Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Character Chart Template

Last month on Dec 16th I talked about Plotstorming (character-driven plotting) here.

As promised, here are snippets of a character chart for example. Rarely do I fill out the entire thing. Fill out as little or as much as you want/need in order to know and round out your characters. I normally only do one of these for my hero and heroine. By all means add to the list if you please. LOL! To simplify things, “C” means “Character.”

Name______________ Age_____ Education _____________
(From here on out I am omitting the lines for brevity)
Current Career
Pertinent past careers/training
Celebrity look-alike (if any)
Type of dress/style
Hair color and style
Eye color and shape
Other physical attributes/description/build/physique/body type
Height and weight
Physical limitation/scar/injury/disability (if any)
Pertinent background/backstory/Pertinent past events (good or bad)
Greatest accomplishment/achievment in their eyes
Defining moments
Traumatic events that have shaped them
Greatest dream
Greatest fear
Where they grew up
Where they live now
Family history
Family dynamics now
Children? # and background
Relationship history
Divorced, Single, Widow, Widower, Estranged (circle one)and why
Current view on relationships
Describe their current relationship with God
Belief system and struggle
Faith system and struggle
Personality type (A, B, Etc. Alpha, Beta, Theta, Etc.)
Archetype if any (ex. Chief, Bad boy, Charmer, Etc.)
Temperament (This can change by the end of the book with C growth.)
One-word adjective to describe C (most noble trait)
How friends/family would describe them
How they'd describe themselves
Vehicle they drive/ride/fly
Financial status/and how they manage and view money
Socioeconomic status/ and how they view it
Ever met hero/heroine prior. If so, how so?
Secondary C most important to main C
Story Goal
Conflict (external/internal/relational/spiritual)

In addition, you'll want to know:
How H/h meet
What event/situation/plotpoint keeps throwing H/h together during book
What event/situation/plotpoint/character keeps them apart during book

Etc. Etc, Etc. and a gazillion other things. This character chart is literally PAGES long. This list is not conclusive because I don’t have two miles of space in which to type. LOL! This just examples the kinds of things that can go into a character chart SHOULD YOU DECIDE TO USE ONE. Many authors don’t. At times I don't fool with filling out any kind of chart if I'm on a tight deadline. So don’t feel bad if this method doesn’t work for you technique or time wise. Using these charts helped me to flesh out my characters better in the beginning. They also make filling out my Art Fact Sheet easier for my publisher when the time comes. The chart enables me to get the material to them expediently.

Don’t let filling out charts be a procrastination device or a substitution for ACTUAL WRITING. If you’re a panster, by all means, skip over all this nonsense and JUST WRITE. LOL.

Some people use Archetype examples, sketches or grids. Those things make my eyes cross as I’m sure this chart will make some of yours. LOL. I’m more of an instinct writer than anything else. This method works for me because I am a list person. Find what works for you.

Feel free to copy my character chart and tweak it to make it your own. Just delete my answers and fill yours in. If you use it, all I ask is that you give me credit.

For brevity’s sake I will post a copy of the specific character chart that I used for Pararescuer Ben’s story (Ready-made Family-available online now and will be in stores the month of April, 2009) in a future blog post. RMF is also the book I referenced in the Plotstorm post. I will also use this book to example the Scene Index in one of my upcoming posts. Probably February and March.

Links of other character chart variations for example:










Note: many of those are copyrighted. If you post them somewhere, you must give the original author credit. Some, you need permission to reprint. Even if there’s no formal copyright. I respectfully ask that you give proper credit to the authors or site if you share these anywhere.

Excellent resource link containing a gazillion books on characterization:
Warning: some book titles may be offensive to young readers.

Okay, your turn.

• Writers, what do you have to know about your character prior to writing a book?
• Readers, what in your opinion (traits, etc) constitutes a memorable, likable hero or heroine?
• What book and movie heroes and heroines come to mind when you think of top-notch characters?
• What made them so?


