Character Profile Template

Character Profile Template, within the Milanote app

The ideal template for writing fictional characters

Creating a character profile is a great way to map out a fictional character's life. It's where you define your character's backstory, appearance, traits, goals and flaws—everything you'll need to successfully place them in your story.

Round-out your characters by giving them a 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 that they make.

Once you've imagined your characters, you can map the relationships between them 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 novel or a screenplay, follow this step-by-step guide to learn the modern process of creating a believable character 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, video and links.

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, Everyman, Hero, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Lover, Caregiver, Jester, and Sage.

Archetypes provide guidelines for behaviors, emotions, and actions. For example, the Explorer is naturally curious, restless, and driven to push boundaries, such as detective Sherlock Holmes or Huckleberry Finn. Experiment with your archetype—layer characteristics or even transform them from one to another as the storyline progresses.

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.

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. If a character is too simplistic, it can feel cliched. Character flaws such as overconfidence, impatience, or recklessness can add new dimensions to a hero and make them feel more relatable.

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.

Consider where your character starts out and how they change alongside developments in the story. How do they overcome their initial obstacles? For example, do they learn new skills, gain a fresh perspective or make new relationships that lead to their success?

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.