How to Build Character Profiles… For Writers Who Hate Planning


As a free flow writer, I found these tips to be enlightening. I hope you do too.

Drew Chial

1. The Best Laid Plans

How Architects Build Character Profiles

When I started screenwriting I discovered my characters as I wrote them. It was fun to meet them for the first time, but when I went back to edit their personalities had problems. They seemed less like themselves in the first scenes than they did toward the end. Their dialogue drew from stoic clichés in the first act. Their voices didn’t sound distinct until the third. I decided to take screenwriting courses to help fix the problem.

George R.R. Martins says, “There are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners.”

My screenwriting professor was an architect. He worked from blueprints. He had us summarize our scenes before we could write a single line of dialogue. There are only so many pages that fit into a script. That’s why he had us edit our screenplays before we ever wrote them down. Our hero…

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