40 Days of Worksheets – Day 40

ramonagravitarWorksheet#40 – Wrap up

Evaluate the work you’ve done over the past 40 days of worksheets.

  1. What did you learn?
  2. What do you need to work on in the future?
  3. Where do you stand in your goals as a writer?

After forty days, I hope you have found these daily worksheets to be helpful. If you developed a habit of checking out the day’s subject and/or working at a particular time of day, please try to maintain that habit. These worksheets have ended but the need and desire to sharpen your skills or examine your work in progress from different perspectives should never go away. A working writer should always be learning.

The past forty days covered a variety of topics. Was there a topic you wished had been addressed in a worksheet? If so, please mention this in Comments. Maybe there will be another 40 Day project.

In the meantime, some people have been printing each day and others have emailed me about providing a printable version of the 40 worksheets. That was not my plan, but I will give into demand. In about a week, I will post how to purchase (for a small fee via PayPal) an easy-to-print version of the 40 Days of Worksheets. It will be something simple like a Word Document that you can print from home to create your own workbook. I will also include a few more worksheets aimed at crime and mystery authors. Watch this space!

Thanks to all who participated, shared on Facebook and Twitter, and communicated with me the past few weeks about the worksheets. Best of luck of your work!

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 39

ramonagravitarWorksheet #39 – Your Artist Story

In 2015, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the National Endowment for the Arts began gathering artist stories. The NEA selected testimonials from writers, visual artists, musicians, performing artists, etc. from each state and put together a United States of Arts map. I was happy to represent Delaware with my artist story.

What is your artist story as a writer? How does/has art affect your life? Where did your story begin? What do you see as your legacy?

Write your Artist Story here:

 

 

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.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 38

ramonagravitarWorksheet #38 – Skill Set Checklist

Professional writers never stop trying to learn and improve. Natural talent is a boon, but developing a strong skill set requires work.

Below is a list of skills useful for a fiction writer. How would you rate yourself for each–mastered, good, developing, or weak?

Formatting a document

Basic grammar

Word choice/vocabulary

Voice

Story Structure

Writing efficiently

Showing, not telling

Telling when appropriate

Remaining in POV

Establishing a theme

Clear central conflict

Intriguing characters

Character consistency

Strong dialogue

Plotting

Showing suspense/danger/intrigue

Writing action

Showing character emotions

Inserting backstory

Description

Use of setting

Writing romantic scenes

Strong opening lines

Writing humor

Creating rising tension

Writing a twist

Writing scenes with a clear goal

Showing stakes

Avoiding over-explaining

Intriguing secondary characters

Balancing primary and secondary storylines

Clear character arcs

Knowing what to cut

Strong chapter endings

Writing a satisfying ending

Good research skills

Discipline

What other skills would you list?

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.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 37

ramonagravitarWorksheet #37 – Your Someday Story

Most authors have a wish list of work they would complete if life was limitless and we were all as prolific as Stephen King. Many of us also have one story we’d like to write “someday.”

Someday is a stalling word. There is usually a reason–or multiple reasons–why that story can’t be written now, but the primary reason is you. You are the roadblock. Maybe there is a practical, or emotional, or technical reason why that story can’t be written today, but there is no reason you can’t plan for someday.

Your Someday Story

What is your someday story?

What is preventing you from writing the story now?

  1. Is your roadblock emotional? (You are concerned someone might be upset by this story?)
  2. Is your roadblock informational? (You would need to do extensive research?)
  3. Is your roadblock time-related? (You have deadlines to meet now?)
  4. Is your roadblock technical? (You don’t think your skills are strong enough now to tackle this project?)

On a scale of 1 – 10, how badly do you want to write this story?

What would have to happen or change in your life to make someday become a concrete time?

How can you make that change happen?

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.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 36

ramonagravitarWorksheet #36 – Write What You Know Worksheet

List topics you could write about from your personal experiences, knowledge, or interests. Example: motherhood.

Your list:

 

 

Choose one of the above. List how you could specify or expand the general topic. Example: From uneventful pregnancy to high risk in one short checkup

Your example for your topic:

 

How would you write this as memoir? Example: Life on hold during bedrest.

Your example for your topic:

 

 

How would you write it for nonfiction? Example: Misconceptions about bedrest

Your example for your topic:

 

 

How would you write it as creative nonfiction? Example: How bedrest prepares new mothers for motherhood.

Your example for your topic:

 

  

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.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 35

ramonagravitarWorksheet #35 – 10 Steps to Writing Nonfiction

From Idea to Submission in 10 Steps

You have an idea for a nonfiction piece. It can be straight nonfiction, memoir, or creative nonfiction. What do you ask after a story idea captures you?

