Character Profiles

This has been a dream since we started Novlr. I imagined a treasure trove of images, videos, notes, ideas, snippets, vignettes about a character that allowed me to re-immerse myself in how that character might act, be, think. We are still determined to make this the best character planning tool that exists but we need your help to understand what that might entail.

What do you need to help you give your characters depth?

Do you want to be able to upload images?

Some things you’ve suggested:

  • Click a character within the text and it bring up a discrete character profile for reference
  • Switch out a whole character for another name/character (could be solved with a regular find and replace which is on the cards)
  • In each character profile list the chapters/scenes they appear in
Status

This feature is in the pipeline!

TELL US IF YOU WANT THIS FEATURE:

1036+

72 replies
  1. Thomas says:

    One thing I would love to see is if when you wrote a character’s name in the writing screen, it became a link that you could then click on at any point and it brought up a snapshot of that characters details? Or a split screen or something? I think this would be great, as if you’re writing you can get to the relevant characters easily.

    Reply
  2. Matt Wilkinson says:

    Maybe a future feature would contain links to the chapters that the characters appear in? Or a find and replace feature for when you decide to change a character.

    Reply
        • Clare says:

          Hi Padfoot 55. Thanks for your comment. We’re developing multiple notes first which can then be used for individual characters (or anything else) before we fully develop profiles. Multiple notes should be ready in time for the next release 🙂 Thanks! Clare

          Reply
  3. Meena Rose says:

    It would be neat in general for us to customize out a “links” page for our own frequently accessed references. That way there is one less thing to sync – the browser bookmarks across machines. Like link to dictionary, thesaurus, an emotions chart, character archetypes, etc..

    Reply
    • Kimberley says:

      Hi Meena, Absolutely agree. great idea.

      Notes v2 (going live in the next two weeks) will allow links in your notes so may be able to start collecting references in there for now.

      Reply
  4. Casey says:

    It’d be great to have a kind of “pin-up board” of random images, words, links to references (i.e to resources about professions, time periods, etc.) with an open-ended copy & paste format (think One Note where you can pin screen shots or text boxes, etc).–like adding similar functionalities that exist in Evernote or One Note, but keeping it contained and organized in one platform.

    Reply
    • Matt Wilkinson says:

      I like this idea. I currently use a web app that’s an infinitely sized cork board that you can pin customised note cards to. Something similar here would be great, since it’s a pretty simple app. Might not be where the app wants to focus, but the note board app is always something I can use alongside Novlr for mind mapping. 🙂 Here’s the link if you’re interested in taking a look: https://www.noteboardapp.com

      Reply
  5. Amber says:

    Please. Please please please. Character profiles are so essential to consistencies in writing, especially when you’re in a limited space. Cork boards overwhelm me. I need something text-searchable, with the essential, consistent fields built in – like physical attributes, full name, age, personality, that jazz. I’ve been hunting all over for a character profiling tool that is focused to characters and there is practically nothing out there. If they had their own committed pages, with relationship webs that link to other characters to show where they’ve interacted… I could dream on forever…..

    Also, images. But limited. We all don’t need a dozen .gifs slowing down the servers. But 1-3 reference photos would be amazing.

    Reply
    • James Oneill says:

      Perhaps give us the ability to create character profile template which would be saved resource for us to use for all of our novels.
      Although we should be able to customize this on a novel by novel basis.
      We should also be able to hide or rename individual fields on a character by character basis

      The more modular you think about your features the better and more useful they will be.

      Reply
      • Clare says:

        A character profile template is a great idea James. We want to be able to keep it aesthetically simple so structurally could take a bit of planning but it could be a great feature.

        Reply
        • Amber says:

          A follow up on this for a visual reference – the website Charahub (still in beta, like you guys they only have a couple devs…. and for them it looks like a back-seat project at this time) is a good visual reference for what I think would be helpful with templating. They have a LOT of questions to build characters as well as the option to upload multiple images and a tab for connections between characters (which is the best). That site is a little overwhelming and doesn’t offer custom fields, but it’s conceptually interesting for writers, even though it’s geared towards roleplayers. A build here connected to specific stories, with “character notebooks” with tabs for physical attributes, personality, connections, and background allowing for up to xyz custom fields would be AWESOME. Especially with the linking feature suggested.

