what should be included in a main character outline?

Question: What should be included in a main character outline?

Answer: The short answer is everything you think you might need to know about the main character in order to write any scene involving the character and to paint a clear, vivid, and consistent picture of the character to the reader.

Generally, you want to know far more about a character than what appears in the story. Some writers prefer what's in the story to be only 10% of what they know about the character. The reason is that the more you know, the easier it is to figure out how the character will behave in any situation, and how others will react to the character.

When you are creating a character sketch, it's important to address as many aspects of a character as possible. For instance there are ...

External traits, such as the character's appearance, style of dress, health, and props.

Social traits: cultural background, family, friends, career, status, and affiliations.

Internal traits: beliefs, attitudes, memories, experiences.

Psychological traits: drives, wants, emotional needs, personality, mental health, comfort zones, skills, knowledge, strengths (or lack thereof).

Some people use a set list of questions for each character they create. However, not every question will apply to every character you create, and some questions will apply to only one character.

You can easily create your own tailored list of questions for any character. Once you've covered the basics, come up with specific questions that address your particular character. Then brainstorm until you have a set of consistent answers you like.

You may find that some answers raise more questions, so you may need to repeat this process until you feel satisfied that you really know your character well.

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