Lesson Five: Putting It All TogetherA Lesson by
A final character should span from Age to history, from weapons to threads.
If you're a fan of character sheets, you should've been able to finish the entire sheet by now. Your only blanks that I didn't cover might be age and... I'm not sure what else. Age should be decided by looks and role, as a very old man will probably not be a good scout or sprinter (in most cases). For agility and speed-based jobs, youth is a usual, from teen to thirties. For fighting and strength or skill, experience and therefore some extent of age is a must (being 20-50 or 60 on average). Also, be aware that your character, unless immortal, is going to fall victim to aging effects (while immortals may get older, they won't show it). If your story spans over four years, your character will go from 25 to 29, and a mortal may get a wrinkle or two, more or less muscle, they might learn new skills, and they might get kids. But, on to the character sheet.
Example of CS: (An actualy character of mine whom I love dearly)
(Name, Age, Sex, and Race are the foundations, and you could always add nationality according to setting)
Name: Wolfgang Drakniav
(Looks, clothing, and tools are the primary level after foundation, and should be detailed)
Appearance: Wolfgang has shoulderblade-length black hair with amber-rimmed, emerald-green eyes. He is very stocky at an average height with a barrel chest and heavily muscled body, his limbs are just a tocuh short, and this allows him to be comfortable on all fours. Though he has many scars, the most noticeable are the slash across the back of his neck, a bullet scar close to his heart, and a slim wedge missing from his left ear near the middle. He carries a celtic tree of life and wolf tattoos that stretch across his entire back. His hands and feet are heavily calloused, but he is still quick and quite strong.
Clothing: Wolfgang's signature outfit is form-fitting black, simple pants with a red sash about his waist and a white dress shirt (usually kept open to the middle of his chest) and rarely socks or shoes (though he'll wear black hiking boots if anything). Whatever he wears, it's always like his usual outfit: dress shirt, flexible and simple pants, and always a wide belt or red sash.
Tools/Weapons: Wolfgang doesn't primarily carry any weapons, and normally uses just his knowledge of martial arts. If on hand, though, he knows how to shoot and use staves or blades.
(Personality and History are the finishing touches, and of course any miscellaneous)
Personality: Wolfgang has two personalities (multiple personality disorder) and both are slightly schizophrenic and even a touch insane. Wolfgang as himself is playful and puppy-like with a love for pizza and pure childlike fun. He knows when to be serious, but even in dire situations, he can have fun fighting, surviving, and keeping everyone's and his own spirits up. His other personality, Blair (characterized by the change of his eyes from amber-rim green to green-rim amber) is a loner and very passionate Russian patriot. He has a bit of a nasty sense of humor, and often scares away Wolfgang's friends. Blair loves to fight, takes joy in killing, and considers his opposite personality to be a burden or a little brother. Both talk to the other in their mind, but out loud.
History: Wolfgang is the youngest (and least-militaristic as himself) son of a Russian General, out of 15 sons. He is not very close to any of his brothers except for his best friends and rivals Mikhail and Eain. From birth to 15, he was very normal and just a touch on the playful side with no remorse for those he was forced to kill (as his family was often under attack). At 14, he became a Russian assassin much to his parents' grief and his favorite brothers' pride. At 16, the deaths of four of his brothers and a shot that almost killed him caused his mind and spirit to split. The innocence, kindness, and childlike curiosity remained with Wolfgang (as well as puppy-like behavior) and the bloodlust, anger, and sadist behavior went to his new side: Blair. Since then, Wolfgang has been thrown in asylum after asylum, and always manages to shred the strait jackets and escape solitary confinement with the knowledge that his beloved cousin, Jacklyn, will help him get back home (as he's always helped her throughout their lives).
For those of you that roleplay on chatrooms or forums, don't just give the character sheet to your partner(s) because it takes all the fun out of learning one another's characters. For those of you writing alone, let your character's past and personality slowly become apparent, as it makes them much more interesting, and have your reader learn about them through the entire story, not just half or a quarter of it. Always be sure to describe your character when you introduce them, but know that you can't tell name or age just from sight, and it's impractical (and a little gross) for a character to never change their clothes.
There you have it, and I hope this all hekped you out. Enjoy your writing and remember: puctuation, grammar, spelling, colorful dialogue and descriptions (try azure or cobalt instead of just blue, makes you sound smarter), and a gripping story. The pen is mightier than the sword!
Have at it!
Added on February 5, 2011
Last Updated on February 5, 2011