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Work in Progress: Character Dossier/Card Development

Discussion in 'Literary Arts' started by Seanu Reaves, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. Seanu Reaves

    Seanu Reaves The Ravenous Cobra

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    1. Get either a blank piece of paper and a writing utensil or open a new document on your preferred word processor. (Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, etc.)

    2. Consider your concept, try and find a general theme or idea that you are building around. This can be as general as an archetype (a knight) or as minute as one detail (a scar, eye color, name)

    3. This is where internet access comes into play, if you have internet you can look up “character dossier” or “Character card template” if not, I will provide you with a template on the next page. Since different templates have different levels of depth, don’t be afraid to take something out if it isn’t fitting to the setting. Example: What is his/her earliest memory? (While interesting to consider, unless it has importance to the story or how they interact with people it really doesn’t matter.

    4. Copy the empty template onto your paper or into your word document. Personally I prefer writing the Descriptive Categories (Name, Age, Clothes, etc.) on lined paper with spacing. See image.

    5. Write down any relevant information that you have to start with for your concept in the relevant section.

    6. Some of these fields require context of the setting. If the setting isn’t completely fleshed out, use this time developing your character to world build. Example: If they were a soldier, what kind of society did they live in? Was he a trained rank and file soldier, special unit or training? These questions can help you create the world this character lives in.

    7. As you fill out the template, consider how each aspect of the character you have down interacts with each other. Example: Height and weight are often proportional and influence how a character sees the world. A six foot seven warrior is going to be strong and heavy, so the way he sees something like a cup is different than the three-foot-tall Halfling he could be adventuring with.

    8. Do not be afraid to revise earlier decisions if you get a new idea. Example: Changing the age to let the character have more or less experience. If you decided you wanted to make a colonel with a history of service, he probably shouldn’t be the youngest someone can join the military in that universe.
     
  2. Restless

    Restless Well-Known Member

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    Does the character have an occupation or job? If so, is it related to their role in story, or simply a source of income?

    What about a motivation? Is the character selfish, and only looking to make money? Or is he/she in it for money, but intending to use the money for the benefit of a loved one (i.e. pay for medical care)?

    What other factors play a role in the character's perception of the world they inhabit? Is he/she sick, and has a greater appreciation for the little things most ignore? Are they arrogant and haughty? Or shy, or reserved?
     
  3. Seanu Reaves

    Seanu Reaves The Ravenous Cobra

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    Alright, I will be sure to add steps to mention to think about that.

    I wonder if I should put in the example Dossier before the actual instructions
     
  4. Restless

    Restless Well-Known Member

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    I would only supply a basic template, and leave options in the instructions.

    Ex:

    Name-
    Gender-
    Age-
    Race/Ethnicity-
    History-

    --------------------

    The history could be used to explain the character's role in the story, anyways.
     
  5. Seanu Reaves

    Seanu Reaves The Ravenous Cobra

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    Example Dossier

    Name: (Birthname)

    Nicknames or Titles: (What they can be called or go by)

    Age: (How old they are, if you really wanted too you can say “appears insert age here” as well.)

    Ethnicity/ Nationality:

    Gender:

    Sexuality: (Can include relationship status)

    Religion:

    Affiliations: (Anyone who he would say he works with or for)

    Profession: (What exactly do they do?)

    Afflictions: (Physical or Mental disabilities)

    Appearance: (Physical appearance can be broken down to eye and hair color, but better to keep the description in a block, except specifics like height and weight.)

    Height:

    Weight:

    Personality: (How they interact with the world)

    Views: (How they see the world and their situation in it.)

    Equipment: (More a staple of genre’s where the character will be engaging in activities with specialized equipment. Example is combat, heists, house calls (for doctors), etc.

    Background: (Level of detail can vary but often is the longest part of the dossier, where you justify the way they are.)
     

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