  1. Subject – What is the topic? What is the theme? Is it timely?
  2. Size – Do you envision this as an article or a book? Blog post? Is the theme big enough to reach a wide audience (book)? Is there enough source material? Is your subject too big for an article and needs to be narrowed?
  3. Query or Spec – Do you want to write first and sell later? Or vice versa, pitch first and write the piece for a specific publication?
  4. Research – What are your primary sources? What are your secondary sources? Are there legal or ethical concerns?
  5. Style – What is the tone?
  6. Structure – Will you write chronologically? Is the piece better suited to an episodic order? Will it be a series of anecdotes linked by a thematic thread?
  7. Draft – Write a first draft.
  8. Fact Check – Highlight each part of the piece that is based on factual evidence. Record the source for each fact. Double, triple, quadruple check for accuracy.
  9. Polish – Run through a critique group, beta reader, or private editor. Make changes or revisions until you are happy with a clean final draft.
  10. Submit – If this is an assigned piece, send in by deadline. If you are writing on spec, research markets. Be certain to adhere to guidelines.

Subject?

Size? Article, book or blog?

Query or spec?

Research—What sources are at your disposal?

What is POV?

How will your piece be structured?

How will you open?

What is the theme?

Why do you want to write this?

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.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 34

ramonagravitarWorksheet #34 – Building a Short Story

A short story requires three things: a person, a place, and a problem.  Let’s build a short story from these three elements.

A person: Domenic is a late 30s husband and father who was laid of from his job six months ago. He has caught no breaks in finding work. Now, his mortgage is overdue, his wife is threatening to leave, and Domenic feels worthless.

A place: Interior of a bank. (See below for why.)

A problem: To solve his financial woes, Domenic has come up with a plan: he’ll rob a bank. It’s a stupid plan, but it’s still a plan.

In every story, no matter the size, CONFLICT is the necessary ingredient to drive action. What’s described above—Domenic’s plan to rob a bank—is not conflict. It describes a situation, the status quo at the opening of the story. Conflict and action happen when the plan goes wrong.

How can Domenic’s plan go wrong?

Option 1: He can go to the bank with his “give me the money” note and realizes he knows the teller or some other person there.

Option 2: He can get in line for a teller and a police officer gets in line behind him.

Option 3: He can give the note to the teller, who says “No” or “Make me” or some other comic/offbeat response.

Option 4: He can get into line and see a gun in the pocket of the man in front of him and realize that guy’s going to rob the bank first.

Option 5: He can have a change of heart but someone sees the (fake?)gun in his pocket and calls him out.

Every which way the plan goes wrong is a new direction for your story idea. Now it’s your turn.

Person:

Place:

Problem:

Options how the plan goes wrong:

 

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.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 33

cropped-ramonalogofinal.jpgWorksheet #33 –Weekly Goals

Sunday is traditionally a day of rest and relaxation, or reflection and renewal. In my online courses, I give a day off for a mental break, but because this a short-term project, no breaks!

Goals for this week:

1 – How much will you write on your WIP this week? (# of words, # of pages, # of chapters, # of hours–whatever measuring stick you’d like to use)

2 – What other tasks do you need to handle this week? (revisions or research for your WIP, blog posts, submissions, PR, etc.)

3 – How did you do on last week’s goals?

As you set goals, remember to be realistic! Doable goals are the ones people achieve. It’s great to push yourself, but if you aim for the unrealistic or unreachable, you’re setting yourself up for failure.  Be reasonable with yourself as you plan this week–and good luck!

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.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 32

ramonagravitarWorksheet #32: Story Success Plan

From a spring workshop a few years ago, here are some questions to rev your interest in a new project.

  1. What do you want to write about? (concept)
  2. Why do you want to write this story or about this topic? (author platform)
  3. Who do you think will want to read this story? (audience)
  4. What do you need to do before you begin writing? (research, planning, outlining)
  5. Are you writing this story now? If now, what’s stopping you? (obstacles)
  6. What do you need to do to complete the project? (goals)
  7. When do you plan to complete the project? (deadline)
  8. When completed, where do you plan to submit the story? (publication plan?)

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.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 31

ramonagravitarWorksheet #31 – Critique Tips

You’re asked to comment on a colleague’s work. How do you do this in a sensitive and helpful way?

  1. What did you like best about what you read, as a reader?
  2. What did you think the author did particularly well, as a writer?
  3. After reading this section, what do think this story is about?
  4. Are the characters intriguing?
  5. What do you think about the setting?
  6. Is there enough action to grab your interest?
  7. Is there anything you don’t understand?
  8. Are there technical errors (grammar, typos, etc.)?
  9. Are there parts that are flat or dull?
  10. What suggestions would you offer for the writer to consider?

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.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.