  1. Oh, man, Squirl, thanks for permission to ignore all that.

    As a pantser, I'd be driven to harm someone and that's never good, right???


    But I love the depth and thought you put into this. You and I have talked about characterization and timing often, and they're huge components of a good book.

    So as a writer, what do I need to know to write a character?

    For me the situation sets the character. How they react to things concretes their personality. I build their history and setting around that, pushing them into situations that stress them and make them grow.

    When I was a new writer, I had the mother's tendency to fix things quickly. A bunch of you guys pointed out the obvious to me, that if I fix things, I don't need the rest of the book, LOL!

    But I'm not a fan of books in any genre that pile on unrelated crises to tax the H/H. That's ridiculous. Life offers enough small taxing moments to not regale people with an onslaught of HUGE ones.

    So that helps the arc or path of the book and cements the characters into their roles as they grow.

    I 'see' them. 'Hear' them. I knew how Cade would feel when Annie reappeared in his life (Running on Empty)eight years after she abandoned him, and I knew what she'd have to face by coming home, but neither one had a choice and that gave me room to grow them.

    I think that might be the difference between a pantser and plotter. A pantser sees the book, a plotter plans it and both ways work well. Different learning styles are what make a classroom jive, right?

    Hey, chocolate raspberry coffee this morning from Boston's Best. I felt guilty for having my last two Doodles out in the cold shed so I got up at 2:00 AM, brought them in, and got to work on revisions.

    And got a LOT done. I even had enough time to bake an inaugural chocolate chip cookie cake, decorated with homemade buttercream icing.


    Lunch today is provided by the Trinity Church of the Holy Spirit Ladies Club out of New Ulm, MN. Great group of gals and they've got soup pots on to chase away the mid-day cold.

    Breakfast courtesy of Panera Bread. Try those chicken/cheese stuffed croissants. Oh mylanta, to die for!


  2. • Readers, what in your opinion (traits, etc) constitutes a memorable, likable hero or heroine?

    Im not sure but heroines that are not perfect! I like beleivable people with problems or issues like In The Perfect Match the heroine thought she had to fulfil her brothers destiny and how she deals with it.
    One other book recently it was forgiving herself for being a girl and for an accident that she beleived was her fault and caused the death of someone. It was good seeing her deal with the issue.

    I dont like heroines who tend to be weak and need a man to protect them, and dont have a voice or seem to always be in a crisis.

    One hero I related so well to was a guy Marshall rigg I think thats the last name but hes the hero in Lori Wicks California series book one. He was memorable to me and still is cos I identified with him, he wanted to be married but never meet the right person. There were other things about him I really liked at the time.
    Being able to identify with heros etc really help.
    Also like if the heroine isn't the stunning beauty. I like real people ones who struggle with weight loss, and are not perfect.

  3. Cheryl,

    Thanks for spilling your secrets in such a gentle way and for providing all the links. You seem very thorough and efficient. I'd like to emulate you, if only for one day :)

    Does anyone remember the movie "Broadcast News" with Holly Hunter and William Hurt? The characters were all very well defined. Holly was this incredibly capable woman and then she'd go behind the scenes and have huge stress-related crying jags.

    Her best guy friend (can't think of his name) would sweat profusely when he was nervous. He got his big chance to anchor the news and sweat thru three shirt changes or something.

    Thanks for the reminder that characters have to be 3D with memorable traits and for the warning not to go overboard.

    Ruthie, thanks for the breakfast and what kind of dog is a Doodle?


  4. The raspberry coffee really hits the spot, Ruthy!

    As far as memorable characters, I liked Horatio Hornblower (OK, we hit the way back button) who was a Royal Navy sea captain during the wars with Napoleon. Series by C.S. Forrester (sp?) (I think that's the right name)

    My dad had a lot of these books so I read them as a kid.

    Instead of being a super hero, HH had doubts and insecurities and huge flaws -- including collapse of his first marriage after both their children died of disease, ambition, fear of failure, loyalty to some of his fellow officers and crew. And not perfect at all.

