Character & POV
7 min read

The Only Character Template You'll Ever Need For Novel Writing

The image shows five fictional characters, who have been outlined by an author based on a character sheet template. They are all very, very good-looking, and have great hair.

In order to draw your readers in and keep them reading, you want to create powerful, relatable characters. This character template will help you outline your main character and supporting cast as you’re writing your novel.

Character Basics

There are three main requirements for establishing your character profile:

  • Establish what they want – i.e: their external goal and internal goal.
  • Establish how they will transform over the course of your story – this is their arc/journey.
  • Establish their significant relationships in the context of the story.

Character Goals

Your character’s internal goal is what truly motivates them, while their external goal is their more visible and obvious desire.

For maximum tension, make sure that your character’s goals are at odds with each other. Your character will be forced to choose between these goals throughout your story, so it’s important that you foreshadow this.

Character Arc

Consider how your character will transform. This is your character’s arc, or journey, in the story. This is often an internal transformation, so try to ask questions like:

  • How do they deal with adversity?
  • How do they change?
  • What do they learn?

The answers are usually found in the way your character works to resolve the conflict between their goals.

Character Relationships

These people (or animals!) have an integral part to play in the development of your hero’s character arc. Ask questions like:

  • What role does this person play for my protagonist – do they help or hinder them?
  • Does my protagonist love or despise this person?
  • How does this relationship change over the course of the story?

Character Sheet Template

This core character profile template is structured to help you understand the most crucial information about your character — the stuff that drives the plot, influences their actions and affects their character development.

External Goal

What does the character want?

Internal Goal

What does the character need to be emotionally whole?

Arc / Journey

How does the character grow/change over the course of the story?

Significant Relationships


  • Character Name — Helper/Hinderer


  • Character Name — Helper/Hinderer


  • Character Name — Helper/Hinderer
Your character’s traits and bio only really matters if it serves your story. For example, you don’t need to know their allergies (unless they have an allergic reaction that’s critical to the plot. Nevertheless, you may want to add to this character development template based on the needs of your story.

Optional Extras For Your Character Development Template

There may be other information you wish to add to the template above to flesh out your character profile, though. Here’s a list of some optional extras you can add:

Physical Description

  • Appearance: Detailed descriptions including height, body build, eye colour, hair colour, distinctive marks (tattoos, scars, or birthmarks), and style of dress or distinctive accessories (jewellery, special clothing items).
  • Health and Physical Abilities: Any health issues, disabilities, or physical skills that impact their daily life or the story.
  • Mannerisms: How they hold themselves, their posture, gait, and level of coordination. This can also include any tics they have.

Personality Traits & Habits

  • Strengths and Weaknesses: A detailed list that can create a balanced, realistic character.
  • Fears and Phobias: Deep-seated fears that influence their decisions and actions.
  • Secrets and Desires: Things they haven’t shared with anyone or personal goals they are afraid to pursue.
  • Quirks and Habits: Idiosyncratic behaviours that make them stand out or more relatable.
  • Hobbies and Interests: Activities they enjoy in their free time, which can add depth to their character.
  • Magical Abilities: What powers and abilities do they have? For more, see our guides on creating a system of magic, and defining your magic users.

Personality Type & Character Archetypes

  • MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator): Indicate the character's MBTI type, such as INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging), which can help define their decision-making style, how they interact with others, and their general attitude towards life.
  • Big Five Personality Traits: Levels of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. This can offer a nuanced understanding of the character's psychological makeup.
  • Temperament: Such as sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic, providing insight into their emotional responses and behaviour patterns.
  • Character Archetypes: Defines the foundational role your character plays in the story's journey (see our full list of character archetypes to draw from).

Background Information

  • Biography: Key events that shaped their personality and life choices, including their upbringing, education, and pivotal moments.
  • Culture and Ethnicity: How their cultural background influences their worldview, values, and behaviours.
  • Socioeconomic Status: This includes their occupation, income level, and how it affects their interactions and status in the story's society.
  • Language and Speech Patterns: Unique ways they speak or phrases they often use, reflecting their background or personality.
  • Secrets: Do they have anything they’re hiding from their past? A criminal record? Are they members of any secret organisations/groups.

Psychological and Moral Framework

  • Values and Beliefs: Core principles that guide their behaviour and decision-making.
  • Morality and Ethics: What they consider right or wrong and how this affects their actions in complex situations.
  • Mental Health: Any psychological conditions or struggles that affect their perspective and behaviour.

Interpersonal Dynamics

  • Communication Style: How they interact with others and express themselves.
  • Conflict Resolution: How they handle disagreements or confrontations.
  • Relationship History: Past significant relationships that have impacted their approach to love, trust, and friendship.