Plot vs Pant: Character Templates

I’ve decided to start a new series here on the blog about my quest to learn to plot. This is the first post in that series I intend to post as it’s relevant to what’s happening with my writing life. I know you all will be waiting with baited breath, won’t you? 😉

Recently, my husband purchased BREAK INTO FICTION by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love. No, not for him for me, of course. I mentioned this to my critique partner and she had the brilliant idea of going through the book and filling in the templates together. Sort of like a mini-workshop. I’m all for it!

We started at the beginning, filling out the character templates for chapter one and set a deadline when to have them done. One template for each main character. I started with my hero and heroine. There are twenty questions and I was stumped after the first one. So I filled in as much as I could. I’m really not very good at this form thing but I’m trying.

I sent her my forms and she sent me hers. Since she’s more of a plotter than I am, she had hers all filled in. I swear, she makes it look easy. 🙂 All her character templates had a clear story arc for each character, while mine fell flat.

She didn’t judge, though. 😀

Instead she sent me back a list of questions regarding what I’d sent, which got me thinking more in-depth about my two main characters. I copy and pasted those out of email and into a blank Word document. Instead of forcing myself to use the templates, I did a freewriting session. I learned so much about my hero from this! I explored some ideas I thought I wanted to incorporate. My heroine still needs some work. I don’t know much about her yet so I need to do some freewriting for her. I sent my freewriting session back to her and she, in turn, sent me MORE questions to think about. It’s really a wonderful process and I feel like I’m starting to get a grasp on my characters.

I haven’t had a chance to get the freewriting session into the template, but it’s on my list of things to do. I sort of got derailed by another project the other night when I intended to work on them.

At any rate, I’m learning a new process and I like it. It may take me longer to start a book (instead of just jumping right in and writing with no plot, no idea who my characters are, etc), but hopefully in the end

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.