Developing Your Fiction
Continuing from my previous, scheduled post regarding character sketches, I use another, quick technique to develop my characters: Character Cards.
I used to think I wanted to do everything on the computer, somehow, some way, I was going to make it work on a computer and be able to access and view it via multiple monitors. Now, I do have two monitors stacked atop each other—which is half as many as I’d like—but I have since learned I don’t need nor do I want everything to be electronic. That includes my character cards, act and scene breakdown, and the final timeline outline (all of which I’ll share later).
My character cards are simple: Name, Sex, Birthday, Age, Hair, Eyes, and Details. The first, six headings are self-explanatory. The Details heading maybe a bit less so, but there’s always something or some things that are unique to a character, and it’s in this section that I write those in as a reminder to include in flashbacks, reflections, or just description.
I then punch a hole in the top left corner and bind them together with a loose-leaf binder ring. And, honestly, I just hand write these, but I’ve included a graphic of one you could use for your own planning.
These cards hang on a tack from my twenty-four square feet of corkboards that are mounted on the walls and door of my office, so I may easily reference them just in case I forget any of the basic character’s information. Even eye color can slip my mind from time-to-time while writing.
It’s a simple yet effective tool that’s instantly available to me without relying on an internet connection or loading a multi-page document.
You may download the image above or download a PDF I’ve popped together which contains four cards you may print off on a piece of cardstock and cut out.