WRITING TOOLS

Below are the printable versions of the tools found in our bestselling books.

You can download, share, and print these as needed.

And, if you keep scrolling, you’ll find even more handouts, lists, marketing swipe files, and more. We hope these resources help a ton.

NEW! Career Assessment Tool (PDF)

  • Choosing a character’s career is no small thing…the job you pick will not only communicate their personality, skillset, morals, priorities, and interests to readers, it can also feed into their character arc and goals. Our Occupation Thesaurus assessment tool looks at all the important story factors to help you choose what career is the best fit for each character.

NEW! Occupation Speed Dating Tool (PDF)

  • Oh boy, with thousands of careers to choose from, which one will you pick for your character? Decisions, decisions. Don’t worry, we’ve made it easy and fun, matching 124 iconic and interesting jobs from The Occupation Thesaurus with some of the most powerful Primary Traits your character might have. Start Speed Dating!

NEW! Occupation Thesaurus Job Entry Template (PDF)

Character Arc Progression Tool (PDF)

  • Did you know that a character’s arc is tied to the wounding event from his past? Traumatic events are formative, impacting a character’s basic need, determining his story goal, generating sources of inner conflict, and more. The Character Arc Progression Tool can help you explore all the pieces and see how they fit together. For a deeper understanding of this resource, please reference The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma.

Backstory Wound Profile (PDF)

Setting Planner (PDF)

Emotional Value Tool (PDF)

Setting Checklist (PDF)

Setting Exercises (PDF)

Character Pyramid Tool (PDF)

Character Target Tool (PDF)

Character Profile Questionnaire (PDF)

Reverse Backstory Tool (PDF)

Weak Verb Converter Tool (PDF)

  • Transform all those generic, boring verbs into power verbs

Scene Revision/Critique Tool Level 1 & Level 2 (PDF)

  • A ‘light’ and ‘in-depth’ revision checklist for creating compelling characters and scenes

Emotional Movie Scenes (PDF)

  • A list of specific scene examples from movies that showcase different intense emotions

Crutch Words (PDF)

  • Those little, annoying overused words that hide in our manuscripts…finally a list for Search & Destroy during the revision process!

NEW: The Show, Don’t Tell Pro Pack
Want to strengthen your description but you’re unsure where to start? Or have you heard about our books from other writers and wonder what the fuss is about? This kit contains a descriptive thesaurus entry from each of our writing guides, tips on how that aspect of description will power up your story, and links to our top show, don’t tell articles.

MARKETING HAND OUTS:

Networking & Promo: Getting The Most Out Of Facebook (PDF)

Platform: Getting The Most Out Of Blogging (PDF)

Networking & Promo: Getting The Most Out Of Twitter (PDF)

Social Media Triple-play: Facebook, Twitter & Blogging (PDF)

Creative Book Launch/Event Ideas for Social Media Platforms (PDF)

“Inside a Book Launch” Swipe File: this PDF contains the email communications we sent out to our launch team, includes organized content for social sharing, marketing materials, and gives writers a great idea of how a book launch should be handled from the inside.

Also, check out the original post that links to an insightful Q & A that delves into this particular book launch. (LOTS of marketing help in this interview!)

Influencer Hot Sheet (PDF): Struggling to reach your exact reading audience? Maybe you should connect with a few people who have influence with your market. this handout guides you through the process of finding the right influencer, learning from them so you can engage with your audience better too, and how to reach out and create a relationship with them.For the article that accompanies this Hot Sheet, visit Jane Friedman’s blog here.

How Authenticity Attracts Readers for a Successful Book Launch (Podcast): If you are trying to understand how to build up your website and online platform to attract readers through your brand, this will help. We also discuss finding your ideal audience, and how to launch a book effectively, encouraging people to participate in your online events.

And because we like to save the best for last…

ONE STOP FOR WRITERS

Writers Helping Writers is proud to bring you One Stop For Writers®, a powerhouse library packed with unbelievable tools and resources, including the largest fiction-focused description database available ANYWHERE.

If you like what we do here at WHW, then get ready to have your proverbial socks blown off. Explore One Stop for Writers for yourself by activating our generous 2-Week FREE TRIAL.

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159 Comments
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[…] Writers Helping Writers – This blog contains information and writing tools pertaining to character arcs, setting […]

Susan Wilson
Susan Wilson
6 months ago

Several of the tools above, listed as printable versions, print with a black rectangle or square in the center, the apparent watermark. How does one print the forms in useful format?

Anne
Anne
1 month ago

Not the original commenter, but I’m still seeing this. The watermark on the Backstory Wound Profile is not transparent, so there’s a big grey square where that image is (does not appear to be an issue with any of the other PDFs). It’s really distracting.

Krishnendu
Krishnendu
9 months ago

I have just completed the first draft of my first single room novelette, thanks to your invaluable direction, without that advice I couldn’t have done it. Now, I have set myself another new goal – I am trying to pen a “Time Loop” story, I am watching all these films and studying online, but still, I couldn’t get my head around it. SO, here I again seek insight on how should I be approaching to write a “TIME LOOP” story.

Regards

Krishnendu
Krishnendu
8 months ago

Movie like – Groundhog Day, Looper, Predestination, Source Code, Edge of Tomorrow, Triangle, A Day, Run Lola Run. The main problem I am experiencing is conjuring up the “Main Reason” which is making the repetition of the events over and over again. Also whatever resetting the time, why is it doing so? How can I connect these with story’s theme? Inside my head I am feeling foggy of these things.

