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Photograph by Justin Sheely - used with permission.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Tools For Writers: Excel - Character Profile Sheet

Greetings & Salutations,

I am a writer with a technical background. I teach software and write software documentation. When I decided to begin work on my first novel I was very interested in the software and tech tools that writers were using to assist them with the writing process. To my surprise I didn't find a whole lot out there in the vast wilderness of the interwebs in the way of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets or templates. 

After reviewing several popular options I came back home to Microsoft Excel. I believe that most people probably equate Excel strictly with math which it certainly does very well. I wouldn't have made it out of my college math classes without it but Excel also happens to be fabulous for tracking and keeping a variety of information in one place. This is why I choose it as my writing assistant/tool. 

So how exactly do I use Excel to help with my writing process? 
Each of the following is a tab/sheet in my Excel Workbook:
Beat Sheet
Notes, To Dos & Tasks
Novel Summary
Novel Conclusion
Plot Outline
Character 1
Character 2 (10 Character Profile Sheets Total)
Scene Worksheets
Story Timeline
World Building

While I'm writing Excel is always open. The Character Sheets are particularly useful for not only character development but tracking changes and actions that happen to the characters throughout the story. By keeping good notes on my character sheets I am able to ensure the integrity of my continuity.

Example Character Sheet

One of the things I have come to love the most about the online writing community is how generous and helpful I have found it. I adore the fact that so many writers freely give of their time, knowledge and resources to help other writers.  In that spirit I am freely sharing the Excel Character Sheet Template that I created. I hope you will find it as useful as I do in your writing process.

File Facts
  • Free Excel Character Sheet Template
  • Created it in Microsoft Excel 2003 on the PC (the oldest copy of Excel I still own) so if you use 2003, 2007 or 2010 you will be able to open it.
  • File located on Google Drive
  • File link

This Blog Post was inspired by the following ladies who tirelessly support and give back to the writing community:
Dahila Adler -
Becca Weston -
Natalie C. Parker -