Novels typically involve several different characters appearing over the course of scores, if not hundreds of pages. Authors need to be consistent in character depiction, personality and dialogue. A character reference sheet is immensely helpful in this regard. I thought I would provide a character reference sheet example for Lady Tiandraa.
You can use this as a guide for creating your own reference sheets, if you like.
Character reference sheets can be as simple or detailed as desired, but should include, at a minimum:
- Character description
- Relationship to the plot (protagonist, antagonist, etc)
Western Watch — my debut novel (which seems to be taking forever), features Lady Merreth as the protagonist and Lady Tiandraa as one of her antagonists. Lady Merreth has a description elsewhere on this site, but I thought Tiandraa would be a great subject to illustrate a relatively detailed character reference sheet.
Lady Tiandraa Character Reference Sheet
Lady Tiandraa is 5’11” tall (a full inch taller than Merreth). She has shoulder length black straight hair, blue eyes, and white skin (Caucasian). Facial features include a long nose and somewhat thick lips. Tiandraa’s build is thin and wiry, though there is some muscle definition due to her constant sword practice. She has strong hands and is right handed. Tiandraa has brown eyes and black, shoulder-length hair.
Good health; no past injuries.
Like all Wechtan noblewomen, Lady Tiandraa wears leather. Red Hand leather is a deep maroon in colour. Tiandraa’s boots are knee high and flat heeled. Her breeches are looser than Merreth’s with no stitching on the legs.
Tiandraa wears a belt with a small buckle slightly to one side and normally a vest with long sleeves and a collar (like a shirt collar). The vest comes almost all the way down to her breeches. If necessary she can remove the vest and make do with her riding breast band, which does leave her mid-drift bare. Tiandraa does not usually wear either hat or gloves.
Tiandraa normally does not wear a sword and restricts herself to a dagger carried on the left side from her belt. She is not a direct heir to the Red Hand and thus does not wear a whip (indeed, tradition and law prevent her from wearing one).
Tiandraa is a good swordswoman and when Merreth meets her she has been in numerous practice bouts over the previous several weeks.
Lady Tiandraa Garand of the Red Hand
Basic Biographical Data
Tiandraa is 36 years old. She was born and raised in the Red Hand province, in central/eastern Wechta. Tiandraa is from a minor, but ambitious branch of the Red Hand nobility. She has two brothers and a single younger sister. Her mother and father are both still alive.
Tiandraa’s closet friend is Lady Lyadkell Shulwar of the Red Hand, whom she has known for ten years. Tiandraa is close to her sister, but somewhat distant from her brothers, whom she values for the most part for their utility in furthering her ambitions.
Tiandraa resides in her family’s manor just outside the village of Alderhorn in the Red Hand province. When she travels she surrounds herself with a retinue of clerks, pleasuremen, and couriers. She views this as both necessary and natural for a Red Hand noblewoman. Tiandraa thinks Merreth’s habit of staying in commercial quarters and inns is contemptible.
Tiandraa was educated from a young age by Temple supplied tutors. She is an intelligent woman, but found the instruction she received to be tiresome. She is literate and numerate.
Occupation or Profession
As a member of the aristocracy Tiandraa has no occupation or profession, per se.
Religion, Superstitions, Social, Political Beliefs
Tiandraa is staunch believer in female superiority and a firm believer in the Temple Teachings. She is frightened by the gradually increasing contact Wechta has with the surrounding nation states which are all patriarchies.
The one area of study Tiandraa took to heart was Wechtan history, and the chronicle of depravity, degradation, and poverty visited upon Wechta by its former (male) rulers made a deep impression on her. She is determined to do everything she can to protect Wechta from any chance of anything similar occurring again.
Because of her views, she exhibits deep hostility towards Sable House, feeling it to be an example of backsliding and weakness given its relatively liberal and pragmatic treatment of men. She is contemptuous of Merreth as a representative of Sable House nobility.
Tiandraa is very much an ‘ends justify the means’ type of person.
Lady Tiandraa is supremely confident in herself and the Red Hand’s ability to ‘save’ Wechta from itself. She can be arrogant and short with people she perceives to be less committed than herself. She is openly disdainful of ‘weaker houses’, commoners, and, most importantly, nobles whom she believes to be insufficiently committed to Wechtan traditions.
Tiandraa is ambitious and she sees the ultimate ascension of the Red Hand as facilitating her personal goals, which include being influential in the Red Hand and ultimately the Matriarchy. She is practical in the pursuit of those goals, and is willing to make tactical compromises with her beliefs in order to assure her, and the Red Hand’s, long term success.
She can be haughty, impatient and overbearing. She is loyal to her friends, family, House, and Wechta.
Tiandraa is frightened of failure and public humiliation. She can be vindictive, particularly if she rationalizes her actions as contributing to larger goals.
Cultured, but direct
Attitudes Towards Self
Lady Tiandraa views herself as fulfilling a role in safeguarding Wechta from those who would corrupt it, either internal or external. She has nothing to learn from those beneath her, but does acknowledge her peers and superiors may, in some cases, have something worth listening to. In other words, she sees few reasons to change herself.
Tiandraa’s humour is straight-forward and blunt. It can be cruel at times, though Tiandraa does not see it as such.
People who pay her insufficient respect, particularly commoners. Any suggestion that Wechtan traditions, customs, or laws be modified to account for increasing contact with surrounding countries. Lady Merreth.
Attitudes Towards the Opposite Sex
Tiandraa is heterosexual and makes use of pleasuremen when the mood takes her, but has no significant romantic inclinations towards men at this time. However, she does wonder what such a romantic relationship would be like and is jealous, at times, of those who have found happiness in love. She worries, vaguely, about who might make a suitable future consort.
I’ve made my character reference sheet for Lady Tiandraa quite detailed, but yours need not be. Moreover, not everything in the reference sheet will necessarily make it into the story, but it all helps when writing the character.
If you can find a reference for your character, so much the better. Include it in your reference sheet. I was fortunate enough to stumble across Sabrina Impacciatore’s image. She is pretty much what Tiandraa looks like except Tiandraa’s hair is jet black. However, I’ve heard she’s much nicer than Tiandraa. 🙂
I hope you’ve enjoyed a look at Lady Tiandraa.
So what about your writing? Do you use character sheets? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time, thanks for reading, and I will see you again soon.