Character Checklist

Character Checklist

See also: 15 Days to a Stronger Character

Latest post on Characters: 3 Types of Character Arcs: Choosing the Best for your Novel


  1. Name or Nickname: Does the character’s name evoke something about him or her? Does it resonate in the story?
  2. Character Roles and Jobs. Have you fully explored the possibilities of family and community roles? Are they working at cliche jobs or fascinating jobs?


  4. Inner Character. How’s your characters’ intelligence, intuition, curiosity, honesty and spirituality?
  5. Character Desires Answer the all-important question: What does s/he want?
  6. Characters Flaws and Paradoxes. Perfect characters are boring: mix it up!
  7. This I Believe . Write an essay in the character’s voice about what s/he believes.
  8. Why? Character motivation. Characters don’t act randomly. Why is your character doing this right now?
  9. Characters’ Backstory Interesting characters have back story. What’s your character hiding

  10. Explore your character’s backstory, life and emotions more fully in this book.

    Or if you’re at the start of a novel, refine the emotional arc with this book.StartYourNovel300x200


  11. Character Descriptions. Bland descriptions are out. Go for memorable.
  12. Setting Details that Reveal Character. OK – what kind of junk does this character have it his/her house or apartment?
  13. Body Language. 55% of communication is body language. Get him or her moving to help communication.
  14. Characters’ Voices Voices can enhance our image of a character.
  15. Likeable, Sympathetic Characters. Is this a character I want to spend time with? Do I care what happens to him/her?
  16. Consistent Characters . Have you given the same reader (with all his/her complexity) page after page?

  18. Villains Don’t Always Wear Black
  19. Supporting Characters. Who is walking around with your main character?
  20. Sports Novels. Are your characters cliche jocks? Why?

Do you find this list helpful? See other posts on Character below.

13 responses to “Character Checklist”

  1. […] Post a comment Tags  character, characterization, conflict, dialogue, inner arc Doing the character checklist this week, I realized that I hadn’t written much about dialogue. Oh, I have a couple […]

  2. thanks for making this. I got some characters that are floating in development right now and this helped immensely in organizing my thoughts.