Quick Character Notes

Writing character profiles is a very useful thing to do if you want to maintain consistency in your characters’ background, personality, likes, appearance, and pretty much everything.  In the writing course I’m doing, we had to make very brief point form notes about a character in our notebooks.  I decided to do this on one of my characters in Journey to Ariadne.  I’ve already done a character profile in a different way, but I thought this was quite thorough.

So, I’m going to share it with you.

Paolo Fernandes


  • Age: 51 (born January 7, 2112)
  • Height: 176 cm
  • Size: slim
  • State of health: A bit of stress, but healthy
  • Assets: Good physique, full head of hair
  • Flaws: Lower bone density due to Mars gravity
  • Sexuality: Straight
  • Gait: Confident, long stride
  • Voice: Middle, pleasant sounding


  • Intelligence: very high
  • Temperament: Kind and understanding, but has a sense of control, good charisma
  • Happiness: Family, job, swimming
  • Unhappiness: Stress from Earth situation and long work hours
  • Attitudes: Dislikes capitalism, loves peace
  • Self-knowledge: Knows he gets worked up about intrusion into his projects
  • Unconscious aspects: Constantly checks his hair


  • Family: Wife Irina, no children
  • Friends: David Martin, Mari Watanabe, William de Boer
  • Colleagues: Ben Taylor, Gianni Marino, Mari Watanabe, William de Boer, Jean Fourier, Malika Said, Gary Fitzsimmons, Carol Parent, Jan Goerz
  • Birthplace: Manaus, Brazil
  • Education: PhD in geology from Brasilia Academy of Science
  • Hobbies: Swimming, guitar, reading
  • Beliefs: Atheism, democratic socialism
  • Values: Equality for all, fairness
  • Lifestyle: He works a lot, but spends time with his wife and does a lot of swimming.  Reads on his breaks.

Personal history

  • 2130 – Graduated high school
  • 2138 – PhD in geology
  • 2142 – met David Martin
  • 2144 – Went to Mars – geologic survey
  • 2147 – Joined Ariadne Project, geologist
  • 2148 – War in Brazil, father was killed
  • 2153 – Principle geologist of Ariadne Project
  • 2158 – Married Irina Kuznetsova
  • 2159 – Chairman of Ariadne Project

This was done in about 10 minutes.  In the exercise, it was recommended, that many of the attributes should be thought of quickly, rather than spending a lot of time dwelling on it.  This way, the character will be more realistic, and the character’s personality starts coming through.  The character helps create him or herself.

I’ll be doing this for the rest of the main characters and some minor characters, but I won’t be posting them.  How do you develop characters?

Also, just a reminder that the second What Will You Write? has begun! Check it out if you haven’t done so.

8 thoughts on “Quick Character Notes”

      1. I started making cheat sheets using a notebook and an actual fountain pen. I’m fighting not to start writing again, because I have all this other stuff to take care of. Maybe my characters will improve this time round.

        1. I use a notebook, too. But not a fountain pen. However, I use a black pen. I have several colours, but it seems that only black ink works well in the hot and humid Japanese summers.

  1. I like to do these, but it’s only after I’ve created the character that I tend to get to do them. My characters often write themselves into the story. (Usually, my revision process involves cutting out at least a handful.) This is a neat outline, though – concise and straightforward. Some character sketch things can be so drawn out and redundant that it puts me off them altogether. I may have to use these from now on. :]

  2. I started writing a story about four people and got about a third of the way through before I realized the genders were all switched. Then they changed personalities almost 180 degrees. They went from sort of normal people dragged into an abnormal situation to four murderers considered monsters in our world dragged into a situation where they were considered heroes for the same characteristics. I’m fascinated and can hardly wait to see what develops further. I’ve done the character breakdown like you show here, and then had to add pages as they changed. Makes me wonder just who’s writing this story…

    1. I’m sure the characters are writing it. That’s what’s great about writing. You think you know the story, but as you get to know your characters, they take more control. It makes them more real.

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