Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday's Thought: Are Character Charts Useful?

Character charts are a tool that fiction writers use to help develop their characters. Authors fill out detailed questions such as the character's DOB, strengths, weaknesses, etc. on this chart and refer back to it as they write their story. Click here for an example of one of these forms.

Some people, however, believe that these charts are unnecessary and would rather develop their characters organically. I have used these charts myself before, but sometimes a character changes on their own and I find that filling out the charts took longer than than it was worth in these cases.

What do you think? Do you use character charts? Are they beneficial to the writing process, or just an unnecessary use of your writing time?


  1. I do use charts, but I usually only put the things that will help me craft them, their voice and unique traits as well as arc and plot. Sometimes it helps me figure out some of those holes or aspects I'm not sure of. Doesn't always work!

  2. I write my own biographies without a specific chart aid. I find the best questions are name, age, job, relationships in terms of other characters, their weaknesses and their desires which drive their role in the plot. It helps me to picture them so that I know how they will act/react within the story. I often use a picture too. It gives me a good sense of who they are. I always recall the comment that everyone has contradictions in their personalitites and so a well rounded character should also have those. One of my characters knits even though to 'see' her you wouldn't expect it.LOL!

  3. I used to think they were a waste of time, but I've just gotten back from a conference and I'm trying to fill out detailed charts for the cast of my Nano story.

    We'll see how it goes :)

  4. I use questionnaires, but I find them boring. They're just a starting point for me, just to get the basics down. Then I do the stuff I mentioned today on my blog. ;)

    Boy, everyone is in character creation mode this week. Must be NaNo. :D

  5. I do them only when I want to procrstinate and not actually write.

    And this one seems really really long.


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