40 Days of Worksheets – Day 1

cropped-ramonagravitar.jpgWorksheet #1 – Getting to Know You

On Day 1 of each online class, I ask members to share a bit of information about themselves and their work in progress (WIP).  These are ice-breaker questions to get you thinking about your WIP and your writing life.

  1. What is a log line for your WIP? (one sentence description that includes title, genre, word count, character, setting, plot)
  2. How would you answer the question, “What do you write?”
  3. Apart from the writing you do for publication, do you journal, write morning pages, keep a diary, keep a pen pal, any other habitual personal writing?
  4. Do you write more for plot than character, or vice versa, or neither/both? Would you answer the same regarding your personal reading?
  5. What titles would you use as comps for your WIP? Be sure they’ve been published in the last 5 years, unless it is a retelling. (My novel is a contemporary retelling of Rebecca.)
  6. What do you love most about being a writer?
  7. What is the biggest challenge?
  8. Are their any other writers in your family?
  9. Do family and friends in your life (all, some, none) know that you write? Does anyone act as a first or beta reader for you?
  10. What recent novel/book did you love?
  11. What classic novel/book is your favorite?
  12. Do you belong to any writing communities or organizations? What do you gain from your membership and participation?

Please note: All worksheets posted are my original work and intellectual property. I ask that you share the links on social media, and you are welcome to share the worksheets with your critique groups and writing friends with credit given. That being said, these worksheets—despite being posted on the Internet—may not be copied, distributed, or published as anyone’s work but mine. In short: sharing is good, plagiarism is bad.




4 thoughts on “40 Days of Worksheets – Day 1

  1. Hello and thank you.
    1. Untitled is a 98,000 word novel of Military Historical Romance that’s based on disorienting promises my twenty-six year old female WWll pilot makes as she fulfills dangerous, clandestine missions across the oceans; ending in Guadalcanal.
    2. I feel as though there is something inside me that will explode if I don’t write.
    3. I do not.
    4. I write a LOT more for character. Yes, the portrayal of character enchants and holds me.
    5. The Nightingale. Salt to the Sea. Retelling of The English Patient and Prince of Tides.
    6. The quiet time. The test of my imagination. The courage it takes to share it.
    7. Self confidence.
    8. My sister was a wonderful writer. My mother and father had vivid imaginations.
    9. Three of my friends are readers of quality books. I ask them for feedback.
    10. Salt to the Sea
    11. The English Patient
    12. No I don’t. I used to and found many people grandstanding. They never published anything but they sure “know” how to do it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Ramona,
    Hi Ramona,

    Thanks for asking these questions. They make me realize more than ever that I’ve procrastinated in polishing “my work in progress.” It’s been far too long in progress!

    1. Closeup on Murder, mystery, about 80,000 words. Photojournalist Tommie Nichols tackles a dangerous assignment after her teenage daughter and her boyfriend are arrested for the murders of his parents in their suburban Cleveland home.

    2. What do I write? Mysteries. I used to write features for magazines and newspapers.

    3. I’ve never kept a journal or done personal writing except letters/e-mails to friends and family.

    4. Initially I was consumed by plotting in writing mysteries. I’m trying to develop the protagonist’s character earlier now.

    5. I’m having a hard time finding comparisons because so many popular mysteries are cozies or thrillers. I’m inspired by Lori Rader-Day because she has female protagonists, a lot of suspense, and interesting settings.

    6. I really love to wake up in the morning with a new approach to a paragraph that had me stumped. The actual process of writing is an important part of my life.

    7. Switching to fiction has been challenging, although I started writing short stories as a teen ager. I became a journalist and concentrated on non-fiction as a reporter and as a journalism teacher.

    8. As for writers in the family, my mother was a colorful story-teller. I’ve written up several of her experiences and had them published. My brother was a hydrologist, who ended up writing reports because other scientists weren’t comfortable with the task. My daughters are competent writers who use the skill in other fields.

    9. Friends and family know I write, but for the most part, we don’t exchange writing. My husband is often my first reader, however.

    10. I really liked “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng because of the interesting plot and her literary skills.

    11. “Rebecca” sticks in my mind, but maybe because of the “Daphne” program.

    12. I belong to Sisters in Crime and its Guppies Chapter as well as Mystery Writers of America. Since moving across the country, I miss my small writing group back in Illinois. Sharing our work and just talking about writing made for stimulating meetings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good fun!
    1. In BLOOD IS THICKER THAN WATER, an 80,000 word country noir thriller set in Central New York, Rachel Martinson is determined to figure out who brutally attacked the woman she thought was her mother, only to discover the key lies in tracking down her own biological parents and family.
    2. I write character-driven thrillers and suspense, usually in rural settings. I primarily focus on novels.
    3. I keep a handwritten diary and do a lot of free writing, usually daily. Except for now in tax season.
    4. Plot is indispensable, but I write primarily from character. I find the works I really love are often similar, but not always.
    5. Comps. Hmmm. I have to give this some thought. I often come back to Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell and perhaps Meghan Abbott, particularly You Will Know Me.
    6. What I love about being a writer is when suddenly in the process of writing, a new connection or depth or plot twist seems to suddenly reveal itself “from nowhere.” No amount of plotting or thinking about the story can compete.
    7. Analysis paralysis. In this case, I needed to do a lot of research on DNA, familial testing, police procedure… It’s easy to find a reason to hold off committing to the page sometimes. Also applies to: Is this story good enough?
    8. I seem to be the only writer in my family, but there are artists and creative people in other fields. I was originally a visual artist too and even have an MBA before I turned to high tech.
    9. My sister refuses to read anything but the final version. No younger sister issues there, I’m sure 🙂 My brother is happy to read. My father couldn’t remember what he ate for breakfast, but always remembered that my first book was coming out soon. An aunt loves to read my first drafts (bless her). Everyone is quite supportive.
    10. This year, I dug into Jane Harper’s The Dry and Force of Nature. Not perfectly written, but fantastic at pushing the action forward. I find that Megan Abbott is more of a soul mate and I love her work.
    11. When I was 12, I read The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury and I was transformed.
    12. I belong to a local writing group, SinC, SinC Guppies, MWA, and SinC Northern California. I’ve recently stepped up to the be VP of the SinCNorCal group.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s