Why Characterization Charts Don’t Work

No doubt you’ve seen them — the charts that allow you to get to know your novel’s characters by filling in the blanks. These charts prompt you with basic questions about each character: Siblings? Age? Education? Many writers spend hours diligently completing these charts and still don’t really know their characters.

The One with $500

My novel takes place on a cross-country train trip from New York to California, pre-iPods, cell phones and personal computers. After the main characters have played cards and read the newspaper, there is nothing left for them to do but (gasp) talk to each other. They...

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