• Viknesh Silvalingam

Write a compelling character with the help of a character bio

Why do we need a character bio?


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“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.” - Ernest Hemingway (1*)

A character bio, also known as a character profile or character biography, is a brief overview of your character. They help embellish your character's traits, aid in character development and map out your character's arc. The bio should give the reader( for example the writer, director, and actor) an introduction to your character before the narrative actually begins. Regardless of whether the character is a protagonist or an antagonist, the bio will give depth and context to every character's choice. Furthermore, for the writer, it would make it easier to create plots and interactions between characters. you can allow others to get to know them, build relationships between characters, and come up with ideas for the story based on your character’s information.




In addition to that, having a good character bio can be helpful to reference later, especially if they are part of a long campaign. Bios help keep your characters consistent and true to their original design. Even the best writers forget things about their characters over time, so it’s a good idea to write everything down anyway. When I take notes on my characters, I usually keep the character’s bio at the top of the page and simply add to it as events unfold in the story.


As a general rule, you should try to keep your character bios shorter than a page (which is typically about 300-500 words). If you make it much shorter than that, you likely wouldn't be doing your character justice.

What goes into the bio?


Character Arcs:

  • How do my characters evolve in the beginning, middle, and end of the script, as they attempt to achieve their goals? What do my characters learn about themselves and others, and what do my characters gain or lose, as the plot unfolds?

Ambitions:

  • What are my characters’ main goals, and hopes, and dreams, and why are these important to my characters? How do my characters plan to achieve these goals?

Stumbling blocks:

  • What are my characters’ roadblocks, problems, and hurdles that they must overcome to achieve their goals?

Multi-dimensional:

  • What are my characters' specific emotional, mental, physical, and/or social behaviors, idiosyncrasies, and traits? How do my characters see themselves and how do they relate to others?

Catalyst:

  • What are the underlying reasons that motivate my characters to make critical and specific decisions?

Pitfalls:

  • What are my characters’ shortcomings and weaknesses?

Susceptibilities:

  • What is my characters’ Achilles heel?

Philosophy:

  • How do my characters really feel about themselves and others?

History:

  • What are the events in my characters’ pasts, such as schooling, home life, employment, and/or trauma that have significantly molded them to be the person they are today

Empathy:

  • What elements make my characters likable and unlikable?

How does Sagittly assist with Collaboration?


Here in Sagittly, we understand that Collaboration is an art form. Like any true art form, it requires a certain element of finesse. We understand that writers sometimes get attached to a particular idea without understanding why someone else might not believe why that's not the right way. Co-writing isn’t about who is right or wrong, or who is the best writer. Different writers will bring their own unique qualities to the table and each can put an interesting spin on something that might work. However Collaboration isn't a compromise it is the best choice for this particular story and it’s up to each author to let go of their ego and be open to suggestions to create the strongest, most engaging story possible. Allowing open free communication via our app and having all suggestions trackable will ensure that no ideas fall through the crack and ensure that everyone is on the same page towards creating a successful screenplay.




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