Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Write: Character Mapping

My brain is a jumbled mess, if you haven't noticed already.  It tends to think in loops and whorls instead of straight lines.  So when I write things down about the characters I'm working on, it normally ends up being on multiple pieces of paper, in no consistent order, and scribbled to fit into the remaining space.

Getting ready for Camp NaNo means that I need a better organizing system for my characters.  How can I jot down all the things about them so I can easily access the information?

Character mapping!  (Note, I didn't realize this was the term until I wrote it down.  Go my brain and things I learned in high school!)

Mapping ideas is something I'm sure you learned somewhere in school.  It uses the bubbles and lines radiating out from a central idea with smaller concentrations and details.  It's like an outline but spread all over the page.  It's actually fun to do too.

I circled my characters name in the center, then though about what important parts I'll want to know about her.  Then I drew a rectangle around those items and started adding in more divisions and details.  I might need to rewrite it onto a bigger piece of paper...  With these maps, I can remind myself at a glance little details about the character.  Much easier than flipping through a notebook over and over again.

I think I'm going to use maps to work out my scenes as well.  Now that I have my outline done, I can go back and figure out the goal of each scene and flesh things out a bit more.  Maps like the ones found here could help me with the consequences of my character's actions.

How do you keep your characters in line?

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