Thursday, 12 February 2009

Character Web

I'm taking a break from history homework, because it's hard work and time consuming and feels like it's never going to end. So I'll explain one of my favourite techniques for planning stories. It's the one I most often use (although it has to be said, I don't plan all that often). I invented it, and it's called the character web, because, well, it seems to describe it. How to do it:
1. Write down the names of your main characters. It needs a big piece of paper (or small handwriting, or both if you've got a lot of characters).
2. Now link them up with different colours/lines for the relationships between them.
3. Now start adding information about them, eg what job they do, what they enjoy spending time doing etc (what sort of information you want depends on what sort of story you're writing). When you have two or more characters who have the same bit of information about both, use the same statement and link it to both.
4. Add in minor characters, link in in the same way. Hopefully they fit to a couple of the descriptions you've got already, that being how they've got themselves involved.
5. I have added in things like hair colour and eye colour under each character (no point linking this as it won't be how the characters are connected to each other, but it can be useful to write this sort of stuff down, especially for minor characters).
6. You are now done. If the relationships change as the story progresses, I'd advise either making up a new line style, or using a different set of colours for later feelings/relationships, or if some things only come in later in. Haven't done this myself.
7. You're character web will probably look a bit messy, have lines everywhere, and be full of colour. That's good. You might also get ideas from looking at how people are linked together and get ideas to link other characters in more thoroughly. That's what happens for me.
There we go then. The seven steps to making a character web. And it's in seven steps because seven is a nice number. And it just turned out that way. Because I don't plan things like this. Or pretty much anything else. Unless I'm using character webs.

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