Writer tools to help create believable characters (Family Tree and History)
Creating believable characters is something I find immensely fun. The curious thing for me is that sometimes it can take me a long time to do a simple genogram and timeline for even main characters.
This is a tool I cobbled together to help visualise and guide the mind in developing histories and family trees of characters.
I use Office 2010, and with that program you can create simple family tree like structures using smartart. You can download it by clicking this link. The text boxes are used to list the brothers and sisters of the corresponding person. Include the person in the list as well, so it easy to see what birth order they are.
Set yourself a challenge of writing the family tree and brief timelines of each of your main characters. Do it for other characters as well and you will notice how much it helps to understand character motivation and how they might react to certain words/events etc.