          Reply
          • Clare says:

            Hi Amber. Thank you so much for the suggestion to have a look at Charahub – we will make sure to head over there and get some ideas when we develop this feature 🙂

  6. Clare says:

    Suggestions from Ashley via email:
    – “I think that creating an area to make character profiles (especially in an organized/simplified way) would make this a stronger program. Often when I’m doing character profiles, I end up writing long paragraphs, but maybe having fill in categories (hobbies, age, pet peeves, physical description, background info, etc.) and an open ended note space would make the process cleaner. To link to that, maybe even creating some sort of idea web/plot building space would be amazing! It would help to have some sort of way to map characters and their connections, especially for users that are writing complicated fantasy/sci-fi stories with tons of characters, connections, and worlds.”

    Reply
  7. Catherine says:

    Amber said, “Character profiles are so essential to consistencies in writing…”

    Yes! I have the beginnings of a 4th book in a series going on and had to get outside help to maintain consistencies. A program that allowed me to do that – descriptions, hobbies, scenes, everything and anything to do with that character – would be so helpful! And to be able to access it easily? Perfect.

    (Easily = right click on a character name, select option that shows a snapshot of who they are and where they’ve been.)

    I would love to have a program that would remember who they are across the entire series, not just the one book.

    Reply
  8. Melody Hawley says:

    I would love this feature. However, there are other programs that have ways to do character information. But they are a MESS. That is not conducive to clarity of thought and creation.

    If you could come up with a better way to organize character sheets/building/backstory, that is clear and well laid out, but will still hold photos and text, that would be PERFECT.

    I have an Evernote account and use it for character creation, but I don’t like it for that. However, if it was more like a Facebook profile, that would be beautiful. With a main page for a photo, a name, a short bio, physical features, relationship and family details. But then features that you can go to with more photos, more bio, and a place for writing backstory. If it had options that we could, for example, edit what information boxes would be there on the main page, that would be great. And we could make one for each of our main characters, but for other characters we need to track things about but aren’t as important, and don’t have as much information, we could have less on that main page.

    Reply
  9. James says:

    a mesh of relationship links between characters colored for their relationship type and quality
    – a green line to show they are best friends
    – a red line if they are enemies
    – grey if they know each other passing
    – yellow if they are friends
    – orange if they do not like each other

    Reply
    • James Oneill says:

      The RPG campaign creator Realm Works has something similar and this would be great, especially if it was able to map the relationships through the story timeline so we can see the change in relationships.

      We should also be able to add organizations as characters too – church, law enforcement, government, school yard bullies, etc

      again having containers for types that we can label would be great and then you could provide the defaults so we have something to work with.

      Reply
      • Clare says:

        Thanks James – we’ll take a look and see how we can build on it. Providing the defaults and then allowing users to get creative and tailor the profile to their characters sounds great.

        Reply
  10. Mikie says:

    I would love to see this feature enabled! It would save me from the mess of little papers that I dare not discard due to the notes on characters, settings, lore, etc. that I keep on them.

    Reply
  11. Jess R. says:

    I would love it if I highlighted or clicked the character’s name I could get a breakdown of their description like hair, eye color, height, skin, and age. Right now I try to keep all that in notes or a spreadsheet but I still forget what they look like.

    Reply
  12. Caleb Powers says:

    Being able to upload pictures, audio, video, links to websites, and other such references would be fantastic. That’s one of the things I’m missing from yWriter 5, which I used to use to write before Novlr. Also, it would be awesome to have an “importance” feature on each character defining them as a main or secondary character (or maybe even more detailed than that–protagonist, antagonist, support character, minor character, etc…)

    Another option that would be helpful would be to have separate fields for alternate names a character might have, whether that be aliases they go by or their full name as opposed to their first name.

