I find it very helpful to keep a writing binder for each of my story ideas. This keeps all my papers and notes from getting lost or wrinkled. I divide my three ring binder into different sections ex. characters, plot, setting, research with page dividers. I always have a regular lined notebook to write down random ideas or to brainstorm with my binder.
Here are the things that are in my ‘character’ tab:
- Each of my main and supporting character’s sketches.
- Each of my main and supporting character’s inspiration picture so I can envision them more clearly.
- K.M Weiland’s blog post on character archetypes.
- Any other helpful blog posts on creating or developing characters.
Tomorrow, I’ll show you what’s in my ‘plot’ tab!
I’ve been working on my book steadily for the last few weeks. I’m doing something called pre-outlining, now. Pre-outlining is the step before outlining your story for real. You build your characters, choose your setting, and find symbolism and your story’s theme.
In K.M Wieland’s book, Outlining your Novel, she suggests taking an enneagram personality test for your protagonist and a few of the other significant characters.
At first, I thought this was very excessive. I was thinking, “Come on, they’re not even real people!” But, because her advice is always good, I decided to trust her and take the personality test for my protagonist. And I’m so happy that I did it!
These are the benefits that I’ve found from taking the personality test for my characters:
- It helps clarify your character’s complete personality and how they would act or react in different situations.
- Shows their biggest flaw and how it affects them and the people that they love.
- Helps clarify for the author how to make a well-rounded and realistic character.
If I hadn’t taken this test for my characters I would have missed out on all the insight that I gained from it. I am learning that it is always good to follow the advice from your writing teacher or how-to write book, even when it seems dumb or unnecessary.