Character Sketch Breakdown - Misc Notes

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Okay, the last section of the sketch sheet is really simple.

Misc Notes

Here include any extra information you might need to know about the character that you couldn't fit into the other points of the sketch.

If you recall on Monday when I talked about Character Roles and I mentioned having a Main Hero and a Side Hero? I use this area to explain what book in the series the character's role comes into play.

So for Farien that I said was a "Side Hero" - his Misc Note looks like this:

Hero (H) "Precipice of Hostility" Book 3
Side Character (SC) "Burden of Prophecy" Book 1 and "Vestige of Passion" Book 4

Where as Drache's (Main Hero) looks like this:

Main Hero (MH) "Burden of Prophecy" Book 1 and "Vestige of Passion" Book 4
Main Character (MC) "Tutelage of Mortality" Book 2

I can hear some of you going "What? I don't get it" But I know what it all means, and that's what counts right? *laugh*Basically all those notes do is help remind who's POV I'm working with and when. I'm in Farien's POV in Book 3 and in Drache's in Books 1 and 4.

You can use this space for whatever you like, this is just what I use it for as I make only one character sketch that covers the entire series. You don't have to do this and I know many authors who say you should update/write new sketches for each book in a series, even if you use the same characters. Whatever way works best for you. I just find it easier to have ONE sketch to refer to, especially since I write multiple novels at one time.


Now, once the sketch is done, I head over to my trusty avatar maker and make an image of the character! It's a lot of fun and honestly, I waste SO many hours playing with the avatar maker.

The main one I use is Doll Wizard but I also use Candybar Doll Maker. I posted the Doll Wizard version of Drache's picture below for you. Below that is Rosyani's avatar I made with Candybar. I prefer Doll Wizard as it looks less anime-ish, but both are really fun to play with.

Doll Wizard

Candybar Doll Maker

Character Sketch Breakdown - Personality Traits

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

It's Thursdays so it's time for the third section of my character sketch! Have you found the posts helpful so far? I hope so. This section is the hardest one to fill out compared to the rest. It's really intense and makes you really dig into who your characters are. Let's get started!

Personality Traits
  • Background:
  • Characteristics/Mannerisms:
  • Internal Conflicts:
  • External Conflicts:
  • Occupation/Education:
  • Dialogue Specifics:
  • Common Expressions:
  • Powers/Weapons:
This is a short blurb about the type of childhood your character had. I don't use complete sentences here, just jot down a few notes. Mention any 'backstory' points that you can use as flashbacks or conversation or suspense in the story.

This section can be placed under the Physical Apperance setting but I prefer to put it here as it deals with their personality. Here you can mention posture, stance, and any funny twitches they might have. On Drache's sketch I have "Confident - stands tall, perfect posture, often has arms crossed over chest; Kind Heart - gentle nature, always ready to hug his little sister; Strong - doesn't cry in front of others, hides emotions to be 'strong for everyone else'"

Internal Conflicts
What is going on inside the characters head/heart/soul that causes them trouble during the story? This can be dealing with a death of a loved one or other tragic event. Explain the story behind the struggles or events the character deals with. Be as specific as you like.

External Conflicts
This is where you can mention weather, other characters (aka the villian perhaps) that are standing in the characters way. Be detailed and explain why these things are effecting the character.

A character's education level and job can effect everything! This doesn't need to be too detailed unless you want it to be. You can explain how this will effect them specifically or just simply mention their career alone.

Dialogue Specifics
How do they talk/sound? Mention tone of voice and accent. You can also include how many languages they speak here if you want, or make that it's own section if it bears a greater importance. Also mention the manner of their speech - is it proper or common? Relaxed with friends but very professional around others? Polite, rude, sarcastic?

Common Expressions
This is basically part of the Dialogue Specifics section, but I make it it's own section to help it stand out as you will use this often. What phrases or words do they use over and over again? A catch phrase if you will. Me for example, I say "cool beans" a lot so if I was making this character sketch about me, that's what I would put here.

