Personality Flashcard: A Cheat Sheet For Creating Minor Characters

So instead of updating Two Candidates Walk Into A Bar, I spent this week creating the character sheet for Henry Cockburn. I say “this week,” but it was more like “today.” “This week,” I prepared myself to jump over the hurdles of procrastination to get to today’s results. Despite my resistance to filling out these questionnaires, I’m still proud of the work I did. And the results will make the next few chapters much easier to write!
 
I’ll create another sheet for Amal, and then I am done. When I first started writing a novel back in 2012, I made character sheets for anyone who lasted more than two scenes. I don’t think that’s happening again. Yet I’d still like to have a reference for minor characters regardless. It’ll be more fun to let readers fill in the details on bit players… but I’ll need to give my audience somewhere to start.

 
Here’s a selection of attributes from my character sheet, designed to help you think about minor characters. Check the original article for explanations on certain terms. You should at least know…

 
NAME:
 
DEFINING STRENGTH:
 
DEFINING FLAW:
 
DEFINING QUIRK:
 
BASELINE EMOTION EXPERIENCED:
 
BASELINE EMOTION GIVEN TO AUDIENCE:
 
INSPIRED BY:
 
GOAL:

 
So let’s take a character from Two Candidates Walk Into A Bar, and give her a flashcard.


NAME: Sam Bonheur
 
DEFINING STRENGTH: Well-prepared
 
DEFINING FLAW: Deceitful
 
DEFINING QUIRK: Constantly pulls up Internet articles to prove her point
 
BASELINE EMOTION EXPERIENCED: Distant apathy
 
BASELINE EMOTION GIVEN TO AUDIENCE: Professionalism
 
INSPIRED BY: (I’d advise you to put someone you know in here. Right now, though, I don’t want to gossip. So let’s say that I’ll take inspiration from Ms. Warden in later drafts).
 
GOAL: Help Galen Schmeling win the election

 
Hope these prompts help you get back to writing faster!
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