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. Continue reading “40 Days of Worksheets – Day 34”

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! Continue reading “40 Days of Worksheets – Day 33”

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. Continue reading “40 Days of Worksheets – Day 32”

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? Continue reading “40 Days of Worksheets – Day 31”

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 30

ramonagravitarWorksheet #30 – Market and Audience

Some questions for before and after your book goes live in the world. Continue reading “40 Days of Worksheets – Day 30”

40 Days of Worksheets – Day 29

ramonagravitarWorksheet #29 – Emotional Journey

The following questions address the character’s personal story and how the events of the plot affects them emotionally and internally.

1. What is your character’s general emotional state at the start of the story?

2 As the story progresses, what change does she want to happen in her personal life? Does that happen?

3. If there anything at the start of the story that she wants to change about herself? Does that happens?

4. What are three things that happen in the story that affect or touch her emotionally? Does she change because of these three things?

5. Does her personal/private life undergo change or stress because of the plot?

6. Does anyone get hurt in the story because of her actions? If so, how does that change her (if it does)?

7. Does she win/lose any personal relationships?

8. Does she have an unresolved issue from the past (baggage)? If so, is it resolved? If it is not resolved, why not?

9. What is the lowest/saddest emotional moment for her in the story?

10. What is the highest/happiest?

11. Does she have a weakness or fear at the start of the story that she has to face? If so, what is the result?

12. What is she like at the end of the story, from an internal POV, as compared to what she’s like at the beginning? In other words, how has she changed?

13. Was this painful? Was it worth the pain?

14. Is your character more content or less so at the end of the story?

15. If the character is at peace at the start, is she at peace at the end? Is she emotionally distraught at the start, and the same at the end? At peace at the start, but disturbed at the end? Disturbed at the start, but peaceful at the end? Which one of these start-end questions best describes your lead character?

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 28

ramonagravitarWorksheet #28 – 10 Random Self Editing Tips

Here are quick fixes for making your copy cleaner, leaner, and meaner.

  1. Master dialogue tags. This is the formula: open quotation mark, dialogue, punctuation, close quotation mark, speaker’s name, speaking word, period.

Said is the standard speaker word. Asked, answered, yelled, whispered, etc. are acceptable because those are ways to speak. Sighed, yawned, laughed, smiled, shrugged, etc. are NOT acceptable because those are not ways people speak.

  1. Learn—and banish—your habit words. My characters love to peer. They peer and peer and peer. They too often get annoyed, appalled, and aggravated. At least once a story, someone calls someone else a Troglodyte. I finally broke the Troglodyte habit and began using nimrod as my pet insult. Now I have to banish nimrod because I’ve overused it. As a writer, you are a work in progress, and you have to keep an eye on yourself—and your habit words.
  2. Ground the reader in the opening of every scene. Look at the opening lines of each scene. Can you place the characters in a physical spot, or are they floating around in the ether chatting away, or walking in some unnamed place while the reader struggles to get a visual?
  3. Look at the structure of your sentences. Are there several in a row structured the same way? That gets repetitive. Do you write short sentence after short sentence after short sentence so that your writing is choppy? Mix up sentence styles.
  4. Examine the endings of your chapters. Do you have a habit of asking a leading question at the end of every chapter? Or does a character end the scene with a witty comment—every time? A few times is fine. More than a few is a habit.
  5. Cut the looking. “Maxwell walked into the kitchen and looked around.” It is a given that when a character enters a room, they’ll look around. “Maxwell looked into my eyes and said….” a)If Maxwell is going to speak to you, he’s going to look into your eyes, not your elbow, so it’s unnecessary to mention the eyes. b) Unless Maxwell has an issue with making eye contact and looking into your eyes is significant, there’s no need to mention the looking at all. Just let the man speak.
  6. Get rid of just (see above), really, very, etc. This is mentioned really very often, but writers just don’t seem to listen.
  7. Use Spell Check. It won’t catch every error but it helps, and you are allowed to disagree with the suggested changes. Plus, it’s free. Free is good.
  8. Examine your scenes. Does every scene have a specific purpose? Does it lead to a next scene? If this scene was cut from the manuscript, would the story fall apart?
  9. Do your characters speak like real people? Unless your character is delivering a speech or giving a report, dialogue should be a few sentences long.

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.