So if you're already rolling your eyes and thinking, "Not interested," let me just say one thing - when you are published, your copy editor will sing your praises if you send them a character chart. They need them to check your continuity.
For my character chart, I use an Excel spreadsheet. I track details about my characters like their birthday, what they look, etc. Because it's hard to remember if Johnny-who's-in-four-scenes-spread-through-out-the-book has dark hair or light, blue eyes or green.
I used to make my character chart after I'd written my book; I didn't want to be slowed down by noting that Anna has brown eyes. But with my current WIP (work-in-progress), my character chart has evolved, and I'm already seeing some serious benefits.
After I finished my first three chapters and got a feel for who the major players are in my book, I created my character chart. Here are the headers I used:
Relationship to MC (main character)
Storyline or role played
Birthday and Age
Motivation and Conflict
Goal and Conflict
Epiphany and/or Need
Now, obviously this would be a lot of info to fill out for every character. But utilizing something like this can help round out your secondary characters and crystallize them in your mind.
It'll be easiest to fill it out for your main character, so let me show you what it looks like with a more minor character.
Name: Auburn McCaffery
Relationship to MC (main character): Best friend's boyfriend
Storyline or role played: Doesn't understand MC's need to create a name for herself. A lot of times he'll give advice that's only going to drive Macy (girlfriend) further away from him.
Description: Light brown hair, hazel eyes, 6'2" and broad, but not thick. Smiles easily, but is still considered serious. Engages in everything seriously - relationships, work, school, soccer.
Birthday and Age: June 23rd, age 17
Motivation and Conflict: To provide a good life for him and Macy and take over the family business/Macy seems to be pulling away
Goal and Conflict: To marry Macy and take over family business/Macy doesn't want to stay in town.
Epiphany and/or Need: Love requires sacrifices
History: Auburn grew up on the vineyard and has always looked forward to owning it. His favorite part is caring for the animals. He was raised by a very logical businessman, a single father, and that's made him a touch oblivious when it comes to the complexities of girls.
You'll notice that for Auburn, that his motivation/conflict and goal/conflict are basically identical. I have two different columns because that's not always the case. Like for Macy, his girlfriend, hers reads:
Motivation and Conflict: Macy wants a life of her own, but doesn't know how to achieve this without hurting everyone she loves.
Goal and Conflict: To attend USC and eventually get a job writing for TV/Scared to strike out on her own.
You may find that you want additional columns on yours. Or that you don't need all of these. That's great - make it your own, and make it work for you. What I loved about doing this before I did any detailed plotting is it helped me think through the plots of my secondary characters and how those could weave through and affect my MC.
Previously when I've made my character charts, it's all after-the-fact, so it's boring. I'm just documenting things for the sake of the editing process. Doing it like this - after I've written the first three chapters, but haven't figured out the rest of the book yet - made it much more fun because I was getting to create.
That's all for today. Don't forget to get your writing prompt's in by next Monday night!