As I’ve mentioned before, when it comes to character planning, I tend to overdo it. The spreadsheet attatched here is comprised of several of the documents I had dotted around my folders, all edited and made slightly more coherent than when they were first made. Even if you’re not much of a planner, this can be useful to remember all the little details about each character, so that you have a record of it without having to read back through the whole thing.
Using my Fate planning as an example, here is how to use each sheet. I’ve blocked out all the lines that are spoilers.
Sheet One: Summary
This is the bit where you summarise each character. In no particular order, list the character’s full names in the middle column. Decide how important they are to the story, and put this in the left column. Obviously, if it turns out that that character ends up more important than you thought, you can change this later. I have set up conditional formatting to let you colur code their importance. If you want to use this, the options are main, minor, just mentioned and secondary. Finally, in the third column, add a short summary of the character. This doesn’t have to be anything too in depth – that’ll come later – but just how they fit into the story, or their most important trait.
Sheet Two: Description
This is where you really get into the character. Most of these headings speak for themselves, but in the sheet attatched I have changed “sight” to “unique selling point”, as what that is will usually change from book to book. In the “clothes” column, as opposed to trying to fit in a description, I have just added links to Polyvore interpretations of each character. (I will do a post on using Polyvore later).
Sheet Three: Relationships
Of all the sheets here, this is probably the most neurotic. When you have a huge crowd of characters, it’s difficult to keep track of how they all feel about eachother. Plus, this sheet forces you to think about the little things and summarise how well two characters get along. If you want to use my conditional formatting again, the defaults are unknown, strongly disliked, disliked, neutral, friend, or in relationship.
Sheet Four: Current Plots
This sheet is more ongoing than the others. I update this every chapter with what each character is up to, even if they’re not really featured, mostly to avoid plot holes. There’s a little drop down menu where you can set whether or not they appear in the chapter, and then just summarise what they’re up to in a few words.
Sheet Five: Series Plan
There was no way that I could include a picture of this without blocking out practically every cell with spoilers, but it’s fairly self explanatory. This is where, if you’re writing more than one book in the series, you can keep track of your long term plan for a character. Just write a few words summarising their role in each book.