#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

Using Bio Poems for Character Development – #authortoolboxbloghop


There are a lot of questionnaires and sketch activities out there to help you develop your characters, but I recently discovered a shorter technique that helps me nail down my characters’ interests and personalities – the bio poem.

Bio poems are not long (11 lines), but they cover some of the most important things you need to know about your characters, and they always follow the same format.

Here is an example of my bio poem for my main character of my current WIP.


Intelligent, Curious, Kind, Perceptive

Sister of Annette, Daughter of Henry and Paulina

Lover of books, learning, and adventure

Who feels love, curiosity, and fear

Who needs to find real friends, the truth, and the strength to face it

Who gives kindness, friendship, and help

Who fears the unknown, Crothingham’s spooky hallways, and Dusten

Who wants Will to still be living, her family to be safe and provided for, and to be free of Bludington

Resident of Prosera


I’ve also included a template you can use for your own characters:Β here.

How about you? What techniques do you use to develop your characters? Let me know in the comments!

On an unrelated note, I’m about to start Writing Down the Bones. Who has read it and what did you think?


This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop hosted by Raimey Gallant. To find out more or join in the fun, goΒ here.


29 thoughts on “Using Bio Poems for Character Development – #authortoolboxbloghop”

  1. I love bio poems! I use them in my classroom with my students, but I’ve never thought of using them with my characters before. Thanks for this great idea!

    1. I’ve worked with them with students as well and that’s what gave me the idea. I was thinking how it had everything needed to create a fleshed out character. πŸ™‚

  2. Lately I’ve been studying the Myers Briggs/Jungian personality types, hoping to use those as templates for my characters, or (in some cases) identify which type most closely matches the character concept/idea I already have, and use the rest of the profile as a “cheat sheet” to fill in the gaps.
    It’s definitely a lengthier process, but for some reason I often find it difficult to write a character unless I have a really thorough understanding of their different aspects (at least loosely).

    I feel like archetype sets (zodiacs, tropes, etc.) are something I collect, as a way of giving my creativity something to start with. Even if I end up in a completely different place, I find it helpful to start by “picking 1” from among the set, and then modifying it (little by little) until I like what it is.

    I definitely like your template. Really gets something complete to take shape quickly with a few strokes, and that’s often the challenge.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love this idea! What a concise, yet meaningful and creative way to explore your characters. Thank you for providing the template, this is going to be so helpful in my next novel!

  4. Our characters are the lifeblood of our stories. I’ve never heard of Bio poems. This seems like a great way to truly understand your characters. Bravo! Sorry, I haven’t read the Bones book. Have a beautiful summer!

  5. Love that concept as a different way to think about your characters! I’m a bit of a pantser – including with my characters. I have a starting perception of them, and then then develop. But I really think I should nail things down a little earlier sometimes.

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