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A confession about character charts

I don’t like character charts.

There I said it.

You’d think as someone who loves plotting and outlining that I’d be a diehard character chart person. Or I’d want to find magazine pictures of my character and make a collage. And I’d want to make a play list of their favorite music.

But I don’t do any of those things.

My first manuscript, my first conference, my first sit down with an agent – and she requested a partial. I almost died and went to manuscript heaven. I sent it off, full of hope, but received the rejection later. Something about the characters not being three dimensional. (And my writing so wasn’t ready.)

So I went on a quest. To find the secret of the 3D character.

With charts, I do like questions about the emotional mindset of the character. The questions that dig deep about why a person is the way they are. Why do they respond the way they do.

I write a fact about my character. Then I ask why. Then I ask why again and again. Until I’ve narrowed down the core emotional truths about my character.

And I love developing their backstory and what haunts them.

But all of that still won’t make a three dimensional character. 3D characters seem to be a combination of all aspects of great writing from dialogue to description to backstory to using sensory details…the list goes on.

And yes, the Snowflake Method comes with character charts. So, I did them. For all my characters. I don’t know if they’ll make a difference. I’m still a bit wary. I’ll let you know.

Do you use character charts?

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