Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Book Bible: The Character Tab

Today is Part II of a three part series on Book Bibles. You'll want to bookmark this series to refer to later on. Sometimes I get information that I know I'll use later. Enjoy! (Sharon H.)


Welcome back! Yesterday we talked about setting up your Book Bible in a notebook with dividers for certain sections. And we discussed what goes into the Notes, Plot, and any other tabs you put into your Book Bible. Today, we are talking about the Character tab.


Here is where I keep all the character sketches, notes, etc for every major character in my book. The hero, heroine, the villain, and any side characters that are important. Like in my series, The Kinir Elite Chronicles, the Kinir Elite are a team of six warrior elves. While Derac is really the main character of the story, I have sketches made up for the entire team as they are very important to the plot. It is up to you and how you write on how many of these you actually make. I know many authors who only make sketches for the hero, heroine, and villain.

I also keep any other notes about the character in this section. I like to “talk” to my characters as if they were real people (and yes, they talk back!) So I have snippets of conversations saved or interview questions and things like that here as well that have added personality traits for my characters.

Now, for the side characters that appear but are not all that important like shop keepers, people they might run into once or twice only, and other characters like that, I use a notebook paper and write down their name, if they have one, and any little notes I put into the story as I write. For example, I’ll have “Maleena: Derac’s first wife; died in a fire; long blonde hair;” But that’s it. I don’t need a full sketch on her because she’s dead and only exists in Derac’s memory. She’s important enough that I need to remember that she has blonde hair, but doesn’t warrant a full sketch of her own.

The Character Sketch

Here is a black character sketch, with explanations for you to use. I originally started using sketch sheets like this one after reading “First Draft in Thirty Days” by Karen S. Wiesnder. I’ve edited the one I actually use to fit my needs – as should any writer.

CHARACTER: (Full Name)

  • Character Role: (Hero/Villian/Etc)
  • Nickname:
  • Birth Date/Place:


  • Age:
  • Race:
  • Eye Color:
  • Hair Color/Style:
  • Build (height/weight):
  • Skin Tone:
  • Tattoos/Scars/Markings:
  • Skin Tone:
  • Style of Dress:
  • Weapons:
  • Magical Powers:
  • Characteristics/Mannerisms: (This where you can add those little twitches and quirks about your character – like they pop their knuckles when nervous for an example.)


(List/Describe your characters personality. I do this in a bulleted list but you can write it out as a paragraph if you like. Mention things like – Quick temper, Battle hardened warrior, Devoted to family, etc.)


(List/Describe your characters background, their upbringing. Again, I do this in a bulleted list but you can write it out as a paragraph if you like. Mention things like – where they were raise, what type of family do they have (parents/siblings), anything that’s important that happened to them in the past basically.)


(List/Describe your characters job and what type of education they have. Put as much detail as you like here about it. Did they go to college? What special skills do they have? What does their job actually entail?)


(List/Describe the internal conflicts your character deals with during the book. Now I have this section a few times on a character’s sheet – once for each book. This is where you can talk about your character struggling with say, the loss of a spouse/child or some fear they have that may prevent them from reach their goal in the story.)


(List/Describe the external conflicts your character faces in the book. This is things like the villain, or even the weather. Stuff that is outside the character and his/her control. Again, I repeat this for each book in a series.)


(Use this section for anything else you want to add.)

Type it up, print it out, and put it in your notebook. Repeat for each character!

If you have pictures or drawings of your characters, don’t forget to add those here! I was able to hire an artist to draw sketches of my characters for me. You can see them at the website for the Kinir Elite,

Now, as you write the book(s) you will no doubt have things to add to this sketch. I simply write them down by hand on the paper or on a sticky note. Yes, I have quite a few hand written notes all over the place. I update when the page gets too hard for me to read without getting lost and print out a new copy. I do like having the notebook, but I don’t want to print a new page for one line of new information. So, I wait until I run out of space or it’s too jumbled for me to find what I want before I update it.

And we are done for the day. Come back again tomorrow and I’ll explain the rest of the Settings in the Book Bible.

If you have any questions about something I didn’t explain well enough, please leave a comment here. I’ll be sure to visit all day to answer your questions.

Anastasia V. Pergakis lives with her husband and two year old son in Columbus, Georgia. She is a high fantasy writer, enchanting adults to remember their imagination is not gone just because they grew up. Her series, The Kinir Elite Chronicles, follows the Kinir Elite, a team of warrior elves protecting Kinir and her people. Cleanse Fire, the first book, is being submitted at the moment.

Anastasia is also the owner of Anastasia Creatives, a web design company helping the "starving artists" and small business owner have a solid web presence through quality websites. You can learn more about this at

And if all that wasn't enough, Anastasia recently started a new venture called Beyond Worlds. It is a place to highlight fantasy and sci-fi authors and their works. It is a division of, originally started by Charlene A. Wilson (, author of Cornerstone Deep. You can visit Beyond Worlds at


  1. I do something similar. I always keep a notebook specific to what I'm writing. Not only does it keep my characters description straight, to make sure I start and end with the same eye color, it helps as reference to their background.

  2. I can't say the same, but then, that's why I wanted to hear Ana's solution to this problem.

    But keeping detailed records, like in police procedures manuals, does make sense, and probably might keep me from having to write an extra 20-30,000 words I have to cut later because it doesn't fit.

  3. L.A. that is very true. It's all in the details. I find it very intersting that I can't keep some details straight in my own books, but the readers would be sure to point all the tiny mistakes out if I didn't keep good notes!

    Sharon, that is also a good point. With any type of research this type of system will make sure everything is all in one place and easy to find when you need it! :)