It's even useful for non-writers.
It's called Family.Show and it's a fantastic graphical genealogy program. I've been fumbling around with it and it is one of those serendipitous things that right at the moment when I was editing some of my manuscripts for submission (Yay! The Wild Rose Press asked for a partial!) I found exactly the program I needed for free. You see one thing I've been doing as a writer is creating a community of characters for my Regency novels. Many of the characters are related and what with one thing or another, I've been losing track of birth dates, physical traits, etc. I've used everything from MS Word documents to spreadsheets to a character database and it was just too difficult because I couldn't keep all the relationships straight. So I had been thinking of using a genealogy program to do it and voila! I get an RSS feed from Tim Sneath on exactly the same day when I realized I needed a genealogy program and guess what? The fabulous guys at Vertigo released this super-easy freebie program to show how WPF works (you can even download the source code—I mean how cool is that? — okay, I warned you that I'm a computer geek).
Here is what I really like about this, as opposed to all the other programs out there on the market. Besides the fact that it is free, of course.
You have little humanoid characters with lines and dates showing the relationships of the people (characters) you input, PLUS you can add pictures! PLUS you can add text (they call it "the person's story") where you can describe things like physical traits, etc. I've been adding at least the following:
- Eye color, hair color, distinguishing marks
- Personality type, dominate traits, bad habits, and general motivation: what makes this person do what they do
- Major issues
- Speech habits, pet phrases, etc.
If you click on the [Photos & Stories] button, you can add all the information about that character you could ever possibly want (as I show in the next image).