Character Profile Template

Character Profile Template, within the Milanote app

Create the perfect character for your story

Creating a character profile is a great way to map out a fictional character's life. No matter whether you're a professional or a hobbyist writer, creating a profile is the best way to define your character's backstory, appearance, traits, goals and flaws. Everything you'll need to create an authentic, and relatable character that enriches your story.

Round-out your characters by giving them a detailed personality that stretches beyond the story itself. Some aspects of their personality won't make it into the story, but will help to inform the decisions they make as the story unfolds.

Once you've imagined your characters, you can map their relationships to understand them from a different perspective. To learn more, check out our guide to creating compelling characters.

This template is part of our guide on How to plan a novel.

  • Explore ideas
  • Organize visually
  • Share with your team
  • Gather feedback
  • Export to PDF

How to use this template

Whether you’re writing a professional novelist or a hobby writer creating your first screenplay, follow this step-by-step guide to learn the modern process of creating believable and engaging characters in Milanote, a free tool used by top creatives.

1. Start with an empty template

The Character Profile template contains empty notes for your ideas and descriptions, plus placeholders for reference images, videos and links. Before you begin, think about the type of character you'd like to develop and how they fit into the story.

Empty character profile template
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Create a new board for your character.

    Create a new board

    Drag a board out from the toolbar. Give it a name, then double click to open it.

  2. Choose the Character Profile template.

    Choose a template 

    Each new board gives you the options to start with a beautiful template.

2. Decide on a type of character

A character might start as a bundle of random ideas, traits and plot points from a story outline, so it’s important to bring everything together in one place. A character archetype can help narrow your focus. There are twelve common archetypes or personas that we recognize across literature, mythology, and the human experience:

  • The Innocent: Represents purity, optimism, and naivety. The Innocent seeks safety, avoids conflict, and believes in a world of goodness and simplicity.
  • The Everyman: Represents relatability and ordinariness. The Everyman is a down-to-earth character who faces everyday challenges and resonates with a wide audience.
  • The Hero: Embodies courage, bravery, and a desire to conquer challenges. The Hero goes on a quest or adventure to overcome obstacles and achieve greatness.
  • The Outlaw: Represents rebellion, non-conformity, and a desire for freedom. The Outlaw challenges authority and societal norms.
  • The Explorer: Embodies a thirst for adventure, curiosity, and a desire to discover new territories—both physically and metaphorically.
  • The Creator: Represents imagination, innovation, and the desire to bring something new into existence. The Creator is often an artist, inventor, or visionary.
  • The Ruler: Represents leadership, authority, and responsibility. The Ruler seeks to create order and structure.
  • The Magician: Embodies mystery, transformation, and the ability to see beyond the surface. The Magician has access to knowledge and powers others may not possess.
  • The Lover: Represents passion, connection, and the desire for intimacy. The Lover seeks love, relationships, and deep emotional connections.
  • The Caregiver: Embodies compassion, nurturing, and a desire to protect and care for others. The Caregiver takes care of others' needs and well-being.
  • The Jester: Represents humor, playfulness, and the ability to bring laughter and joy. The Jester provides comic relief and light-heartedness.
  • The Sage: Embodies wisdom, knowledge, and a desire to understand the world and its mysteries. The Sage offers guidance and insights to others.

Archetypes provide guidelines for behaviors, emotions, and actions that can help push a story. For example, the Explorer is naturally curious, restless, and driven to push boundaries, such as Detective Sherlock Holmes.

writers character profile step02
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add a note to describe the basics.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left-hand toolbar.

3. Add specific characteristics

Once you've defined an initial archetype, you can begin to shape the character and make them original. Consider the emotional connection between your audience and your character, and work towards the desired outcome. You may find that switching the age and gender of a character can lead to very different responses from your reader.

Adding characteristics to a character profile
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add a note to describe their characteristics.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left-hand toolbar.

Pro tip:

Consider the character's role in the story and the purpose they serve. Are they the protagonist, antagonist, or a supporting character? Knowing their role will guide you in choosing characteristics that align with their narrative function.

4. Build their backstory

Your character's backstory describes the journey they have taken up to this point. It allows you to explore their fears, weaknesses, and motivations and to define their purpose. You can explain the character's methods and evaluations—why they act the way that they do, the choices they make, and how it drives the individual forward. Are they making progress towards their goal, or making things worse?

Describing a character's backstory
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add a note to describe their backstory.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left-hand toolbar.

5. Give them quirks, faults, and flaws

Your character should come from an authentic place. That means that the character probably has some contradictions that make them a little out of the ordinary. Are they quick-tempered and easily provoked, leading to frequent outbursts that strain relationships with others? Or are they overly self-critical, constantly doubting their abilities and feeling inadequate compared to others? If a character is too simplistic, it can feel cliched.

Incorporating quirks, faults, and flaws into your character profiles can create more well-rounded and relatable individuals, making them feel human and allowing readers to connect with their struggles and growth throughout the story

writers character profile step05
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add a note to describe their quirks and flaws.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left-hand toolbar.

6. Give your character an arc

A believable character grows and changes as your story evolves. Just like real people, they adapt and respond to life's events.

  • The Coming-of-Age: Do they experience a clearer sense of self and purpose?
  • The Redemption: Do they confront their flaws, seeking to become a better person?
  • The Self-Discovery: Do they unravel, leading to a deeper understanding of themselves?
  • Transformation: Does the character undergo a big change, adopting a new life?
  • The Acceptance: Do they overcome life's obstacles and gain a fresh perspective?

Consider where your character starts in the story and how they change. Character arcs help convey growth and development making your story even more believable.

writers character profile step06
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add notes to describe the change in your character.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left hand toolbar.

7. Add visual references

Even if you're writing a novel, visual references and inspiration can help bring your character to life. There are lots of fantastic sites where you can find great visual inspiration for free, like Pinterest or Google Images.

Character profile template for a novel
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Use the built-in image library.

    Use the built-in image library

    Search over 500,000 beautiful photos powered by Unsplash then drag images straight onto your board.

  2. Add image files to your board.

    Upload a file or document  

    Click the "Upload file" button or just drag a file onto your board. You can add images, logos, documents, videos, audio and much more.

You're done!

Now that you've created a unique fictional character, you have a great reference to use while writing your story. Use this template below to start inventing your next amazing character.

Start your Character Profile

Bring your characters to life.