Everybody who is passionate about writing seems to make lists–Ten things to do/not to do, must do/must not do. These are things writers have found important/think are important/works for them. They can be great reminders about how to build a story. And then, there are the forms–endless forms for this and that containing some good information, but not necessarily workable for every individual.
Some of the most important forms to this writer are those focusing on characters for the shear reason a writer must be consistent. Several cases in point.
- Some novels do not come together in 30-days. A current project from idea through research and writing took two years. Writing did not occur every day because many other things intervene–research, manuscripts and books to edit or review, other writing commitments, two other novels, family needing attention, and just life itself taking one away from the keyboard.
- Writing a series. There is nothing more embarrassing than describing the main character in Book 1 as having blue eyes, and in Book 3 having green eyes. (It happens).
- Having written a book five or six years earlier and either you or a publisher want a sequel.
List, forms, and notes become invaluable to keep everything consistent and as a reminder of the direction what you, the writer, intended.
As mentioned, not all the information on a list or form may be applicable or meaningful to others, that’s why writers are great thieves. As author Mettie Ivie Harrison wrote in her eFile, Chopsticks, Aug, 2010:
“And any of them who don’t admit it, are liars as well as thieves. Writers steal ideas all the time. We don’t even know sometimes that we are stealing ideas. But even if we do know, we do it shamelessly. Or we should. We also steal structures, characters, names, histories, myths, voice, and anything else that we can imagine taking.”
Guilty as charged. I constantly look for ideas and especially reminders about writing technique. The form attached to this eFile is an abridged composite of ideas from at least three or four other writers plus my own ideas. It works for me, maybe not for you, but there will probably be some pointers and/or reminders you will find useful.
Character Development Worksheet – Character Development Worksheet