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In Scene Character Worksheet

Updated on August 17, 2012

The following is a list of questions that you should know the answers to for your main characters in every scene you write. You may not come out and say all of these things but it’s important that you know the full spectrum of your character’s experiences.

(I used one gender modifier to keep it simple, because even though ‘they’ has been used as a singular pronoun since Shakespeare it never fails to spark an eye roll or two.)

Motivation:

  • What is she trying to accomplish?
  • How important is it?
  • How does her goal affect the scene?
  • How does her goal affect the story?
  • How much is she willing to risk to achieve her goal?
  • What actions is she taking to achieve it?
  • Is this scene conjuring any memories for her?
  • Are those memories affecting her actions?
  • Is her goal working with or against the other (if there is one) character’s goal?
  • Does this goal compliment the overall theme of the story?

Feelings:

  • What emotions are she feeling right now?
  • Do she know that?
  • Do she know why?
  • Do you know why?
  • Does the reader know why?
  • Is it consistent with the scene before and after this one?
  • Is it consistent with her motivation?
  • Does she wish she were somewhere else?

Physicality

  • Where is she positioned?
  • Is it dark or light?
  • Sitting? Standing? Laying down?
  • Where are her limbs?
  • Is she holding anything?
  • Is she close to another character?
  • What is she wearing?
  • What is she touching?
  • Is she cold? Hot? Wet? Itchy? Hungry?
  • Is she in any pain?
  • Are her muscles stiff?
  • How does her voice sound? Even? Slurred? Cracking?

The senses

  • What does she see?
  • Hear?
  • Smell?
  • Feel?
  • Taste?

I hope this helped, if you feel I missed anything feel free to let me know in the comments. I would love to improve the list!

Comments

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    • ar.colton profile imageAUTHOR

      Mikal Smith 

      6 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      That's a good one Whowas. Thanks!

    • profile image

      whowas 

      6 years ago

      That is an excellent list of things to consider in writing a character that is believable.

      I would add that it is the tiny observational details that bring truth to fiction and the inner life of a character can be deepend further by asking one other question:

      What deep memories does her present experience conjure in the back of her mind?

      You may not write anything explicit but it will add a real depth dimension to her.

      :)

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Voted up and useful. I'll probably use it next time I'm in a play.

    • ar.colton profile imageAUTHOR

      Mikal Smith 

      6 years ago from Vancouver, B.C.

      Yes, consolidation is key! hundreds of books are written on the same subject because different people feel they have a better way to tell it. I love lists like this for character, plot or scene development. It's such a quick way to make sure you're on track.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 

      6 years ago

      This is great. The information you have provide can, of course, be found in many of the writing reference book, but to have it in a list is outstanding. Will reference it often. Thank you for sharing. Voted up and useful.

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