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A guide to writing a character sketch

When writing character sketches, you are introducing your reader to someone. You want your reader to be able to have a strong mental image of the person you are describing, to know the person's characteristics, to understand how they talk and what their value system is. This article looks at how to write a character sketch.

By Rebecca
A guide to writing a character sketch

Creating fictional characters

Producing a character sketch, which is an outline of your protagonist, will help when you write a novel or fictional story because you will have a clear idea of what your protagonist looks like and his or her personality.

Essentially, a character sketch is a visual picture. In order for your readers to visualise your character, you need to create one. By providing them with a character sketch, your readers will feel as if they are looking at them in an actual picture.

A character sketch is where you ask yourself questions about your character that delivers answers for your character sketch.

What is a character builder?

A character builder is an outline of your character's life. For example, where your character lives, their physical appearance, education, hobbies, interests, personality, and possessions to name a few.

When you begin to create a character sketch, you need to take each character trait and ask yourself questions to develop your character. For instance, what job do they have?

As you continue with your sketch, you will soon find that your character has become a reality which means that your readers will be able to visualise and believe in them as well.

Physical appearance

Possibly, the easiest character trait to produce is that of your characters' physical appearance. This describes the characters' physical looks, the length and colour of their hair, what kind of clothes they like, and the colour of their eyes and skin.


While appearance is the easiest, personality is the hardest to describe. However, if you think of your character as a real person, then it won't be so hard.


One way to effectively help your readers understand your character is by describing their interests which in turn could be interests that your readers have. This creates a bond between them.

Making your characters come alive

In essence, a character sketch is the internal and external foundation of your character. A character sketch example is that of the Catcher in the Rye characters created by J. D. Salinger in 1951. Before he was able to successfully write his fictional story, he had to produce a character sketch that brought his characters alive on the paper.

Without the assistance from his sketches, he wouldn't have been able to produce such vivid characters for his readers to enjoy.

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