This section can also be under "Physical Apperance" but I put it here only because for my characters and the world they live in, powers and choice of weapons can reflect the type of person you are. If you make up powers or new weapons, provide a brief description about them - what they do, how they work, etc.

Tune in tomorrow for the very last section!!

Character Sketch Breakdown - Physical Appearance

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Today we are going to look at the second section of the character sketch I use.

Physical Appearance

  • Age:
  • Race:
  • Eye Color:
  • Hair Color/Style:
  • Build (Height/Weight):
  • Skin Tone:
  • Style of Dress:
  • Tattoos/Scars:
  • Other Physical Attributes:
Now, this section is relatively easy to fill in. However, you can get quite detailed here. You can also add more sections if you need to or take out ones that you don't need. As a Fantasy writer, I might have some things here that other writers don't need, so don't feel like you have to fill out every area if you decide to use this.

Age – I enter in the age they are at the beginning of the book/series and at the end. This helps me to remember the time line based on how much time passes between the beginning and the end of the book. For example, I have one character, Karina, who is age 10 at the beginning of the series but she's almost 20 by the end of it. So I on her sketch sheet, I have "10/20".

Race – This could be something simple if you are writing a contemporary type of story. For fantasy however, it can get pretty interesting. The main characters in Burden of Prophecy are Traca faeries. Just a made up name I came up with to name their race. So here I put "Traca faery" then make a notation to see the setting sketch for their country. The other sketch contains details and common occurrences in their race. (Like light colored hair or horns on their head for example.)

Eye Color – Blue? Green? Purple? You can be as detailed here as you like. You can even mention eye shape or pupil shape if you need to.

Hair Color/Style – Long or Short? Blonde or Brunette? Curly or Straight? Again you can get a bit more detailed here as you can get really specific on length or color (strawberry blonde or hair hangs down to waist.)

Build (Height/Weight) – I always use specific heights and weights but you don't have to. I do just because it helps me visualize the person. Drache's sketch says "6'3, 200 lbs, athletic build, very toned and muscular"

Skin Tone – You can have a bit of fun here too if you write Sci-fi or Fantasy. I have one race of faeries that has green skin and another is silver that sparkles in the sunlight (like a diamond almost). You can also mention skin type here – do you have a teen that has acne? Perhaps a character with really dry skin that might affect the character as they live in a dry, cold climate. Any details you add will only help you portray your character in the story.

Style of Dress - How do they dress most of the time? Tunic or t-shirt? What type of shoes? You can also add notes about how they would dress at other times such as formal functions. If your character is in the Military or some type of warrior – mention what their uniform would look like here also. I also make a note about who or what to imagine. Drache's sketch says "Think of Phillip from Sleeping Beauty" to help me remember exactly how his tunic is styled. You can also use this section to mention any jewelry the character might wear, you can make Jewelry/Accessories it's own section if that would be easier for you.

Tattoos/Scars – Explain where the markings are and what they look like. For example, if I were to mention my own markings I’d say "Cross with rose wrapped around it on left arm, Pegasus on right arm, moon on outside-right ankle, butterfly on inside-left ankle, dragon on shoulder blade; scar on left forearm from kitchen knife, scars on both knees from falling out of a swing" You can also explain why they got the tattoo or any special meaning it has.

Other Physical Attributes – This is where you can explain anything that wasn't covered by the points above. You can add details about wings or face shape or hands, etc. You can also mention posture here if you like or save that for another section we'll be talking about tomorrow.

Come back tomorrow where I talk about "Personality Traits". This section is more detailed and extensive, so it might flow into Friday's post as well.

Teaser Tuesday

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

Yay for Teaser Tuesday! I hope you guys like the scene! It's from "Burden of Prophecy" of course!

Excerpt from Chapter 3 - Home Sweet Home?

Drache and Rosyani (recently married) return to her childhood home to confront her family, after she ran away two months before.

A hammer beat into her skull. Rosyani opened her eyes but slammed them shut against the sunlight. A heavy weight pressed against her stomach. She cracked open one eye to see Drache’s arm draped across her waist. Trying to find a more comfortable position, she shifted and his arm wrapped tighter around her.

