Home > Writing  > NANO  > NaNoWriMo 2016: Casting your characters

One of the fun parts of writing a new novel is casting your characters: giving them names, deciding their hopes and dreams, and identifying their strengths and weaknesses.

Everyone needs a secret, and only you will decide what it is and if and when the other characters might discover it.

Setting up a new character sketch

To set up a new character sketch, right click on the Characters folder and select Add / New From Template / Character Sketch.

Character Sketch

Scrivener’s Character Sketch template

Char nameScrivener’s Character Sketch template provides a list of headings which will prompt you to build your character.

  • Role in Story
  • Occupation
  • Physical Description
  • Personality
  • Habits/Mannerisms
  • Background
  • Internal Conflicts
  • External Conflicts
  • Notes

You could amend these headings and then use the Duplicate option to create your own preferred list of prompts for each new character.

Building a picture of each character

In my LOL: Left Over Lovers novel, I have six characters: Julie, Elaine and Lisa, and Frank, Adrian, and Chaz.

It’s up to you how much detail you write during the planning stage. I find, the more I write about a character before I start writing a novel, the better I know each character and the easier it becomes to write that first draft.

This is the beginning of Julie’s character sketch. No doubt she will change during the course of writing the novel in November, but it’s a start.


Casting your characters

Liam NeesonIf it helps you – it does me! – you could include a photo of a real actor within your character sketch.

Simply drag an image from an Internet page into position. Be aware that photos may be copyright protected but if it’s for your personal use, rather than profit, there should be no problem.

I’ve not completed the details for Frank yet, but I know who I’d like to play him: Liam Neeson. Frank’s secret is that his wife left him for another woman …

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