Adding Character Bio to Reedsy Editor

How to Create a Character Bio in the Reedsy Writing App

The free Reedsy writing app has all kinds of neat features for authors. That includes elements for the planning phase of your novel. Today, let’s create a character bio in Reedsy for a more engaging story.

Never underestimate the value of a fleshed-out character in your book. They can deliver a memorable and relatable experience, which further connects the reader to the novel.

The last thing you want is for a reader to feel that your characters are two-dimensional.

Creating the Character Bio in Reedsy

For this tutorial, I’m going to assume that you already have a book set up in Reedsy and are ready to create some characters.

It also helps if you know a bit about the planning board and ways to set up your book ideas.

Step 1: Create a New “Note”

From the manuscript, click on the planning board icon on the left of the Reedsy book editor.

Planning Board Icon

The default planning board comes with examples of how you can set it up for your novel. However, I spent time deleting those elements and structuring the board to fit my needs.

You can keep these examples if you’d like, but I find the board easier to manage if it’s not cluttered with elements that are not pertinent to my book.

Step 2: Create a Character Folder (Optional)

You don’t technically need to create a separate folder for a character bio in Reedsy. However, there is something to be said about organization. It makes things so much easier to find while writing your manuscript.

Click the “Add” button on the top left and select, “Folder.”

Create Character Bio Folder

A small popup window will open to create the folder.

Give the new folder a name. Since we’re creating a folder for character bios, let’s keep it simple and just label it, “Characters.”

Of course, you can name it whatever you like. But keeping it detailed and simple will make it easier to find your characters later.

Title Character Folder

Now, let’s give the folder a recognizable icon. You don’t have to do this part, but it makes identifying the folder at a quick glance so much easier.

Not to mention that I like the icons when organizing my planning board.

Use the drop-down box on the left of the folder title and select an icon you want to use to highlight the folder.

Select an Icon

Reedsy has a lot of different icons available, opening all kinds of ideas and possibilities for what you can track and organize in the planning board.

Once you have the icon you want to use, click the “Save” button on the right.

Save Character Bio Folder

Step 3: Add Your First Character Bio

The Notes you can create in Reedsy are universal. This means you can use them for just about any purpose when planning your novel. It comes with a variety of options that you can customize to fit a wide range of needs.

In this case, we’re using the Notes in Reedsy to create our character bio.

Click on the “Add+” option from the newly created folder window. You can also use the “Add+” option on the top left.

Add a New Note

A new blank Note will appear and is ready for input.

Give the Character a Name

First, click in the “New note…” section and give your character a name. You want the character easy to find, especially if you plan on having a lot of primary characters in the story.

Name Your Character

The character’s name will also show in the left admin panel of the Reedsy book editor.

Provide a Short Description

Add a short description of the character. This text is displayed when you look at your character folder as a whole. I find it better to keep it as a quick reference for the individual in the book.

Short Description of Character Bio

You don’t want too much information in this section. Perhaps something that is quick and easy to denote who the character is in the story.

In a moment, we’ll add the meat and potatoes of the character in the bottom text area.

Add the Character’s Attributes

The attributes section is where the character development gets a bit fun. This will completely depend on the character you’re creating in the story and the tidbits of information you’ll use to make it feel more real.

Click on the “Add attribute+” button on the character form.

Add Attribute to Character Bio

Give the attribute a new title. This can be anything that you want to add to your character, such as Hair Color, Eyes, Height, Weight, Species…virtually anything you’d like to help you flesh out this particular individual.

Attribute Title in Reedsy

For this tutorial, I’m going to start with “Height.”

Now, set the “Type” of field you want to use. This is a field that will appear to the right of the attribute’s title.

Attribute Type

You can use:

  • Number
  • Text
  • Checkbox
  • Link
  • Date
  • Relationship

In this instance, I am simply going to use “Text” so I can type in the character’s height.

Repeat the process and add as many attributes as you’d like. You can even get creative by adding the URLs to websites for research purposes.

For example, I have a URL to a YouTube video demonstrating the use of a model 1873 Colt .45 Peacemaker as that is the weapon of my main character.

Character Bio Reference Links

Add Specifics for Your Character

After adding a few attributes for the character bio in Reedsy, let’s add a bit more information.

Click into the section under the “Add attribute” button and begin writing.

Here is where we would put information that goes beyond a single text field.

For example, you could plan out character arcs, add a short backstory as to why the character behaves the way it does, or to even make personal notes regarding events as they happen in the story.

Detailed Character Bio

The bottom line is that this section is ideal for really fleshing out a character and making it more realistic. Of course, you’ll still have to describe these elements in the manuscript.

Fleshing out a character bio doesn’t mean much if you’re not putting in the effort to bring that character to life in the story.

Add an Image (Optional)

You don’t need to add an image to your character bio in Reedsy. However, I find that it helps when describing the character’s appearance in the book.

This is because I think cinematically and often base my characters on real actors who I feel would play the part well.

For instance, I use the image of Kate Beckinsale’s character from Van Helsing as a physical model for Elizabeth Grey – one of my characters in Shadows.

Click on the “Add Image” area of the bio page.

Add Character Bio Image

This will open your computer’s file browser. Find the image you want to use and add it to Reedsy.

Garrett Patton

As I said, you don’t need an image for your character. I just find it helpful to give me a visual of what I am trying to describe to the reader.