    For all that, he seemed like a real person and also brought history to life.

    I would like to write similarly vivid characters.

  5. Cheryl, thanks for posting your character chart. I don't do these though I've tried. Your suggestion that they'd help with the Art Fact Sheets is a good one. I should give it another try.

    I have to know the core issue with my hero and heroine. In Courting Miss Adelaide, I had to know what Adelaide wanted and why, but more importantly, what in her back story makes this vital. These people have suffered and that pain drives and colors everything they do. As I write I discover more and flesh my h/h out using their reactions and introspection--the details that bring them to life on the page. Nothing instant about characterization.


  6. Janet, you cornered it with "nothing instant about characterization".

    Each scene builds on those before to create that character.

    Cathy, a Doodle is a cross between a purebred Golden Retriever and a Standard Poodle. We have one left as of today.


    Think cock-a-poo on steroids, LOL!

    And Ann, glad you like the coffee! I haven't beaten you here in a long time, girlfriend!

    And now...

    Back to our regularly scheduled programming!



  7. I'm soooo a panster....I get scared when I see charts like this.... Like, seriously, my heart pounds. Am I doing something wrong? Maybe my characters are shallow 'cuz I don't do this...etc. I know, I'm a freak. I'm OK with it, though.

    But I'm learning that each writer has their own way. Just like God made us all different.

    Buuuut, maybe I should try this just once....to see.... Maybe AFTER I catch my breath from the anxiety it provoked. **SMILE**

  8. I'm a pantser, I've finally accepted the truth. I try to figure out my hero and heroine before I start a book, but this time I totally failed! I started writing, and my hero and heroine just sort of morphed into something different. I think the hero is still morphing. I haven't completely figured him out, but they both are quite different from what I thought they were before I started writing. They surprised me. But I'm having fun with them. The heroine is really different from me, more different than any of my heroines so far, so she's fun to write. She's headstrong and stubborn and knows what she wants ... until the hero totally confuses her. Ha!

    I used at least two totallys in that paragraph. Sorry!!!

  9. I think a good way for a panster to make use of Cheryl's chart (the way I'm going to use it) is to just start writing the book as I intend but with a computer file with this in and and, rather than figure it all out ahead, how about, AS you figure it out, fill in the blanks. This could be a good tool for reminding yourself of small details, the kind you make up on the spot then later, can't remember if you made the hero 27 or 28 years old.

  10. LOL Mary.
    I have trouble remembering my character's ages too!
    I'm glad Cheryl gave us permission to pants away, because I've been having the hardest time with some ideas for a new wip. I want to get the characterization right, but when I think of listing stuff, my mind goes blank.
    Even if I don't write it down though, this is great stuff to just kind of keep in the back of my mind.
    Characters I'll never forget are the hero and villain in 3:10 to Yuma. That's one of my favorite movies.
    What do I need to know when I start my book? I didn't think of it, but looking at my manuscripts, it seems that I start my books off with the heroine's internal weakness/spiritual flaw being challenged in some huge way, so that she has to make a decision.

    Great post!

  11. Right now I'm writing a book with a hero I think people may consider 'weak'. By general heroic standards he might qualify. But I'm hoping, if I do it well, we'll see that there is a deeper meaning to strength than being quick with a gun or a fist.

    He's an artist and I love him. He's more a dreamer than a realist. When he meets the heroine, a VERY realistic woman who thinks he's wasting his life drawing pictures...just like his whole family does...he has to teach her that there is strength in beauty.

    Boiled down...he sees an elk, he grabs a sketch pad...she grabs a rifle.
    They're gonna have a lot of FIGHTS before True Love Conquers ALL.

  12. I'm with the pantsers in this crowd! Forms like this make me cross-eyed! But like Mary, I will start a computer file and as I'm writing and the characters start telling me about themselves, I fill in the blanks so I can be consistent later on.

