Coming up with Characters for NaNoWriMo

Holly Smith
3 min readOct 30, 2021


Image by Jan Kahánek (unsplash)

If you’ve decided on what you’ll be writing about for NaNoWriMo, the next step in your journey is to start forming some characters for your story.

Can you imagine your life without some of your favorite fictional characters? Because I can’t! Some of these characters impacted who I became later in life. I even have a huge tattoo of one of my favorite fictional characters. Your characters could have the potential to do that as well!

With that in mind, the most important thing you can do when creating your characters is to figure out EVERY SINGLE DETAIL about them. Details such as their name, hair color, height, special hobbies, bad habits, favorite song or movie, etc.… The list of details could go on forever and it should! These details will not only help your audience understand the character and the choices that they make but it can also help you when writing different scenes for your work.

There is no limit to how many characters you can write for your story. If you find yourself in the position of having too many characters, do not forget that you can always use these characters for other stories down the line. No well written character should ever go to waste.

Another important thing to consider when making your characters is their background. Do they have a large family tree? Is there a dark family secret? Have they survived some kind of trauma? Things that have happened to your character in the past will help define them as person and explain why they are the way they are in the future. The more relatable a character is, the more real they will seem to your readers.

Think about it, if you will, like dating. When you start dating someone you try to learn every little thing about this person in hopes that they could be the one you spend the rest of your life with. You should approach writing your characters in the same way because these characters once written down and published could be around forever.

One of the best ways that I’ve found to keep track of all the many details about a character is to complete a written character sketch. My character sketches tend to get a little lengthy but that is perfect! Whenever I run out of ideas for the next scene in a book or if I’m trying to decide on how my character should react to a certain situation, I can just look back at my character sketch and find exactly what I need to figure those things out.

Character Sketches are all over the internet. If you really want you could just find an image of one on Pinterest, print it out and fill it out. Or you can write your very own character sketch over a series of pages in a notebook. Whatever method you use, I highly recommend doing some form of a character sketch for every character so you can have something to look back on while working on your story.

NaNoWriMo officially begins in 3 days! I hope this has given you some ideas for how to start creating your characters for NaNoWriMo! Happy Writing!