And yes, this is a real character in my next book.

Pin the Character to the Manuscript (Optional)

Lastly, one of the many nice features of the planning board is how you’re able to pin a “note” to the manuscript. That way, you have access to information as you write.

In this case, we’re going to pin the character bio to the Reedsy book editor. That way, we can easily write the character’s introductory description and whatnot throughout the chapter.

On the top right of the screen in the character sheet, click the “Pin note” button.

Pin Character Bio to Reedsy

The note will then pin itself to the right side of Reedsy. At this point, you can quickly access it while writing the manuscript.

Pinned Bio in Manuscript

Pinning notes in Reedsy can work for a lot more than just a character bio. I often use notes to view my outline as I write or to display research information while I’m writing a certain scene.

You can open and close the pinned note at any time by clicking the thumbtack icon on the right.

If you need another character or note page pinned, you’ll have to go back to the planning board and select a new page to pin.

Grammarly Grammar Checker

Why Create a Character Bio in Reedsy?

As I’ve said a couple of times in this post, you don’t absolutely need to have a character bio ready for your book. Nonetheless, it can be incredibly helpful while writing.

For instance, sticking with a character’s mannerisms and behaviors can help you write realistic dialogue and actions. Being true to the character is a way to keep the reader interested while giving a reason to care about what happens to it.

The more characters you add, the more difficult it becomes to remember who does what and why. Creating a bio helps you keep those individuals organized and more lifelike.

This is especially true if you give the characters flaws and traits similar to a real-life person. Not every character needs to come out perfectly suited for every situation.

It’s all about creating a strong character arc – the change from the character in the beginning to who it becomes at the end.

This isn’t to say that you can’t write a realistic character without fleshing out a bio sheet. I know a lot of authors who do just fine simply remembering their characters in their heads.

But adding details to a character in this fashion can help in profound ways.

10 Tips to Flesh Out Character Bios

Whether you use Reedsy or not, adding details to a character bio can help you write one that is memorable. And that is a key element when trying to craft a good book.

So, what are some things you can do to flesh out the character?

  1. Go Beyond Physical Description
    Physical descriptions are nice, but what about mental traits? Does the character have various preferences? Does the character hate spiders?
  2. Use URLs for Research Purposes
    Keeping track of various URLs when researching a book provides a quick reference. Nothing is worse than having to conduct searches all over again.
  3. Focus on Relevance
    Keep the details of the character relevant to the story and his or her behavior. If the book is set in 1874, there’s no reason to list a favorite flavor of coffee from Starbucks.
  4. Short Backstories Can Help
    You don’t need to write an entire short story for a character’s history. However, a few sentences regarding his or her past can help shape decisions in the book.
  5. Use Behaviors and Mannerisms
    Behaviors and mannerisms add flavor to characters while making them more realistic. Plus, it can help you write the story knowing how characters would react in various situations.
  6. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Changes
    A character bio is not set in stone in Reedsy. You can change any aspect at any time, add more information, or make adjustments that better fit your story.
  7. Plan Out a Character Arc
    One way I avoid a lot of issues with writer’s block is by outlining my books. This includes planning out what kind of an arc I want for each character.
  8. Images are Helpful for Descriptions
    I use images for the characters I create based on real actors. I think about who I would want to play each part if Netflix or Hulu turned my book into a movie or series.
  9. Add Strengths and Flaws
    Part of making a believable and memorable character is detailing strengths and flaws. These will vary depending on the book you’re writing.
  10. Pin Notes to the Manuscript
    Pin notes to the manuscript as you write. Whether it’s a character bio, story outline, research materials, or even just an image in Reedsy, taking notes can help the flow of productivity.

FAQs for Character Bios

What are the best things to put in a character bio?

Anything that connects your character to the story can be in a bio. This includes physical traits, emotional states, behaviors toward others, and much more. The key is to make the character bio relevant to the story itself.

What is basic character information?

Basic character information can be things like names and physical traits. Age, sex, nationality, visible scars or tattoos, height and weight, and even hair and eye color are basic for a description. Think of it like this, what kinds of things do you notice of a person you see walking down the street? That is basic information.

What important aspects should be in a character bio?

Important aspects of a solid character bio include physical description, a summarized backstory, what motivates them in the book, what kind of possessions they have, family ties, and lifestyle mannerisms and choices.

How much is too much for a character bio for a book?

As a rule of thumb, information in a character bio should be mostly relevant to the story. If coffee isn’t a part of the narrative, then why worry about favorite Starbucks flavors? Try to keep the information centered on the plot and subplots.

Can you write a good book without having a planned character bio?

Yes. However, creating the bio can ultimately help you envision what you’re trying to describe. This includes physical descriptions as well as the character’s interactions with the surrounding world. In other words, it’s a helpful device to keep your character realistic and memorable.

How Realistic Are Your Characters?

Creating realistic and memorable characters is an important part of writing a good book. If people don’t care what happens to them or cannot relate in some way, then they come off as two-dimensional and boring.

This is why it’s important to create a good arc while giving characters traits that mesh together well within the story.

The Reedsy writing app makes creating a character bio easy. The best part is that the character is forever saved with the book you’re writing. That means you’ll never lose the note unless you purposely delete it.

What kind of traits have you given characters in the past to engage your readers?

Michael Brockbank
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