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Do you love thriller novels? If so, you know that an intriguing and well-developed character is the key to a great story. Creating a character development sheet for your book can help you focus on all the essential details about the characters as you progress through your novel.

This blog post will discuss creating a character sheet and provide tips and examples.

What is a novel character sheet, and why should you create one?

A thriller novel character sheet is a document that includes all of the vital information about your novel’s main characters.

The character sheet can consist of physical characteristics, personal information, background story, motivation, and anything else you feel is essential to know about your character.

Make sure to create a worksheet for each significant character, which will help you to keep track of all your characters as you progress through your writing.

Tips for creating your character sheet

– Include as much information as possible about your main characters. The more you know, the easier it will be to write them into your novel.

– Be sure to include essential plot points and clues your reader will need to know to follow along with the story.

– Use concrete details and examples to help bring your characters to life.

– Be sure to keep track of any changes you make to your character sheet to keep your novel consistent.

Start by creating a basic character sheet for your thriller novel protagonist

Include information such as the character’s name, age, occupation, physical appearance, personality, and significant childhood events. Try to create interesting characters, strong and compelling.

Here is the character sheet on the protagonist in my latest novel:

Protagonist Name: Tove Dahl

Age: 15

Occupation: High school student. She excels in computer science.

Physical Appearance: Good looking, tall, and slim, has long, reddish brown hair and green eyes. She looks older than she is.

Character’s personality:

Strengths: She’s serious but has a sense of humour. She is honest, kind, and passionate about her work in her science class. She works out at the gym and takes self-defence classes.

Weaknesses: She struggles with insecurities but tries hard to hide them. She picks at her nails when she is nervous or impatient. She’s afraid of the dark and often loses her keys or forgets people’s names.

Next, think about your character’s backstory and motivations

Fill out your main character’s history. Include information such as their family history, personal history, and significant events that have shaped who they are.

Tove’s personal history:

– Growing up as an only child and young teenager, Tove missed seeing her parents. They always seemed to be on their way somewhere else for a business event or something like that.

If Tove complained, her mother marched her into a closet, saying she would let her out when she stopped whining. Tove felt miserable and took out her resentment on her nannies. Many came and went. She was the kid from hell.

Tove was fifteen when she saw the housekeeper picking up pieces of jewelry from an unlocked box on her mother’s dresser and slipping it into her pocket.

Her mom must have forgotten to close it before rushing off to dinner. Tove told her parents about what she had witnessed as soon as they returned.

The housekeeper flew into a rage, calling Tove a liar. After checking her jewelry box, Tove’s mother called the police. They searched the housekeeper. They searched the house. They didn’t find the jewelry. Their suspicious looks were aimed at Tove as well as at the housekeeper.

Devastated at being suspected of theft, Tove fled and locked herself in the closet. There, she swore to find out what happened with the jewelry, no matter what. She would never give up until she found the truth.

What is the protagonist’s driving force – what makes them want to solve the mystery/save the day?

Tove adored her parents. She had strived for their attention all through her childhood. Being intelligent, she gradually understood that she would have to change her hostile behaviour to get what she wanted. And that included being cleared from all suspicion of theft.

She became driven by her desire to redeem herself, prove her innocence, and win her parents’ love, even if it meant breaking the law to get justice.

Give your character some personality traits to make them unique and exciting

For example, Tove is a no-nonsense type of person. She’s also a bit of a loner but observant and resourceful, a quick thinker who knows how to move around without attracting attention. Her skills in martial arts make her feel safer and more alert.

It’s important to remember that the more information you have on your character, the easier it will be to write them into your book.

If you take the time to create a thorough and well-thought-out character sheet, you’ll be on your way to writing a gripping thriller novel.

For a thriller, you also need to create a basic character sheet for your antagonist

Follow the same steps as when you created the character sheet for the protagonist.

Finally, create a diverse cast of secondary characters

Have fun with this! Give each person an identifiable feature, like a unique look, voice, accent, querk, fear, strength, weakness, or movement.

For example:

– One character can be a bit of a klutz and always manages to bump into things or trip over their own feet.

– Another character loves nature and spending time outdoors, especially in the forest, where they feel most at home.

– Maybe another character is creative and always has new ideas for paintings, songs, or poems.

– Or one of your introvert characters is also open-minded and always curious to learn new things about other cultures or lifestyles.

Other examples of unique behaviour:

Some people might tap their feet or bite their nails when feeling stressed or anxious. Others might be very organized and always have to have things in a specific order, like cleaning their room alphabetically or lining up their shoes in a certain way.

Maybe you scream when you see a spider or can’t help but fidget with your hair or rub your hands together when you’re anxious. Everyone has their unique behaviours, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The character arc – the importance of showing how the protagonist grows and changes throughout the story

One of the most important and exciting aspects of a good thriller story is having a character who undergoes a change or growth throughout the story. We call this a character arc.

Even if you have a detailed character sheet for your protagonist, giving them an arc is important so they feel like a natural, three-dimensional person to your readers.

A character sheet is a great starting point, but it’s not the end-all. The character sheet should give you a snapshot of your protagonist at the beginning of your story.

Your protagonist’s character arc is what will take them from where they start to where they end up. It’s what will help them grow and change throughout the story. So, develop your character arc carefully and ensure it is believable and consistent with your protagonist’s personality.

Examples of well-developed thriller novel characters in books and film

There are countless examples of well-developed thriller novel characters, but here are a few that come to mind:

1. Hannibal Lecter – This iconic character from Thomas Harris’s novels is a brilliant psychopath who has a knack for getting under people’s skin. He’s complex, intelligent, and terrifying – everything you could want in a thriller villain.

2. Lisbeth Salander – The heroine of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, Lisbeth is a punk hacker with a dark past. She’s complicated, damaged, and badass – the perfect foil for any villain.

3. Jack Reacher – The protagonist of Lee Child’s novel series, Jack Reacher is a former military police officer who wanders the country righting wrongs. He’s strong, determined, and always ready for a fight – precisely the kind of person you want on your side in a thriller novel.

Other standouts include Jules, who rebuilds her identity after narrowly escaping death in Tara Westover’s Educated, and Jonathan Hemlock (a.k.a. The professional), who is hired to kill eight different targets in Richard Stark’s The Hunter.

Conclusion

Creating a well-rounded and believable protagonist is essential for any thriller novel. By starting with a basic character sheet and then thinking about their backstory and motivations, you can create a driving force that will keep your reader engaged until the end.

Adding personality traits will make your character unique and exciting, helping to bring your story to life.

If you’re working on your first novel and are looking for more help with your writing, please check out my other articles at https://ullahakanson.com/blog/ 

Happy writing 🙂

Ulla

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