After giving you a taste of Haunting Miss Trentwood, I thought it would be nice if I showed you one of the many ways I keep track of who I’m writing about, how they relate to one another, etc.
That said, I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise you to hear that I adore Post-it notes. The image in this post shows how I visualize the love triangle(s) from Haunting Miss Trentwood. I would make the image bigger but then it might spoil some of the plot twists!
You see, dear Reader, this is a sort of map for me. I use this to remind me where tensions occur between characters. I’m color code so I know which character is part of which plot or subplot, and then I draw arrows with visuals to tell me the generics about the relationships.
I was thrilled to read Deanna Raybourn’s blog when she said she does something similar: a collage of images that help inspire her current work-in-progress. I love learning other types of writing exercises that don’t—shock!—require you to write. I need to make things because I am a Maker. I need to use my hands while I’m figuring something out, even something as cerebral as a plot twist. And then after I’ve made the thing, I want to share how I did it. Like this.
How to make a Character Map
- Have a crummy day at work.
- Have an awesome conversation on Facebook.
- Grab a tabloid-sized sheet of paper, multiple colors of small sticky notes, a pen, and a pencil.
- Write the names of the main characters on different colors of the sticky notes. Try to group the characters based on their primary plot lines.
- Play around with the configuration of the character sticky notes on the page until you can get them to fit, and represent the relationships.
- Draw arrows from one sticky note to the other to show direct connections.
- Use dotted lines to show indirect connections.
- Use a pencil because you might make a mistake and try to draw one arrow over another.
- To keep the character map legible, try to arrange the stick notes so you won’t have to cross arrows.
- Have fun with it! I drew a funny angry face to show antagonists, hearts to show love interests, and broken hearts to show tragedy.
- Put the character map somewhere you can glance at when you need inspiration.
I had so much fun with this, I might do it for the relationships I have in my life, and use it as a sort of art piece in my apartment. Or as a way for me to remember who is who at work. Learning the organizational scheme of a new workplace is always so stressful…
All the best,