    Thanks so much for all your hard work on Novlr! 🙂

    Reply
  13. Mikael says:

    I believe this is going to be awesome feature. but, please keep it simple in term of look and feel. dont make it too distractive because what i need is a clean writing environment.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Mikael, we’re all about simplicity and distraction free writing so we will do our best to make it so. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  14. Margaret says:

    this may be farther down the line, but if we have these profiles, could they have a few standard fields (and maybe the ability to add custom ones) that would work with the other types of functionality?

    for example:
    Name: Bob
    Hometown: Central City
    Born: 1995
    Married: 2015
    Died: 2048

    and then in the timeline functionality that i see is coming, have the birth, married, whatever dates show there if i want? like a “show dates from character profiles” option?

    omg as i type this i am coming up with more ways to cross over like this. like, not just having character profiles, but profiles for places, cities, religion, culture, government – like that. and then if a character has a place as a hometown on their profile, that town’s profile could have a listing of inhabitants that link to the character profiles.

    sorry, this is super advanced, and probably too much, but it would be cool.

    also – and this isn’t related, but i am on a roll – the ability to upload and organize sketches of maps/characters/places and such would be good; particularly if they can be connected to these profiles.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Margaret – we love your enthusiasm for this feature. We’re really excited about it too and want to get it right, so thanks for your suggestions. It would be great to have standard fields then extras on top. We want to be able to add images to the profiles as well. Let us know of any more suggestions you have! Thanks again 🙂

      Reply
    • Towim says:

      I am really loving where these ideas are flowing. I would love to have timelines incorporated into this feature, so we can see major events in each character’s life, and how they match up with other characters throughout the flow.

      Also, if you add set fields for character data, please make it customizable. I hate when I am writing high fantasy and some character field pops up asking me where they went to high-school. Very little jars me more.

      Reply
      • Clare says:

        Thanks Towim! Great to know you like the features. We’ve also got an outline/planning/timeline feature which could work quite well with the character profiles with the timelines you mention. We have also had quite a few requests for customizable fields for the profiles so will take it into consideration 🙂

        Reply
      • Graham Brand says:

        “I hate when I am writing high fantasy and some character field pops up asking me where they went to high-school. Very little jars me more.”

        +1 to this. I’d far rather have a blank notepad for my character profiles than a list of irrelevant questions that I can’t remove.

        Reply
        • Clare says:

          Hi Graham. Interesting and I like the stance on this! Additional notes will be added before Character Profiles so that might be just the ticket for you! 🙂

          Reply
  15. Ashley says:

    I would like a character profile where I can write down physical characteristics of a character and then write their background in as well. Where they came from, life difficulties they’ve had, ect.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Thanks for your comment and suggestion Ashley. Lots of users have suggested customisable fields for the character profiles which could be useful. Keep the suggestions coming 🙂

      Reply
  16. Clare says:

    Email suggestion from Annie: A character map. I’ve searched the net and I can’t find what I want. Sort of like a family tree / process map of who is who and how they are related / know one another etc.

    This would really help with world building and keep track of who is who – so can go and add people as they appear in the story as we all know new characters just appear sometimes.

    Reply
  17. Sheila says:

    Love this idea! I’ve just discovered Novlr and can’t wait to get started. I’m not sure if anyone has put this idea out there, but it would be really cool to have a link to relationships between characters within our novels and/or within series of novels. I have an idea of a series of shorts where all of my characters are connecred to each other in some way. It would be awesome to be able to see a list of relationships when you pull up a character profile. Thank you for all of your hard work. 👍😊

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Sheila. Thanks for your comment. Glad you are loving Novlr! Thanks for your suggestions. That would be a great addition to the feature and one which i’m sure a few users would appreciate! We will look into it! Thanks again 🙂

      Reply
  18. Erin says:

    I have an embarrassingly long and detailed character outline process that I use right now… it’s at 21 pages of questions, currently. I don’t usually fill it all the way out except for the protagonist, but it’s so helpful to have those personality traits, physical features, and background information already written down.

    If there were standard fields listed out (which I am pretty sure I saw noted above), it would be great to have the option to have additional fields and sort of build your own basic character template. I know that not everyone plans out their characters extensively and prefers to let the story shape the characters as opposed to the other way around, but (obviously) I’m one of those who needs to have a good feel for the characters I’m writing before I can get started. Maybe if there were a way to categorize the fields as well, so they could be under sections such as “Physical Appearance”, “Family History”, or “Personality”, similar to an outline, I suppose.

