Character Charts: The Best Way to Get to Know Your Main Character
When you're writing a novel, you've got to spend considerable time getting to know your characters in order to make them seem three-dimensional to your readers. It's like writing a biography of a person you've just met.
That's where character charts come in. You build a file on each character. There are questions you probably never thought to ask your protagonist--like what he tends to do when he's nervous, or what is the secret she's never told anyone.
I've found quite a few character charts peppering the internet. Each one is a little different, and you might want to try out a few to see which ones work the best for your characters. Once you've decided on one (or more), sit down and have a cup of coffee with one of your characters. You might be surprised at what they share with you.
Character Charts to Check Out
For the visual oriented writers, here is a fascinating group of 29 pages(Pdf)--everything from character attributes, to the evolution of a character's arc through the story. While there are a few pages I'm not sure how to use, I will definitely print out an make use of several.
A comprehensive chart (you can click on the Pdf download or see it on the webpage), includes a link to an astrological chart for your character.
The folks at Creative-Writing-Solutions have a whole group of charts. If you write fantasy, you may need a chart to help you identify the details of a new race, or a particular creature. They've also got charts for pets, vehicles, buildings, and new lands. You can access all of them here.
Writer's Village University has a free Character Building Workshop, with online quizzes that help you narrow down your character's traits.
Sandra Miller has compiled a list of questions you can ask your character in her character exercises.
PoeWar offers a free character building course.