I’ve been introduced to the idea of character sheets for writing quite late into the process. I knew character sheets from gaming, where you record the strengths and weaknesses of a character, and note changes like level ups and so on, but for writing this never occurred to me.
I did have a list, though.
I had an excel spreadsheet with the first and last names of my characters, where I only noted who is related to whom. It was pretty short, since most of them aren’t related to another. It also had their respective home towns, but that was it. Once I made it, I hardly opened it again, since I knew my characters in my head and there weren’t that many to keep track of.
Then I came across a template that was offered somewhere on the internet, and I thought “Oh, this is neat!” It was basically a page where you could record your characters name, role, description, and so on.
Scrivener also has a template for character sheets, the pre-made one includes physical description and personality as well as things like external and internal conflict. I played with it a bit and filled out a sheet for each of my main characters.
While I don’t need a sheet to remind me of how a character looks or acts, it did make me think about their roles and conflicts more, and it led to me changing some things around for some of the characters. I found that one of my main characters comes across as a bit overpowered at first, being powerful and awesome. She needed to be cut down to size somewhat, so I did provide her with some weaknesses as well, and she will hit a brick wall at some point, just to level the playing field.
I think that makes the story better, so having these sheets does pay off, I think.