Page name: NWW Step 2 [Logged in view] [RSS]
2011-07-04 18:30:48
Last author: Annie
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NWW Step 2

A part of Novel Writing Workshop

Goals and Assignments
Brainstorm and detail characters
Share 2 biographies on forum <joinforum:34:NWW> (Novel Writing Workshop)


Getting Organized

So now you have an idea. Right? If not, you need to back up and review NWW Step 1. Once you have an idea, you can come back to step 2.
With your idea in mind, you need to get organized! I don't care what kind of writer you are, organization is important.
Here are my tips:
1. Decide whether you're going written, typed, or both.
-Buy a notebook you like writing in but don't consider too holy to tarnish. If you're like me, it's hard to write in those fancy notebooks.
-Consider a small notebook you can carry around easily (those ideas will start flowing eventually and you want to be ready).
-Also consider a big notebook for extended writing.
- - A great tool for writing and organizing. If 5 doesn't work for you, download the old version 4.
-Aside from yWriter, make sure you have a program (Word or otherwise) that you enjoy writing in.
I personally go both written and typed. For those on the fly moments I go written, i.e. at the stoplight, in class, at work, etc. For more relaxed time or at home, I generally type. Eventually my handwritten writing gets typed as well because it's much easier to manipulate and work with. I would suggest you also eventually type all of your material, it will serve you well in the end (think search features, copy/paste, filing, etc).
Once you're physically and software-ily organized and prepared for writing, it's time to delve into that idea of yours!


You can really start just about anywhere when writing a novel, but I find that it's easier to begin if you know who you're writing about - and you know them well. It's hard to send someone you don't know on a journey in which you will be recording their every thought, desire, and/or action. Knowing your characters helps you visualize your story better and come up with potential scenes. So what would be more appropriate than some character sketches and outlines?
In this step you need to brainstorm and think about all the major and minor characters that will be necessary to make your idea a reality. Don't worry if you don't get them all, of course you can always add minor characters at anytime in the writing process - that's the beauty of writing! But it's good to get a foundation before starting. You want to have basically all your major characters and a few of your minor characters mapped out.
1. Get all the characters out in the open!
Don't worry about character details at this point, we're just figuring out who is in the story right now. Ask yourself questions like these:
Can your protagonist accomplish the "goal" of your idea alone?
Is it realistic for your protagonist to journey alone?
Should your protagonist have a best friend? A few close friends? A few distant friends?
Do any of your characters have family that play an important role in the story?
What characters do you need to comprise the "good" side? The "bad" side?
Do you have an antagonist?
If the "antagonist" isn't a person, does it having a person who is the driving force behind it or who caused it? Are they present in your story?
Are there any neutral or helping characters necessary to drive the plot?
2. Getting to know you!
So you have all your characters now right? Time to understand them better. For each character, write down what their main purpose or goal in the story will be. Why are they necessary? What will they do? What do they ultimately desire out of their existence? These things are important. Maybe minor characters can be purposeless, but generally characters who wander around aimlessly or who show up conveniently when they're needed and say exactly what you want are not very compelling.
3. The big step
This is your assignment and the final part of NWW Step 2. Choose 2 or so main characters (however many you think are absolutely essential to your story, minimum of 2, no maximum) and write a character biography for each (bonus points for a drawing too!). I would personally say it can be helpful to do this for all your characters in order to understand them better. I've provided a template below that covers most of the essentials, but feel free to cut and add as you please. It's just a good starting place. :) I hate to dumb it down to something as simple as a list, but nobody will use it except you.
Your assignment!
Complete a minimum of 2 main character biographies (hopefully including your protagonist) and post them on the NWW forum with the title "Character Bios: YourNameHere".
Eye Color:
Hair (color and length):
Skin (Color/complexion):
Place as character(standard, warrior, knight, mage, etc.):
Political affiliation:
Basic description:
Love interest(s):
Sexual Orientation:
Dominant Hand:
Ethnic Background:
Cultural Background (different than culture. Culture is current, background is past):
Family (Parents, children, in-laws, spouse):
What do they do when they get depressed:
Living Arrangements:
Native tongue:
Favorite food:
Favorite color:
Favorite song:
Other favorites:
Go back to NWW Step 1
Go back to Novel Writing Workshop
Continue to NWW Step 3

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