    Also, I saw a couple comments for something like a family tree/relationship map, and I wanted to add my vote in for that being incredibly helpful.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Thanks for your comment Erin! This is great to hear what you would find useful in this feature. Planning is always a good idea and you sound like you have yours sussed! Additional fields would definitely allow this to happen and will be something we take into consideration when developing the tool! Thanks again 🙂

      Reply
  19. Rebecca Bohn says:

    I love your ideas for character profiles, and I have to say that it’s my number one wish for Novlr. Images, particularly, would be helpful. Currently, I have text character profiles saved in Word docs in my Dropbox, and pics/images on Pinterest. I can’t figure out a way to combine the two in a concise way that would be easy to look up. I tried using your Notes feature for this, but I’ve got so much in Notes that the character profiles are kind of lost amidst everything else. And I tried everything I could think of to get Notes to accept an image, LOL! Even told it I had homemade biscuits.

    The versioning seems great; I’ve checked it out a bit. Thanks again for all you do. Novlr is a writer’s dream.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Rebecca. Thanks for your comment. Character Profiles are a few releases off but we will be releasing multiple notes in an upcoming release which should make it easier for you to put the text character profiles in even if you can’t put your pictures in just yet. I hope that’s enough for homemade biscuits! Thanks again! Clare 🙂

      Reply
  20. Sally says:

    Hi! I think with the character profile, a great feature would be something that would help you build a character from the ground up. It could ask you questions like what’s his name? Who’s his father? What drives him forward? Where was his first kiss? What was his first pet? Questions could be both serious and silly. You could answer all of them or skip most and answer just a few! I think it would be great for when you’re first brainstorming a novel.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Sally, thanks for your comment! We’ve had some contrasting views on Character Profiles so it’s really interesting to hear a wide range of ideas. Some people want Novlr to provide the basics, some want more in-depth questions and others want a blank page! We’ll take them all into consideration when we create it but I like your idea in that you can really get a feel for your characters by the types of prompts it could ask 🙂 Thanks again!

      Reply
  21. Vasco says:

    Apologies in advance if this has been suggested already.

    I would like that character profiles worked a bit like facebook profiles. Not only would you have a profile pic, date of birth, location, description, etc. but also their connections. Mother, father, brothers, friends, enemies, etc. So you can easily navigate from one to the other. The system should be versatile and allow you to group the character’s connections into Family, Sports team, Biology class, Military unit, Vampire hunting crew, whatever. You just group them, then name the group. It would also be nice if you could use a color coding system that describes the relationship with each connection. So if a character doesn’t like someone, that someone’s pic would be framed red, while a love interest would be framed pink, best friend would be blue and so on. Beneath the connection pic, you could write further about how the character feels about said connection.

    Reply
  22. Clare says:

    Suggestions via facebook from Angel – I’d love to be able to see something that allows for character profiling where we put in the description of the characters we want to use, and then Novlr gives us a few rough sketches of them. I think that would be really cool

    Reply
  23. Jennifer says:

    I love the idea of character profiles. Before the company went defunct and I was no longer able to access the program, MyNovel4 (I was a user since 2) was always my go-to program. It had everything and I’m happy to see a lot of it’s features are being suggested here.

    The thing I love about character profiles (and setting profiles!) are the ability to add images. The thing though that can make or break a profile creator (in my opinion) are the questions asked to help flesh out the character. A profile isn’t that helpful when there are only a handful of questions. The more, the better!

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Jennifer, Thanks so much for your comment. It’s great to know that you like lots of the suggestions here and think they would work well in the feature. Images are also a good idea for the profile. It was suggested by another user that it should be like a dating profile with a picture, bio and facts. We’re excited to develop it. First will come additional notes where you can have one note per character though and we will develop from there 🙂 Thanks again!

      Reply
  24. David Belisle says:

    Yes, you definitely need to add images. As a screenwriter, I’m always writing with the actor in mind who I envision portraying the character. As novelist, I’m automatically doing the same thing. An added benefit is that the image provides the kick-start to describing my character’s features. … Those pictures are indeed worth a thousand words. Or more.

    Reply
  25. laura says:

    No tie to read everyone’s great notes, so pardon any duplicity. I would love for the chapters the characters are in to be links, so we can click on them and be right there.
    Also, I would love a keyword search so we can search for scenes easily.

    Reply
  26. Tom says:

    I love the idea of being able tohover over a characters name and it give me a basic Bio of them 🙂

    It would certainly help in the long run as most of the time I end up having to pausemy writing to dig out a the character description, likes/dislikes etc. and it makes me lose my flow.

