Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Young Adult Character Chart

In a perfect world, I'd be able to figure out how to make a downloadable pdf of this file, but in the meantime, feel free to copy and paste. There are a lot of good character charts out there for writers, but few that I felt were very thorough for children or YA characters, so here's the one I use.

Young Adult/Middle Grade Fantasy Character Chart:

Full name ___________________________________ Nickname ___________________

Physical Appearance

Age Height Weight Eye Color Glasses?

Hair color and description

Looks more like: Mom Dad Grandparent Other

Most distinctive physical trait

Any deformities or handicaps?

General health?

Circle all that apply for appearance only: Strong Weak Imposing Squatty Ugly

Memorable Forgettable Striking Bright-eyed Sloppy Neat

Fashionable Dated Rebellious Trendy Skinny Fat

Bookish Attractive Strange Sickly Arrogant Shy

Add any other descriptions


Parents’ names

Living? Are they involved in character’s life?

Does character live with parents? Why/not?

Parenting/discipline style?

Circle all that apply for this character’s parents: Passive Involved Patient

Understanding Impatient Cruel Strict Loving

Helpful Selfish Worried Tolerant Judgmental

Sentimental Traditional Dictatorial Weak Overwhelmed

Add any other descriptions

Siblings and ages

What is the character’s relationship with each sibling?

Does the character fit in with his family or stand out?

Which family member has the best chance of succeeding in life?

Which family member has the least chance?

Is this a functional or dysfunctional family?

Circle any description that fits the family in general, regardless of whether your character

is like them or not: Ambitious Humorous Spoiled Hard Working

Lazy Kind Intelligent Wealthy

Powerful Strange Cruel

If your character is an orphan, complete the following:

At what age was your character orphaned? Did he know his parents?

Who has taken on the parent role, if anyone?

Did the parent role person want the care of your character?

Does your character feel connected to a family?

How would your character have been different if he had not been orphaned?

Emotional/Mental Health

What makes your character saddest?

What would make/makes your character happiest at the start of the story?

What is the greatest threat to your character’s happiness?

What makes him angry?

To your character, what is unjust?

Is your character prepared for what will happen in the story?

What will be the hardest thing for him to overcome internally to make it through the


What is his greatest strength? Weakness?

Does your character understand his own strengths and weaknesses?

What flaw most threatens your character’s success in life?

What is the worst thing that could happen to your character?

What is he afraid of? Is it a realistic fear?

What will the reader understand about the character that he does not know?

At the beginning of the story, is your character in stress?

How does he handle stress?

Does he experience any physical reactions to stress?

Is your character generally in control of his life? If not, how does he react to that?

Is your character prone to any of the following: Depression Anxiety

Obsessive/Compulsive acts Substance use Pervasive anger

Rule-breaking Suicidal thoughts Dishonesty

Posttraumatic behavior Hyperactivity Narcissism

Circle any words that describe your character’s emotional and mental state at the

beginning of the story: Happy Sad Angry Calm

Stressed Nervous Eager Controlled Patient

Worried Hopeful Afraid Satisfied Dissatisfied

Cocky Confident Warm Cold Idealistic

Realistic Pessimistic Bored Restless Overwhelmed

Add any other descriptions


What are your character’s greatest talents?

What is something your character wishes he were better at?

What is a strength your character has that he is not yet aware of?

What is something your character can do that few around him can do as well?

Is there any strength your character has that he would consider a weakness?

What is something your character is good at that has absolutely nothing to do with the


What is your character not good at doing (an activity)?

What in his personal character is flawed?

If there is anything that might make your character fail, what is it?

Does your character see any of these personal traits as weaknesses?

Is he aware of his flaws?

Is he capable of overcoming these weaknesses, or will these always be his flaws?

What flaw is obvious to the reader that the character is not aware of?

What is a weakness your character has that has absolutely nothing do to with the plot?

Fantasy Elements

Does your character live in a magical world? Does he have magical ability? What is it?

How does having magic affect your character’s personality?

Is magic a good thing for your character?

Does your character have a relationship with any mythical creatures? Is that typical for

his peers? Does this relationship affect who he is?

Goals and Dreams

More than anything, what does your character want?

What prevents him from getting it?

If your character got what he wants, would he be as happy as he expects?

Is it possible for your character to get what he wants?

Is your character’s plan to get what he wants an organized plan or a vague goal?

What would your character’s dream life be?

Is it a realistic dream?

If your character got his dream, would he be happy?


Anna Staniszewski said...

I love how in-depth this is. Thanks!

Becca said...

Okay, so THIS is HELPFUL! I started a book a year ago? Yeah, it still has five pages in it. :) This will totally help me get somewhere! THANKS!
Oh and thanks for stopping by my blog and for your encouragement. It's a work in progress but everything is, isn't it?
You're awesome!

Jen said...

Becca - How do I not know you've been doing writing - five pages or whatever? That's so terrific! You'll have to tell me about it - or your ambitions in general.

Sharron said...

Saw you at the SCBWI meeting in November. Great presentation! I'm from Ohio. I'm giving this to my writer's group along with your blog link. Hope to see you again! There is a small possibility that I will attend the summer conference. I've got my fingers crossed. BTW - here's the link to my blog.

Thanks ever so much for sharing at the meeting - and here!