Have you ever read through an incredible scene or an epic reveal in a story that leaves you sitting there stunned and confused for a moment, quietly asking yourself: “how?”
I have lost count of the number of times George R.R. Martin left perplexed by the mastery of his character arcs.
Because, when it is all said and done, writing a story where absolutely every character holds a valuable stake to a bigger conflict is always easier said and done.
As a writer, I find myself often at fault for falling in love with a character, leaving another rather two-dimensional when placed in comparison to the other.
I also find myself getting lost in a big picture that I’ve envisioned. I know a bit of Thorne’s back story, and how it ties with Reaver, and I know how they will interact Jack and Anne, but how will they cross paths?
Even with a journal, I find myself frantically flipping through pages to find one bit of information to tie along with another.
I quickly learned that if I at all wanted to get serious about a multi-hero story, I needed to roll up my sleeves and start tracking my steps and charting my map around my ideas.
Here are some of the easier habits I picked up to help myself out:
Some writers cringe at the word ‘excel’. It’s alright, so do I. However, I have also learned that creating templates for yourself will help cut down on time spent prepping for a story in the future. As a creative writer, it’s important to remember that everything you create is of use to you, even if you do not plan on publishing or sharing the story or idea.
Don’t worry, I’ve made a template to help writers get started with their epic ideas.
By simply listing characters along the x-axis and events along the y-axis, you can grid out major events and align each character timeline to create a visual of how the story is landing in the bigger picture.
Remember-- color coding is your friend. Feel free to differentiate character groups by color, or highlighting major events. Anything that helps your creative mind in consuming the story you are building.
Yes. This sheet is supposed to be massive, but that’s because your story will be massive too. When it comes time to work on a scene you’ve been putting off due to writer’s block, you’ll have the breadcrumb trails around it to help bring it to life in a believable way.
Epics aren’t meant to be easy. That’s what makes them epic!
Click the link above to download a copy of my plot line grid template to get your story started.
Make sure to follow Dramatic Pause on Pinterest for a collection of more tools, guides and ideas for the creative writer.
“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.” - Tyrion, (George R.R. Martin).
Keep creating and write on!