    I also have tried something I heard Robin Lee Hatcher speak about several years ago in a conference workshop, which is to free-write a character's life story in his/her own words. I pretend the character is talking to me about random stuff or answering questions I throw out. I'm amazed at what some of these characters come up with!

  13. Hey Cheryl, excellent post!

    Before I start writing, I need to have a picture in my mind about my hero's basic physical characteristics, but I always leave room for that special something that makes him unique. This will invariably come out later when I'm looking at him through my heroine's eyes. You wouldn't think there'd be a difference, but apparently so...

    Regardless of my intent, I always seem to give my characters a unique trait. When I think back to my fav books, these are the heroes that stick in my mind b/c through that unique trait, I have an image in my mind which progresses to a scene. So for me, the unique trait is the on/off switch to my memory.

    My heroes used to be typical for the setting but as I've grown as a writer, I seem to be picking heroes who you'd think would be totally out of their element, but b/c of their unique traits, seem to work well with the setting and therefore, the story.

  14. Cathy, if you emulated Cheryl for one day you would be utterly exhausted.

    Thanks for sharing this Cheryl

  15. Believe it or not, I am a panster too. But when you have to start filling out this sort of info for your publisher (and here's to praying you all will!) you'll have to provide at least some information.

    I envy those of you who can remember all of that stuff without having to write it down.

    Having to turn in synopses before writing the book (because I'm selling on proposal and concept now) has forced me to start writing things down.

    But when I first started out, I was a total panster too.

    Thanks everyone for stopping by.


  16. I like character chart templates...until I actually fill one out. Uggh.

    Actually, I like them when other writers talk about them. Just thinking of filling one out has my stomach in jitters.

    It's not that I can't fill them out. 'Cause I can. I have.

    Yet for some odd reason I dread filling them out. Maybe because part of me views them as time wasters. The other part of me loves how some amazing insight occurs when I figure out the answers.

    One of my favorite things about a character is when s/he has a favorite saying, one that even the character doesn't realize s/he says often.

    On 24, Jack Bauer says every few episodes is "I give you my word." On the surface, you know Jack is a loyal guy. Go below and you can see how the the saying gives clue to who Jack is as a man. Loyal, dedicated, determined to come to help the other person despite the consequesnces to himself.

    On the other hand, one of the most annying things about a character is when s/he says that catch-phrase over and over and over. In a mainstream contemp romance novella I read a year or so ago, the hero constantly said his fav exclamation. Something like "Jesus Mary Peter Paul." Might have been a curse word in there somewhere too.

    (Seems odd that the phrase annoyed me so much yet I can't remember it exactly.)

    Eventually the heroine uttered the exclamation, despite the many number of times she chastised him for using it.

    Gotta go save the toddler from falling into the sink of water.

  17. Squirl, you made my eyes cross with all the info. As a panster with a definite case of ADD, all your valued info scarred my brain!!

    BUT, we all know how detail oriented you are. I'm impressed beyond all imagination that you complete something like this for every book!! There were so many tidbits I picked up from your plotstorming post, and after re-reading your character chart, there are tips I'll be snipping away and using.

    Thanks for taking the time to share all this great info!! I stand in awe of you!!

  18. Wow, Cheryl, unlike Ruthy, I am a pantster who will NOT ignore all this wonderful information!! But only because I had to learn the hard way. It's a real bear writing about fourteen main characters in a series if you don't get this detailed up front, so you might say you are saving my life with a plotter blood transfusion -- thank you, sweetie!


  19. Cheryl, I love this chart/list! There are two sections to my current wip--before my character chart and after. LoL--I need to go back and majorly fix the pre-chart work! Once I got to know my h/h better the pantser in me took over.

    Thanks for another great post--I saw several things I need to consider and figure out for my characters. Hugs!

  20. Hi Cheryl:

    I think the better you know your characters, the faster you can write your book. Some may think that just jumping in and immediately writing is faster but I think this is illusory.

