TEMPLATES FOR PRINTING

BookCoverPreview 2Click on the following links to print the Character Sketch Template and the Brain Dump Worksheet.

Here are some quick tips for using the Brain Dump organizer taken from Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens:

This is my “brain dump” method of getting your ideas on paper and ending up with a story outline all at the same time.

Use the Brain Dump page to write down all the events you picture happening in the story. You can start at the top and work your way down or turn the page and work side to side. It doesn’t matter if the ideas come out in perfect order; we solve that problem later. It also doesn’t matter whether the entire story is there or not. It’s also a good idea to leave one or two of the boxes blank as you go along, too.

Maybe you only have a really clear picture of what happens in the first 3 chapters. Write those points down now. When you start writing your story, more of it will begin to unfold and you can scribble those bits down as you start to see them until you get to the conclusion—sort of an instalment plan.

Maybe, like J.K. Rowling, you know the end of the story before you begin. That’s what the bigger spaces at the bottom of the page are for. Most stories end with a big moment of excitement where everything could go wrong but finally has to go right for your main character (MC)—unless you’re writing a tragedy, in which case everything will go wrong and your MC will die to make life better for someone else.

When you finish writing all your event ideas in the boxes, take a pencil and start lightly drawing a line from the first box to the one you think should be next and then to the next one and so on. I suggested a pencil and a light line because as you move along you may decide to change the order of things. You also may think of an event that needs to come between two that you already have and that’s where you can fill in those odd blank boxes that you left the first time through—or scribble in between them, if you come up with a lot of ideas. For a small short story you might not even need the entire page. For something longer, you might need a few pages to start.

When you’ve got things organized the way you like them, take a coloured marker or pen and go over your pencil line. You now have the first plot plan for your story. I said ‘first’ deliberately, because if you’re writing something long like a novel, you’ll want to go back and repeat this exercise as you move through your story. Somewhere between box seven and eight you might come up with a wonderful idea that takes your MC in a different direction for a while. Do a shorter version of the brain dump to get those ideas in order and then carry on.

You can purchase copies of Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens at Amazon.com here and Amazon.ca here.

 

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