The blankets on the bed were wrong. Where were they? She bolted up and cast her eyes about the room. They lay in her old bed in the small room atop the tower. Every thing was as she left it - only with a thick film of dust. Her desk in the corner held small trinkets from her youth, most mementos from her father. The tall wardrobe to her left stood ajar. Drache must have helped her into a night gown.

Her head throbbed. She rubbed her temples to alleviate the pain but it did little to help. The princess sighed heavily then threw her feet to the floor. With small, wobbly footsteps, she made her way to the wash basin.

"You’re awake," Drache said from the bed. "Are you feeling all right?"

She groaned.

He chuckled. "Yes. The Healer said you’d need a lot of rest and food to recover from what you did yesterday."

"I still do not know what happened."

"From what I gather, you brought your brother back from death."

"That is what I mean. I do not know how I did it."

"Maybe your power is something that can’t be learned. Your powers may be healing powers yet they only work when you’re highly stressed or really close to the being that’s ill. We won’t know until you recover your strength. When we return home we can do some tests. Now come…"

"No! No more tests! I am done taking tests and being a piece of meat to the Healers. Do not do that to me, Drache!" Dizziness took hold and she braced her self against the vanity.

Drache leapt from the bed and wrapped his arms around her. "I don’t think you are all right." He led her to the bed and pushed her down to the mattress. "Now, I only meant that we could play some beginner games. The ones they teach you when our power first shows?"

Rosyani let out the breath she had been holding. "Oh. Sorry. My mother forced me to go to the Healers for years to find my power. They were really painful and I have scars from the needles and shots." Her shoulders slumped.

"How can you have scars? Didn’t the Healers heal the wounds?"

"I do not think they ever noticed how badly their instruments really hurt me. Also, after a time, I do not think their Healing would have worked. Over and over again, they poked and prodded. Took blood, even skin samples. They repeated the same tests every month as if the results would suddenly change. They never did." Her bottom lip trembled as she held back the tears that threatened to fall.

Drache pulled her to his side and rested his chin on her head. "You will never - ever - have to deal with that again. I promise."

Character Sketch Breakdown - General Information

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Okay, this month is going to be all about the characters – hopefully. *smile* We'll see how many posts I can get out of this topic or not.

This week, we are going to break down the character sketch worksheet I use and talk about each section in depth.

The first section contains somewhat basic information, but it can have a huge impact on the story and your character.

  • Character Name:
  • Title/Class:
  • Nickname:
  • Birth Date/Place:
  • Character Role:
Character Name

I always give my characters a first, middle, and last name. I don’t know why, but I do. Really, all you need is a first name and maybe a last name, depending on how major of a character it is. I also tend to fill in this area of the sketch last as I try to pick names that fit their personality – so I fill in everything else first then choose a name.

Choosing your characters name is something really important. Names can make or break your characters in my opinion. Find a name that resonates with your character. Look up the meaning and origin of the name. If the meaning fits (or even hugely contrasts for a bit of humor) the character's personality, you may have a good choice.

I write Fantasy and here another factor comes into play. Language and culture. How would a faery name their children? Or Elves? Dragons? Why would they choose such names? Do the names have any meaning (translation) and how does it affect the feel of the story?

As an example, the hero in my book, Burden of Prophecy is named Drache. "Drache" is actually a German word for "dragon". I chose this particular name because of Drache's personality. To me dragons are strong and confident protectors – which is the epitome of who Drache is. His middle name is "Akual" – I made this up. He has the ability to control water so I took "aqua" and tweaked the spelling, added an l at the end. TADA! New name, but it sounds similar enough that hopefully it still conjures images of water. His last name, I just made up on a whim and it just happened to fit. "Kestar" sounds powerful, I think because of the "star" aspect in the name.

How do you choose your characters names? What things do you consider when choosing - race, language, plot, personality?


This section is relatively easy, but for some it might require a bit of research for the story itself.

