You have family, whether they are people you talk to or not, they are your family. You also have friends, unless you are some kind of weird, really antisocial person. your characters should have family and friends too. You may not need to use any of these people in your story, but you should have some idea of who they are. I’m working on revisions in a story in which one of the main characters has his entire family around all the time, which can raise tensions. You don’t have to research the character’s family back to the Middle Ages or anything, just get a sense of what kind of people they were. I use a basic family chart to keep my character’s family straight. There are two kinds of family chart, the pedigree and descendant chart, what’s usually called a family tree. Then there is the family group sheet. The family group sheet is a little more detailed than the tree is, in terms of some data. The tree can show more than two generations of a family, the family group sheet just shows the mother, father, and kids. You probably won’t need that kind of detail, but if it’s important to your story, just list the family like this.
Child 1 – birth, marriage, death information, spouse name
Child 2 – birth, marriage, death information
Some family group sheets list the spouses of the children, some don’t. the tree is more sparse. It can give a little information as a name to full name, birth, marriage, death information in each box. how detailed you get is up to you. This is the family I was talking about from my story:
The tree keeps my straight on who everyone is and that helps a lot. Knowing your character also means knowing his family situation, even if none of his family ever appears in your story. The lines indicate the relationships between the named people, in this case, my characters. The generations are shown in the levels. In this example you have the parents, Lonnie and Mary, the second level shows their children, Jon, Jilly, Josh and Jilly’s husband Greg. Jilly’s child, Micah is on the lowest level. That’s the family group. A tree is better in this instance because Micah would not show in a family group sheet headed by Lonnie and Mary. Conversely, if you set Jilly and Greg as the parents, Jon and Josh would not appear as parents can be listed for the couple who head the family group sheet. Each form has its advantages and disadvantages. For my purpose, the family tree was the best choice.
You will have to fit your character’s family in whatever way you choose, these are only two ways to do it. either will work, depending on how much information you want to put into the chart. Another way to keep track of your characters is to do a cast list with small descriptions and relate them to each other. It doesn’t matter how you do it, it only matters that you do it. it can save a lot of revising if you do.