Character & plot sketches

Normally I don’t really do these. However, since I started writing outside of nano, I’ve found them to be enormously helpful. I know, big surprise.

Actually, even with nanowrimo I’ve found it incredibly helpful to take five minutes, and whip up a sketch that gives me the basics on a character. “Jim* the urban wizard is a short, stout guy, a dreamer, hates arguments, likes black & white movies, and has a thing for Smurf memorabilia” gives me enough of a picture so that when Stuff Happens, I can figure out how he’ll respond. It also just adds depth in general; to how I write him, how the other characters interact with him, etc.

Also a first for me, I’ve been doing plot sketches. Basically, when I can’t figure out a scene in my head (usually it’s like a movie playing, and I’m just writing it all down), I now write out a set of notes of what I think should happen. Somehow, seeing the details written out makes it easier to ‘know’ what happens next.

Here’s an example. Jim needs to do something magical & dangerous that’ll get him noticed as a wizard. I have no idea what, so I brainstorm with notes.

Scene 12B – Jim gets into a fight wizard’s duel at the mall denny’s comic book store.

  1. Goes to get the latest issue of Rat Queens
  2. Runs into Wade, who hates him
  3. Wade grabs the last book
  4. Mad, Jim calls him a loser casts a spell that makes Wade yelp
  5. Wade challenges him to a duel
  6. They fight – needs details!!!
  7. Neither of them manages to do any damage, and someone else walks off with the book.

Now I know a bit more of what I’m writing, and I might even have a bit of a picture in my head. Whenever I get lost, I can refer to it, and either fix it again, or get back on track. If I got to the actual fight, and still didn’t know what they do, I’d go back to the sketch and add more ideas as notes, until I figure it out.


*There is no Jim. Though this would make a fun story.


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