    One of my favorite authors, Tony Hillerman, was a total pantster. He wrote that If I don’t know what is going to happen next, the reader sure won’t. He was right and his readers loved him. But he also admitted that he had drawers full of abandoned manuscripts because he didn’t know how to proceed after a certain point. In fact, the biggest complaint about Hillerman was the long spell between novels. Hillerman was credited with creating a whole set of ‘fill-in’ authors who wrote “Hillerman type” stories between his novels.

    Maureen Child wrote that she finds the first half of the book the hardest because she does not fully understand the characters until then. After that the rest of the book just flies by.

    I’m not so sure that one actually needs to fill out a character chart as long as one has the knowledge to fill it out. If you don’t understand your characters, it is very hard to write a believable story. Developing characters to meet the needs of story events seems to me like a teacher giving favored students the answers to test questions. They will get high scores, but it is not real.

    If a great dictum in philosophy is “Know thyself” then I think in novel writing it could be , “Know thy characters”. Anything less may produce artifice.

    I think a great test, as suggested, is having the character write an autobiographical sketch. If this is hard to do, then you don’t really know the character. How can you be a good “casting director” , as an author, if you don’t know your characters? It’s like a director saying, “I haven’t seen the script, but get Tom Cruise to play the lead. We’re after box office here.”

    Here’s an idea: have your three main characters play a Jeopardy round. How would they do? Do you know enough about them to even attempt this?

    • Writers, what do you have to know about your character prior to writing a book?

    As much as possible. I am ‘hiring’ these people to make my writing project a success. I am going to invest a great deal of time on the effort. Time I could be making money doing something else. With so much at stake, I want to insure I have the right “people” in the right slots. I think there are plotters, pansters, and pragmatists.

    • Readers, what in your opinion (traits, etc) constitutes a memorable, likable hero or heroine?

    Memorable and likeable are not the same things. Likeable: all of Betty Neels’ heroines. They are among the most likeable and worthy women in literature. Memorable: no, they are pretty much all the same woman.

    Memorable often equals quirky. Festus in Gun Smoke. House on the TV show House. I think Miss Adelaide in Janet Dean’s book is both memorable and likeable. I believe I will still think this a year from now but I can’t be sure.

    I think, M.C. Beaton’s “Hamish Macbeth” is both memorable and likeable. The same goes for Sherlock Holmes.

    • What book and movie heroes and heroines come to mind when you think of top-notch characters?

    Brando in “Godfather I”.
    John Wayne in “True Grit”
    James Stewart in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”.

    • What made them so?

    Being heroic and bigger than life while being otherwise fairly ordinary.

    That was another thought provoking post. Thanks, Cheryl.


  21. I have a hard time with the character charts because once I fill one out, I feel chained to it. But using it in the manner Mary suggested might be a great tool...filling it out as I discover things, then keeping it to remind my teensy brain what color my hero's eyes are.

    This locked-in feeling permeates my life. I'm the girl at the fabric store who chooses a pattern, then has to go find the exact fabric in the picture on the front of the Butterick envelope because I can't seem to see it in anything else.

    Then again, I never thought I would pre-plot a book, but the plotboard I learned about here at Seekerville last fall has changed all that. Post-its are such a fluid way to plot, easily shuffled or tossed out and replaced. To coin a phrase used by my crit partner, Georgiana, I love 'plotting by the seat of my pants.' Perhaps I can learn to 'characterize by the seat of my pants' too. :)

    Thanks, Cheryl!

  22. Ruthy--I too have learned a lot from Seekers. My methods are always changing. Hopefully for the better. LOL!

    And I definitely "see" the book. So deep at heart I'm still a panster. A lot of the time I fill out this chart after I've finished blowing the book out. LOL.

    Jenny--I like Lori Wick too. Thank you for stopping by and for your input!

    Cathy--thank you so much for your kind words! I vaguely remember that movie now that you mention it. Makes me want to go read it again. :-) I'm glad you found something in the post useful. Thank you for coming by and sharing good times and Ruthy's great food.


