I’ve heard writers from all levels and all genres (except maybe poetry) praise the character sheet. “All hail the ultimate characterization resource,” they cry, waving sheets of paper and tablets in the air, “for it shall guide us through the dark times of writers block!” I myself have recently turned to character sheets, as I found myself stuck with writing my short stories.
My feelings are mixed.
They were very helpful…for stories where I didn’t have clear pictures of each character in my head. For the ones where I did, I found them tedious. I found that it didn’t inspire me to know about a character’s childhood, for example, when I already knew how their present was unfolding. I also found that most character sheets were made for novel length work, which they are extremely helpful for by the way, but this didn’t help me with my short work. I found myself Frankensteining the sheet I was using to pick out what was most useful. Not that I’m lazy (spoiler alert: I really can be) but I wished there was a specific sheet to use.
What about you guys? Do you like character sheets? What kind of work do you use them for? Let me know in the comments or on twitter or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!