Character Sketch – Cressida Bancroft

Last week I talked about creating characters and I gave a few pieces of advice on how to do so. This week, I thought it’d be a cool idea to share the first character sketch that I created for the main character of a book I’m writing.

Since this is the very first sketch of this character that I created, there are some flaws and inconsistencies that need to be worked out. I have already done so, but for the sake of protecting my story, I’d rather not share just yet. So, you are welcome to take a look at this character sketch to get an idea of where to start. Again, this isn’t perfect, but it did lay some great foundation for me to build on.


Name of Character: Cressida Bancroft


Role in story  Protagonist
Physical description

•  age, height, weight, hair, skin, physique

•  facial features

•  distinguishing features or habits, mannerisms

•  upon close inspection

•  voice

•  fragrance

• 17 years old, 5’5, 123lbs, Brown wavy hair, Pale skin, Freckles on nose and cheeks, Slim

•  Oval face, Small ears, Rounded eyes, thick eyebrows, Fleshy thick lips, Short eyelashes, straight nose

•  Scar above right eyebrow, Introvert,

•   Soft-spoken


What other people notice about her/him

•  first

•  second

• Intelligence

• People don’t normally notice much. I’m too a very stay-to-myself type person so when people try to get too close, I back away.


•  Ethnicity

•  Education

•  Religion

•  Personal experience

•  Occupation, work experience

•  Sexuality

•  Residence


• Martian

•  General Education (Hunting, gathering, farming, building, cooking, tailoring, Herbalism and Diplomacy)

•  Student, apprentice Herbalist

• Lives in a pod with both parents and little brother.


Character traits

•  Strongest (or dominant) trait

•  Weakest (or latent) trait

•  Philosophy

•  Politics

•  Interests

•  Vital secret

• Skillful (Strongest): She likes to make use of things that people would normally throw out. She also likes to problem solve. She’s a thinker.

•  Perfectionism(Weakest): She doesn’t like to be wrong and therefore only speaks up when she’s 100% positive that she’s right.

•  There is no way to be perfect, but a million ways to be better.

• Takes an interest in ancestry and history of her people. Loves puzzles, riddles, and anything that requires problem-solving.

•  She steals herbs from the medicinal cabinet at the clinic for her little brother who has influenza

Significant event that molded the character’s personality •  Her best friend, Jade, was chosen as a participant in the Exploration activities when she was fifteen and never returned. Since then, Cressida has thought about all the ways in which Jade could have kept herself alive or died.  That was the year that no one returned.
Is the reader likely to have stereotypical expectations about this character?

•  How does the character defy the stereotype?

•  How does she conform to the stereotype?

• She is not outspoken, brave, or daring. She is shy and quiet and obeys laws. She likes to think for herself but stays within the limits that her teachers set for her.

•  Best friend

•  Other friends

•  Family

•  Enemies

•  Jade Egan (best friend).  Jade was adventurous and brave. She loved new experiences. She accepted the honor of being a participant in the Exploration when she was 15 and never returned.

•  Her other friends include her neighbor, Selia Jake, and Jade’s older sister Jazlyn.

• Her mother (Kate), Father (Abe), and little brother (Damon).  Her father pushes her to be more open and outgoing. Her mother never disagrees with her father (openly). Her little brother is her favorite person. He is a protector. He feels the need to stand up for his sister and make sure she is taken care of.

•She doesn’t have any real enemies. She tries to avoid confrontation at all costs and steer clear of any real trouble.

Essence of the character

•  Core need(s)

•  Ambition in life

•  What character does alone

•  Will reader like or dislike the character and why.

•  She needs to feel as though she has contributed to her people and made a mark in her world.

• She wants to become a historian and write the first book detailing the history of her people and the struggle of their journey.

•  She thinks about why there is no recorded information on their journey, why no one has ever attempted to write an account of what happened, and why we still take part in the exploration if the society is thriving as it is.

•   The reader may like this character because of her ability to solve problems and help when people need her the most, but they may also dislike the fact that she needs someone to help her with the struggle of learning to work with a group instead of flying solo.

Character arc

•  Does the character change in the story?  How?

•  Epiphany

◦                     How does the character grow?

◦                     What does the character learn?

◦ The character will change in the story. She will start off as an introvert that only pipes in with her ideas when she knows that she is 100% accurate. She will learn that mistakes are not always a bad thing, that no one is perfect, and that things are not always as they seem. She will grow to become a leader instead of a follower.

•  What does the character want?

◦                     abstract

◦                     concrete

◦                     Does character have intermediate goals?

◦  She wants to survive.

◦She wants to change things for her people.



•  What could prevent the character from achieving her objectives?

◦                     Internal conflicts

◦                     External conflicts

◦ Her objective is a dangerous one. At any point something could go wrong and result in her death as well as the death of her teammates. She struggles with speaking up and sharing her ideas with the group because she doesn’t want to be wrong and have the blood of other people on her hands. She also struggles with the fact that her teammates will kill her if she isn’t useful.

•  If the story were principally about this character what would that story line be?

◦   A young woman is picked to be a part of a team that travels to Mars in order to retrieve valuable resources, but along the way, she will have to learn to overcome internal and external struggles to save an entire civilization
In the character’s own words: something the character says which is illustrative of her/his self-perception.  “I’d rather not.”

I hope you enjoyed seeing this and I hope it helps you, even if it tells you what not to do. Like I said, this was a first draft and has evolved quite a bit since its creation.

If you have any really cool ways to create characters, please share them with me! I’d love to see them! I’d also like to feature some here for others to see, too (with your permission, of course).

KW Riley

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