Character Fact Sheets: Do you keep them? How much detail do you put into one?
I keep a character sheet for everyone in my story.  When it comes to the MCs I know just about everything there is to know about them.  Where the grew up, where they went to school and what is their family make-up just scratch the surface of the bio I maintain on them.  I know what they drive, what style they furnish their home in and what they do to blow off steam when no one is watching.   When I get writers block I often work on a bio and get to know my character better.
How well do you know your characters? 
  • There are two fun books - Take Your Character to Dinner  and What Would Your Character Two.  Both have little exercises to get you thinking.

  • I use a character fact sheet as well.  Recently I heard about interviewing your characters.  I may try this for the next novel. 

  • Your post has inspired me Christine.  I never thought of looking through my character's eyes before and this could be the difference between 2D and 3D for me :-) 

  • I cannot get character traits down until I am about a quarter to a third of the way into a story.  I think I just need to start out the story, and then the characters reveal themselves to me.  I have tried both ways, and have found my characters have more interesting past experiences after I know them for a while.  

  • I like having character sheets before I start writing a story-- physical traits, when their date of birth is, favorite color, favorite expression, quirks, and their history etc. I find it helps with consistency and having the different characters read like they are actually different people. But then I have to be careful not to info dump in the first few sentences of the story, lol.

  • I am the same way, Christine.  It gives a whole new outlook on things, and how they are viewed.  It's weird sometimes, but informative, and really does enhance the story.  Makes it less my story, and more the characters.

  • I don't keep a character sheet, but I think I will start. It does make it easier to keep your characters "straight" and not get confused, thus, keeping you organized. Organization is important in this line of work. :))

  • I always tell people that I know my characters better than I know my most intimate relationships because not only do I know all of the facts about a character's existence, but I also know their deepest, sometimes darkest, thoughts, motivations, and fears.

    And I don't stop at knowing them. Once a character is fully formed, I slip inside of their skin and I look at the world through their eyes. Often times I am shocked by what I see. In this way, I give characters that were once my own creation, permission to hijack the story I thought I was telling and I allow them the freedom to give voice to their own.   

  • I use a program when I write that has a box to add a character, it has a spot for Short Name, Full Names, Alternate Names, Description, Bio, Notes, Goals and a Picture if you want.  I use this as a character sheet where I write everything down as it comes to me and I like to add a picture for inspiration of that character as well.