write a character study, but I havent yet shared the tips on how to do the study once you come right down to it.

There are tons of resources about this online, but Ive yet to find one as comprehensive as the one my editor sent me when I was first learning this art. So I thought Id pass it along.

Ur welcome. Without further ado, here are 50 steps to take and questions to answer for a complete character study.

50 Steps and Questions for a Complete Character Study

  1. Name
  2. Age
  3. Height
  4. Weight
  5. Build
  6. Hair color
  7. Hair highlights color (we all have them in the sun)
  8. Eye color
  9. Lash color
  10. Complexion
  11. Complexion color when blushing
  12. Hands and feet description
  13. Scars
  14. Medical conditions
  15. Tics and quirks
  16. Style of speaking
  17. Slang terms used
  18. Personality traits (talkative, judgmental, reserved)
  19. Clothing
  20. Accessories (jewelry, weapons, knapsacks, etc.)
  21. Treasures (a coin from a fountain, a letter from the dead)
  22. Parents
  23. Siblings
  24. Other family members
  25. Pets
  26. Friends
  27. Enemies
  28. Crushes
  29. True loves
  30. Beloved dead (thank you for this term, Sarah J. Maas)
  31. Skills
  32. Hobbies
  33. Trauma
  34. Major sources of grief
  35. Major sources of shame
  36. What comforts your character?
  37. What games do they like to play?
  38. Whats their favorite color?
  39. Favorite food?
  40. How do they interact with nature?
  41. City or country?
  42. Can they take a joke?
  43. How do they move/climb/run?
  44. How do they react to others pain?
  45. How do they deal with negative emotions (e.g. jealousy, bitterness)?
  46. How do they show positive emotions?
  47. What would motivate them to step up?
  48. Do they have good self-esteem?
  49. What would other people like to see in them?
  50. What would they like to see in themselves?

Thats it! Not all of these are easy, Ill grant you that. Character studies take time. When Im doing a new one, it usually takes me at least half an hour, and thats assuming I already have a lot of the plot and other characters fleshed out. New characters can take up to an hour or more, and sometimes take several stabs.

Dont worry. Youll get there.

I also find The Emotion Thesaurus to be SO helpful when writing character analyses. Real, live humans do all sorts of weird things: they blink too fast, their eyes bug out, they pick at their fingers, they scrape the dirt with their toes, they twist their hair, they tap their knees with their hands, etc. If you want to know what it looks and feels like for a character to be upset, nervous, lovelorn, guilty or any other emotion, this is the tool for you.

Start Your Fiction Writing Career with Copywriting

Hands down my favorite tool for becoming a better fiction writer, though, is copywriting. Does being a full-time writer automatically make you a fiction boss? No, or I would be richer than Stephen King I mean, Ive been doing this thing for a while.

But I firmly, firmly, firmly (did I say firmly?) believe that the best way to become a fiction writer is to start by writing professionally. That way, youre cranking out words each and every day, honing a voice you can use for fiction and learning what its like to write full time for a living. Its the best, and actually gives you the time to work on your novel. Trust me; Ive written four since my two children were born, if that gives you any indication of the amount of freedom I now have.

Okay, Ill stop ranting now. Your path is up to you, my friend. If you want to learn more, check out the Free Resource Library by clicking the box below!
Click here to subscribe

looking for something else?

Here are some of our most popular pages and resources

digital marketing & content creation


join the tribe
& start writing!

read the latest
on the blog

want to write well, connect on insta,
and build an amazing audience for life?

get the 30-day email course for expert writing and blogging tips!