  23. Ann--I love raspberry coffee too. And hot cocoa. Those were great examples of memorable characters! I also hope mine can be that vivid. Thanks for your input and your visit with us today!

    Janet--great point about needing to know the core issue of your characters. Like your characters, my character's core issues tend to originate from something in their past. I only hope my characters are as likable and real and as well-layered as yours are. Very memorable.

    And like Ruthy, I love what you said about characterization and nothing about it being instant.

    The thing is, we might know our characters (whether by heart or by heart and by paper) but the hard part is getting that across to the reader in a non-intrusive way. And giving them a person they can feel like they've connected with on a deep level. Not easy for sure.

    Ruth...tell the ladies club that the soup is SUBLIME!


  24. Lynn, no reason to get scared. LOL! As I said, this definitely is not the method for everyone. You will find out what works for you. I am a bonified list person so I love, love, love doing character charts. If it seems like a chore...I wouldn't even attempt it. Because then writing becomes a duty rather than a delight. Thank you for coming by today!

    Melanie--thank you for coming by and commenting. I love that you're having fun with getting to know your character as the story unfolds. Often they surprise us, don't they?

    I love when a character is so strong that they dictate the story. In that case, I fill out the character chart after the story. There doesn't have to be a particular order.

    Mary--thanks for saying that. I didn't make that clear in the original post about the fact that the chart can be filled out afterward. And some people only write down five things about their character and go from that. Thanks for coming by and offering your stellar advice!


  25. Jessica--I totally can relate to the mind going blank stuff. LOL! I get that way when I hear people talking about MRUs and all that jazz. In those cases, that's probably a good indication that we're trying to force a method on ourselves that we're not wired to receive or work under. LOL! Thanks for stopping by.

    Everyone, I also wanted to say that the important thing with writing is to keep it as FUN as possible. I LOVE doing character charts because I love filling in blanks. It's probably sick how much pleasure filling out a character chart brings. LOL! But that's how I'm wired.

    If the thought of filling in blanks makes you want to throw up, probably this method won't serve you very well in giving readers characters they remember and can deeply connect with.

    And you will know this when you start receiving a gazillion reader letters that mention how well-drawn your characters are. That's the end goal. Use whatever method that works for you in order to get there.

    Most of us are constantly learning new ways to make our work better. Once I started doing character charts, my scores on characterization in contests soared. That won't be the case for everyone.


  26. Mary...your new book sounds EXCELLENT! I love the part about her grabbing a gun and he grabbing a sketch pad. I think that's what makes your characters so great..is how multi-layered and non-cliche they are. I can't wait to read it!

    Myra, I've heard about that method. I've also heard about people interviewing their characters and both of those methods make me feel on the verge of insanity. LOL! For some reason I just can't stomach the concept of interviewing a character. As I'm sure the thought of filling in blanks crosses many eyes. LOL.

    I think it is so interesting that what works for some people, won't work at all for others.

    That's why I want to stress that it is so important for people to figure out what works best for them. And no two writers will write exactly the same method-wise. There are so many variations. And I think that's a good thing.

    Anita--I'm exactly like you in that I have to have a visual image of the hero/heroine before I start. Thank you for stopping by and for commenting! You have worked so hard to perfect your craft and I pray that effort pays off for you soon in the form of contracts.

    Tina---LOL! I honestly don't do that much. My life is relativelly stress-free. I think that I get so much done because I hardly watch TV. Maybe an hour a month. I also know that I can write fast because God graced me with the ability to write a book in under a week. There's no way I could do that on my own strength. He knows time with my children and family comes before the writing. And He's answered (So wonderfully!) the prayer that I prayed long ago. "Lord, if this is something you want me to do, then you are going to have to grace me with the ability to write fast and to write well and to write through weapons of mass distraction and to write in the midst of chaos in every corner. LOL!

    Thank you for your kind words! You awe me with all you do and I'm so glad you put your efforts our way into this Seekerville blog.


  27. Gina--did you get the little one away from the water? LOL! Thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts!