    To be able to have it there and then would be so helpful!

    Reply
  27. Jenny O'G says:

    I’d love to somehow combine stats & characters, so I could have a page for each character with stats on how frequently they are referred to with particular descriptions – ie. Do I keep mentioning that character A’s hair smells like coconut, or does character B stride away in every single interaction?
    Would help with edits but also to keep characters true to their traits.

    Reply
  28. Codi says:

    In my case, I’m hoping to write a historical fiction, so many of my characters are going to be based on actual people. For both historical fiction as well as those writing nonfiction, perhaps the ability to add links to sites for personal reference to the characters in question could be useful.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Codi. Thanks for your comment. As you say, developing the ability to add links would be great for fiction and non-fiction so thanks for suggesting it! Character profiles is one of the features we will be looking into with the money we were able to get from the lifetime offer 🙂

      Reply
  29. Toji says:

    Just waiting on this feature to be enabled before purchasing this app subscription. This feature should be way up there in importance. Complex, interesting fleshed out characters drive the story, a good story with weak characters falls apart quick. The more options we have to profile these characters in detail and track them throughout the story the better. Maybe even a feature that allows us to flesh out the characters arc/growth path throughout the story.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Toji, Thanks for your comment. We’ll be developing the ability to add additional notes in before we fully develop this feature. This will allow you to have a notes section for each of your characters if you wish to be able to add in anything you want. Hope that is sufficient for now and that you can help us with the full development down the path! Clare 🙂

      Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hi Lisa. Thanks for your comment. We’ll be developing additional notes before Character Profiles. This will allow you to have an individual note section for each character if you want. Hope that will be sufficient fo now at least! Clare 🙂

      Reply
  30. Arnoud says:

    I like a lot of CharacterWriter’s (http://www.characterwriter.com/) features in helping me build out my character, but the integration with Scrivener is non-existent. It would be nice to be able to ctrl-click on a character’s name (or alias) to pop-up a new tab with the character profile, or ctrl-hover to see a quick tip with a character blurb.

    Taking this a step further: if the timeline tool can associate the text to a point in time, the blurb could show the age of the character at that point in time, that scene.

    In my mind I define character very widely to include objects, places, and so on.

    Reply
  31. Connie says:

    Novlr is the only word processing app online I prefer to use because of its great interface and design! That said, the one major element lacking is the character/notebook feature! One of the biggest parts of writing is developing characters and although the notes are nice, I actually have separate profile documents I have to upload as sub-chapters just to string it alongside my notes; it’s the only roundabout way for me to organize my novel that works for me. If this feature was added I’d totally be sold into a yearly membership.
    It would be also cool if there would an option to somehow “sticky note” characters to chapters or novels that are in a series. Perhaps even a feature that could connect the names like a family tree would be interesting too.

    Reply
  32. Charlotte says:

    I often think of my setting rather like a character. Perhaps a feature to build locations/settings similar to these proposed ‘character profiles’?
    I would love to upload sound files (what does it sound like at this location?) and pictures and even hand-drawn maps I often make. For more literary fiction, it would be nice to link googlemaps for quick reference, too. Sometimes a house, city, church, or any such place can be the heart of a story, or at the very least an essential motif.
    Thanks for listening to us!

    Reply
  33. Medorie says:

    So, I’ll don’t know if this will be or sound feasible at all, but when I originally thought of this I thought of being able to click the character name and a little silhouette of a person would pop up. I could click their hair and a description (that I wrote) would pop up or images or whatnot. I’m not sure if that makes sense but that’s honestly my dream.

    Reply
    • Clare says:

      Hey Medorie – that sounds awesome! Not being the developer, I wouldn’t know if that would be possible, but definitely something for us to look into/consider 🙂

      Reply
  34. Candice Jeremie says:

    I do look forward to a cork board or something similar so that, at a glance, I can see all the relevant information on a character or a scene.

    Reply
  35. JP says:

    I like the idea of seeing the product backlog, especially for an exciting feature like this. But you’re really far behind in implementation. This, and location profiles, is the one that keeping me from subscribing.

    Reply
  36. Jeffrey says:

    Why limit this feature to just characters? Why not locations, too? And/or a free field way to connect information and reference material?

    (And include picture uploads!)

    Reply

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