Handouts from My Writing Classes
Don’t forget to sign up for the classes to get in-person instruction and access to the PowerPoints!
Specific Role Character Interviews — Use this set of interviews to question your characters about their qualifications for the specific role you have in mind for them in the story. Includes hero, villain, comic relief, sidekick and love interest.
Character Development Worksheets — Three different ways of looking at your characters:
A Character Stats Chart (inspired by RPG Character Sheets)
A Character Interview Sheet (job interview style)
A Character Questionnaire (to get you thinking about the character’s life outside your book)
Character Dilemma Worksheet — Figure out what decisions your character would make in a variety of situations to help you see who they really are.
Open Casting Call Worksheet — Design three very different characters, each of which could star in your story. Make sure that they are very different people, and that they each fall in a different spot on the Brigg Meyer’s Spectrum. Write the opening scene using each of them.
POV Slider — Chart the type of story you are trying to tell to see which type of point of view fits best.
Character Differentiation Chart — Graph out your cast to see if you are creating unique memorable individuals.
Beat Sheet — Use this technique to identify the key scenes for your novel.
Key Scenes Storyboarding Worksheet — A visual way to sketch out the most important scenes in your novel. Remember to focus on:
Plot Circle Worksheet 1 — This very basic plot outlining tool can also be used to check that you have included the most important moments in your story.
Plot Circle Worksheet 2 — Graph out your plot.
The W Model Plot Graph — A model that lets you graph out your plot more closely to a four-act structure.
Character Decision Making Flowchart — Lets you look at your plot as a series of try-fail cycles, featuring the yes, but . . . ./no, and . . . . . method of adding plot complications.
Spiderwebbing Your Way to a Story Premise — Use this classic pre-writing technique to generate a complete story idea.
Conflict Worksheet — Examine the ways in which your protagonist and your antagonist are at odds with each other.
Theme Worksheet — Consider how your theme act on your characters, setting and plot. Then graph how the theme changes through the course of your story.
Blocking Worksheet — Having trouble visualizing what happens in an action / slapstick humor scene? Try blocking it out.
Catch Those Plot Bunnies — Brainstorm an even dozen new plot ideas.
Setting Worksheet – Interior — Setting worksheet for the main inside setting of the story.
Setting Worksheet – Exterior — Setting worksheet for the main exterior location of the story.
Setting as Mood Worksheet — Explore the mood evoked by your settings and how the character’s relationship to the setting colors that.
Ideas and Implications Worksheet — Everything you introduce into your story changes the world in dramatic ways. For instance, if someone actually makes a machine that can program meals/crate food from random atoms, that person may have solved world hunger, but what happens to the farmers, the grocery stores, and the economy in general? It’s okay to introduce just about anything into speculative fiction, as long as you have thought it through.
Story Bible — When you need to remember specific details you have introduced previously for continuity.
Word Choice Worksheet — Help your characters sound unique by deciding which different words they would use to describe common objects and events.
Clichés Reworked Worksheet — Examine the following clichés. What is the literal meaning? What makes it so striking? Think of two other ways to say the same thing. Circle the one you find more original/stronger.
Percision of Language Worksheet — Identify the filler words in the following sentences. How many can you take out without changing the meaning of the text?
Imagery Worksheet — Explore all seven forms of sensory input, along with words from your character’s vocabulary and his/her feelings to create a scene where you show instead of tell.
Themes and Metaphor Worksheet — In speculative fiction, certain characters and concepts are often a stand-in for something else entirely. Think of the way early Star Trek used alien cultures as a way to talk about the inequalities in our own.
Body Language Observation Worksheet — Go out and people watch. Observe body language and use what you learn to add emotion to your writing.