Continuing with Drache, he's a Prince. It was easy to decide on this title, but then I had do to a bit of research to learn about titles and how they work (as in passing down to children, inheriting the throne, etc). Obviously his class would be "royalty" or "nobility".

However, some characters don't have actual titles, but rather fit into a "middle" class of people. Here you can have a bit of fun depending on your type of story. In another fantasy story of mine, I have the following classes of people: Trade, Merchant, Military, and Nobility. You can choose and name your classes anyway you like and make up rules about how they interact (or don't interact) with each other. This can also require a bit of research for the story itself to learn more about how class systems work.


This can include a shortened form of your characters name (Like William to Will for example) or even just a funny name friends call your character (like "Spike").

Also decide who uses this nickname. Only family and friends? Does the character introduce themselves by their nickname rather than their full name? Why? Why is the important key here - how can you use the nickname to bring some depth to the character in the story? This is especially true with the nickname has a story behind it that can come out in the story at some point.

Birth Date/Place:

This section is pretty self explanatory. When is their birthday and where were they born. Now for some stories, it might not matter where they were born. In the stories I write however, it bears a major importance. The cultures I have created focus on birth place as this presents a status to others. Drache for example was born in Enthril. To other faeries in Enthril, this is not important, but it is to the other characters in the book from other countries that think anyone from Enthril is stupid and savage. (Also, to Enthril, anyone NOT born there is stupid and savage.)

Character Role:

This section is really for the author and some might think is unneeded. However, I am a fan of writing every single detail down, even if I’ll remember it off the top of my head. This is just in case I ever forget – or those times I might put the book down for a long time and come back to it later.

Roles can include "Hero", "Heroine", "Major Character", "Side Character", etc. In Burden of Prophecy and the 3 books that follow, I have different Main Characters in each book with the Main Hero and Heroine staying the same. Drache and Rosyani are the "Main Hero and Heroine" for the entire series but Letarri and Etharas are "Side Hero and Heroine" as they play an important role to the events in Books 1, 2, and 4. Farien takes over as "Side Hero" in Book 3 when the story changes location to focus on his role in the series arc. However you need to keep track of who is doing what and when, do it.

Come back Wednesday for the "Physical Apperance" section of the character sketch! Tomorrow is Teaser Tuesday so I'll be posting a scene from my WIP.

Fear is the Thief of Dreams

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

Okay, many of your know about The Writer's Academy - my online writing workshop that I started on

Now, today is the day that my dream of having it on it's own site will come true. I finally have the money to buy the domain and hosting for the new site.

And I'm freaking out!!

It's my dream, I know! Why would I be freaking out? I've been planning and working on this 'upgrade' for months! But now that the time has come to put up or shut up -- I'm having a meltdown.

What if it fails and I spend my money for nothing? What if people don't like it? What happens if no one shows up? What do I do if it does fail? How will I deal with the huge financial loss? What happens if it explodes in popularity and I don't have the staff to cover all the students? What if...what if...what if....

I'm so afraid of failing, people. You might not know this about me, but I'm always afraid to fail. I put myself out there online in my blogs and moderating other workshops. I try to present this air of confidence and certainty in myself. If you were to really see me through my computer as I do all of these things, I'm a total wreck. The what if's clog my brain, give me the shakes, and sometimes I have full blown panic attacks.

What am I to do?

Well, I write. So I'm writing this blog post to share with everyone my fear to hopefully get it out of my head. I feel much better now than I did at the very start of this post. However, the nerves and anxiety are still there.

My husband is my biggest supporter and fan. He wouldn't give me the go ahead to spend the money if he didn't think it would succeed. I must remind myself of this. He is my rock and my foundation. Without him, I'd surely crumble.

Also, my dear friend J.D. Brown, my crit partner, friend, and sister in Fantasy has been there over the past month to help me put the final touches on the planning for this. I can't let her down! I know she has faith in me too and that gives me added strength - and faith in myself.