    Audra--thanks for your kind words. You are always an inspiration and an encouragement to me.

    Julie--Aww! Thanks. I sincerly hope it benefits you to try the chart..or at least a variation of it. Your characters are very memorable and your characterization skills are outstanding.

    Yes, the charcter chart was a total lifesaver when I was working on three books for a new proposal AND doing various projects for three other books all in various stages of editing. There's no way I could have kept it all straight and gotten material in to my publisher had I not had the charts handy..even if they weren't totally filled out.

    I have THE hardest time remembering what color my character's eyes were as well as their ages. And since I'm writing the Wings of Refuge series and my editors have asked me to have older characters make short appearances in forthcoming books, this information at my fingertips has saved me many times from having to search back through previous books. LOL!

    I can't imagine how mindboggling it is to have to keep track of all the characters that are in the lenght of book that you write. And to keep the previous characters from previous and upcoming books in the series straight. A challenge for sure. LOL!


  28. Patty, thanks for your kind words! I truly hope the chart works to help you. If not, feel free to chuck it. LOL!

    I often go through (try and discard) several methods before finding one that works for me.

    Vince--thanks for your input on those memorable characters. That is very interesting about Tony and Maureen. Thanks for sharing.


  29. Oh and Audra..forgot to mention that I don't fill out one for every character. Especially not if I'm on a tight deadline. Sometimes I have to just wing it. LOL!

    It'll be interesting to see reader's response to those characters I didn't use the charts for compared to those I did.

    Erica--thanks for coming by! If you feel chained to the chart..probably it's not gonna benefit you. But obviously you have found stuff that works for you because of your recent sales. Woo hoo!

    Thanks everyone for coming by and sharing your thoughts!


  30. Mary, I love the sound of your hero and the ready-made conflict between your pencil-pushing hero and pistol-packing heroine. LOL.

    Cheryl, thanks for the compliment, but your characters are wonderful!!

    I have a list of character descriptions. I'm less apt to forget the details about the h/h, maybe because I'm not writing a gazillion books. The secondary characters drive me to the chart, which in my case is just a list of names with description, age, eye and hair color, peculiarities.


  31. Hi Cheryl, I loved that list. I love lists, charts, and all that stuff. Guess that's why I always do better writing non-fiction. LOL. It would scare me to death to just sit down and start writing without a clue to who these people are. But like some of you have said, once they get on the page, they do develop a mind of their own and don't always follow my plans for them. Hmmm That sounds like us trying to follow God's plan. Oh my, I'm laughing at myself right now.

    Ruthy, loved all the goodies. Have to admit though when you said you brought in your last two doodles I was sure you were talking about snickerdoodles and I started drooling and then felt foolish when I realized its the dogs you brought in. LOL

  32. Sandra, SHEW! I'm glad I'm not the only list fanatic out there. LOL!


  33. I'm a pantser who loves certain list, particularly when it gives me a clearer idea of who my h/h are. It's the only chart I do use but gives me the footing I need to get going.

    Great stuff here, Cheryl! And glad to join the rest of you ladies!

    Patty Hall

  34. Hi Patty!

    Thanks for coming by. So you're a list person too. I KNEW there was some reason I loved you. LOL!



  35. I love the idea of famous actor/actress look-alike photos being part of the official character chart. I've heard of others clipping photos in mags to create a visual as they write. I've always done this, now I feel validated! Gives your doctor's office periodical browsing new life, doesn't it? ; )
    The quality I've always felt as both a writer and reader which lends to great characterization is dialogue. A unique voice and colloquialisms make me remember a character long after 'the end' for me. I often adopt certain phrases I love into my own speech.

  36. Kathleen,

    I definitely have to have a photo (or several) onhand when I fashion my hero and heroine.

    I'm a very visual imaginator...if that's a word. LOL!

    Thanks for coming by. I hope you will zip over to read Debby Guisti's great post on brainstorming.


  37. Really great ideas. I like every example. Just might have to try these... So cute! Thank you!
    more templates easy to download