In October, the Chippewa Falls area will host the WisRWA 2016 Workshop, “Fall into Fiction” and celebrate our area’s 20th year. We are excited to have Candace Haven lead us through “Plotting Your High Concept Ideas” and “Fast Draft and Revision Hell”. In the theme of plotting aids, I would like to share why developing character sheets is an excellent tool and resource. I am also attaching “Character Profile Sheet” for your use.
Just imagine if you name your character Chloe and you spelled it two different ways in your book Chloe and Khloe because you were getting caught up on the Kardashians? What if your heroine’s nose appears as pertly turned up, and later as a button nose? Your hero’s eyes could appear as blue as the deepest reach of the ocean’s depth and later as blue as a Robin’s egg?
What if your book becomes the first in a series? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to hit up your digital file saved on your first book and make sure you didn’t give a character a mother in the next book who was mentioned as deceased in the first? Or in your second book, what if you give wheat glossy strands on a girl’s head, when she had ink black whirling strands in the first?
What if confusion and panic clouds your head when your first book quickly becomes a family dynasty line of serial books? Would it not be great to remember you have your character’s own Debrett’s within their character sheet and you can see who married whom or is first cousin of who so they don’t commit incest?
What about relationships? It would be nice to remember your character’s first wife’s name so he doesn’t date another lady with the same name…or maybe that itself can be part of your plot…. hmmmm?
Where did your character go to finishing school and who are her best friends? Which one is secretly evil, plotting to take away your character’s popularity? Who’s the goody two shoes who too repressed to tell on her?
Perhaps you tattoo your villain with a gang banger tat and latter you say it’s a portrait of his dead sister, not to mention you forgot what piercings you put exactly where?
Can your character sheets become tools for your plot line or time line sources? Yes indeed. Nothing is better than to be a pantser, but, really, do you want to have one of your gay characters to be mentioned as a husband first when later they aren’t married but partners? Yikes.
Here is a great tool developed by my former group in Cleveland which can be kept in your digital file you keep on each character for your book. Feel free to print out copies if you feel writing everything out is your style.
Happy writing to you as your characters lead you through their wonderful adventures!
Writer of a Regency Historical
Chippewa Falls area member of WisRWA since 3/2015
WisRWA V.P. of Programs
By Tina Susedik
Most people, writers anyway, have heard of the terms plotter and pantser. It’s a question we are asked many times – are you a plotter or pantser? It’s a personal preference with one not being better than the other.
Heavy plotters, those that map out each chapter, each scene and character to the point where the book is nearly finished when they are done plotting. I once knew someone who plotted her books in so much detail, she was able to write her chapters in random order. I simply couldn’t understand how she did it.
I rather wish I was one of those writers, or at least a bit of a plotter, but I’m not. I’m a pantser. After coming up with an idea, and fleshing out my characters, I start writing, letting the story flow as my characters learn about each other. I tried plotting once, but I became frustrated when my characters decided not to do what I kept explaining I’d plotted for them. Darn characters won. Maybe I have to go back and re-write more than a plotter would have to, but I’m a much happier author.
The reason I’m blogging about this topic is because of the fall workshop the Chippewa Falls Area is hosting on October 8th in Eau Claire. Candace Havens is our speaker. The morning session is titled: “The Book Map: Plotting Your High Concept Ideas.” I’m anxious to see if she can teach me to be more of a plotter.
Beth James and I had the pleasure of meeting Candace at The Romantic Times Convention in Las Vegas last month. She is a delight and is looking forward to coming to Eau Claire and meeting everyone. After visiting with her, both Beth and I don’t know when she has time to sleep. Candace is one busy woman. An amazing fact: At the time we met with her, she had 7,800 emails to go through from all the jobs and projects she’s involved in. I feel overwhelmed when I have 200!
I hope to see all of you in Eau Claire on October 8th – or 7th if you come the night before for the pizza party and book signing. Maybe we can have a panster/plotter discussion over a few drinks.
Tina has been a member of WisRWA since 1994 and started the Chippewa Falls Area twenty years ago in October. She is a multi-publisher author, a member of PAN, and has served on the WisRWA board as Area Contact and newsletter editor.