So -- after all of that -- I'm going to do it. I'm going to face my fear of failure and go for my dream. I'm going to run my own writing workshop. And I will succeed. Besides if I don't try at all, I'll always wonder what might have been.

Up Against the Wall?

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

As writers we all know what writer’s block feels like. I tend to think it is merely a figmant of the imagination, a block created by ourselves to not do something that is hard to do.

In my writing, I get blocked because of a few reasons -

1. I get bored wtih the story.
2. I don’t really want to write a scene.
3. My inspiration is gone. (I’ll explain this in a second because I think it is used too often in place of the first two)

Okay, point number one, I am bored with the story. That is good sign that I need to set it aside and work on something else. I don’t consider this writer’s block as I can simply write something else. So what block is there?

Point number two, I don’t want to write the next scene. This happens for a number of reasons – the next scene could be hard to write because it’s something new for me, or it could be that I’m about to kill one of the characters and that’s always hard to do, or it could be a situation that is closely related to my own life and hard to write about entirely. This is a self made block caused by our own fear. I don’t call this a writer’s block – I call it a “fear block” I find that if I take a deep breath and just shoot forward anyway, it works. Other times I might take a little break, work on something else or skip ahead and come back to this scene later. Either way in truth I’m not really “stuck”.

Point number three, My inspiration is gone. Okay first off, I hate this excuse – I think it’s a copout. A writer’s inspiratin or muse is never gone – you just don’t listen to it sometimes. Or it’s telling you something for another story and not the one you want. So what? That doesn’t mean it’s gone or that you’re stuck or that you have writer’s block.

Writer’s block to me is when you can’t write A N Y T H I NG – at all. I have never had that happen. I can always write about something.

But, here are some tips I use to make sure that I don’t.

1. Take breaks - a lot. I skip around from one story to another. Instead of fighting with one story and not doing anything for a month, I’ll work on a different project. It keeps the juices flowing and then I can come back to the first project with fresh eyes and thoughts.

2. Take breaks - a lot. Okay, this time I mean get away from the pen and paper every once in a while, walk away from the computer. Take a bubble bath, go for a walk, take a drive, call an old friend, etc. Just relax and refresh your brain and body.

3. Never discount anything! I write a lot of notes – and I do mean a lot. Everything inspires me – so pay attention to your surroundings. Conversation, a word, a phrase, an action can cause any sort of inspiration! Write them down as fast and as often as you can. You may not need it right now, but you might in the future. (These notes are a big thing that prevent the supposed “writer’s block” from ever coming up. A look over my notes and tada, I have something to write.) I have a notebook by my bed, in my purse, and at the computer. That way no matter where I am, I always have a place to keep my notes.

My main point here is to just keep writing – no matter what it is. Journaling, blogging, novels, poetry whatever. Just write – write every day – about something! Writer’s block will be a thing of the past as you will have plenty of inspiration – and above all practice – to back you up.

Set Writing Goals

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category: ,

Ah yes, the goals of a writer can vary from day-to-day. However, it is a good idea to at least write down some month by month goals for the year.

First you take a main goal for the year then go through each month and detail how you are going to reach that main goal.

I can tell you right now from experience that I have not followed by goal schedule for this year. But, it does keep me moving, even if it’s had a slower speed than I initially plotted out.

And that’s the point here people – write your goals down, so you don’t lose the plot. (Oh yes, I totally made that pun on purpose!)

So take a minute to write your goals down for the rest of this year. Split it up by month or even week if you want to. Whatever way works best for you. The point is to write something down. Hang it up where you can see it everyday, to keep you moving in the right direction.

A Writing Collage

A great way to really see your goals is to make a writing collage. Take images that represent your goals – even your life goals. Do you want to own a house? A nice car? Have a family? Anything! Cut out pictures and paste them all into one image for a collage. Choose colors that inspire or calm or excite you, whatever you want the collage to convey.

For me, I already had my life’s ambitions already. I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful son. My only “life” goal or dream left is to be published. So my collage was centered around that, filled with images that inspire me or that represent my writing.