Krishnendu
Krishnendu
8 months ago

Thank you and lots of love & Thanks again for this christmas gift!
Wish you all a very good christmas eve.

Regards

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[…] Free Authors: Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglist are dedicated to bringing writers wonderful resources to improve their writing. .writershelpingwriters.net/tools […]

Steven A. Reynolds
Steven A. Reynolds
9 months ago

Dear Sir:

I just wrote a memoir, and am looking for a literary agent to represent me. Please notify me, if there are agents where one of their specialties are memoirs, and I will Email them my query.

Krishnendu
Krishnendu
9 months ago

Hi,

I am struggling with a writing project. The goal is I need to keep the whole story exactly in a single setting. I need advice & guidance. Please help.

Krishnendu
Krishnendu
9 months ago

Thanks a lot for your advice, I am going go to give it my best shot.

Robin
Robin
10 months ago

Looking at this site, is like listening to a handful of marbles rattling around in a five gallon drum!

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10 months ago

[…] For more character arc help, check out these useful resources, many of which can be found on our Tools for Writers page: […]

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[…] Download a character worksheet. […]

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[…] Download a character worksheet. Sometimes a story goes sideways because the character has changed, and the writer is no longer solid on what the protagonist wants and why. The answers will be in the character’s backstory, so grab the Reverse Backstory Tool, The Character Questionnaire, or the Character Arc Progression tool. Do some brainstorming (and save everything so you can apply it to your wordcount). Once you understand what is driving your character, writing the story will become easy again. […]

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[…] etc) are great little resources. Ackerman and Puglisi have even more stuff on their website Writers Helping Writers and their new library of materials appropriately called One Stop for Writers. Writer’s Digest […]

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[…] friends over at Writers Helping Writers have a character profile questionnaire, a character arc progression tool, and many other amazing resources that may help you get to know […]

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[…] Download a character worksheet. Sometimes a story goes sideways because the character has changed, and the writer is no longer solid on what the protagonist wants and why. The answers will be in the character’s backstory, so grab the Reverse Backstory Tool, The Character Questionnaire, or the Character Arc Progression tool. Do some brainstorming (and save everything so you can apply it to your wordcount). Once you understand what is driving your character, writing the story will become easy again. […]

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[…] Her website is one that we strongly urge every writer to book mark and keep visiting it every time they are stuck in their writing. […]

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[…] Writers Helping Writers […]

Marta
2 years ago

I love this site! Just shared on my blog: http://www.martacweeks.com/2018/05/what-heck.html

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[…] Writer’s Helping Writings–Tools […]

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[…] friends over at Writers Helping Writers have a character profile questionnaire, a character arc progression tool, and many other amazing resources that may help you get to know […]

Rob Mason
Rob Mason
2 years ago

Thank you for providing such helpful information. After reading the first 52 pages of a manuscript, my wife encouraged me to hurry up so she could see how the story ends. She purchased The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus, and The Emotional Wound Thesaurus and eagerly handed them to me because, as she put it, I’m too hard on myself when it comes to my writing.

I have found them very helpful and would recommend them to any aspiring writer. Even though I have a very strong understanding of my protagonist, who turns out to be an antihero, the tools have helped hone certain character attributes for many of the other characters in the manuscript.

Thanks again! I look forward to receiving the other two Thesauruses, which have already been ordered.

Sincerely,

Rob Mason

BECCA PUGLISI
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Mason

This is such a nice note to receive! I’m really happy that the books are helping you. Big hugs to your wife, both for her purchase and her words of wisdom and encouragement to you. We all need those honest cheerleaders in our lives. Keep up the good work!

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[…] Here’s a nice, inclusive list of Writing Tools from Writers Helping […]

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[…] 1) Online membership website with Angela and Becca’s Thesaurus’ in one place is http://www.onestopforwriters.com. You can also find a details PDF on successfully launching your book here. […]

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[…] Writing Tools | Writers Helping Writers […]

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[…] Angela Ackerman gave us generous permission to share them here. You can also find them at Tools for Writers: […]

John Pepper
John Pepper
3 years ago

I wondered about the Character Target and Reverse Backstory tools for a while and how to use them. But I finally managed to get the Positive and Negative Trait Thesauruses yesterday and I was finally able to see an example for each of them. But I still have questions about them, if you wouldn’t mind answering.

What would be a good place to start on each of these tools? Just with finding out what are the most defining traits, or by figuring out your character’s backstory or lie? For both tools, about how many traits are necessary to make a well-defined character? And when using both for a single character, how can you bring the results together?

Thanks for answering all my questions in all the pages around this site. I’ve been looking forward to getting your books for a long time and I can’t wait for the new ones.

BECCA PUGLISI
Admin
3 years ago
Reply to  John Pepper

Hi, John. I’m sorry for the confusion about these tools; while I’m glad you were able to get some answers from our books, this tells me that having an example at the blog for these tools might be a good idea, too.

In terms of where to start, I would begin with the Reverse backstory tool, since that fills in all the important blanks. And with that tool, you can start literally anywhere within the spreadsheet. If you’re plot driven and know what your character’s outer motivation is, you can start there and work downward. If you know your character well and you know their personality, you can start there and work your way backward and forward. If you know what wounding event is motivating them, start there. I love this tool because of its versatility.

Once you’ve gotten all the blanks filled in, I would then go on to the Character Target Tool, because you’ll already have an idea about some of the traits. I like to identify a defining moral trait first, since moral traits will determine what other traits he might have and which ones he definitely won’t have. I would shoot for around two traits per category; some will have a few more. But you don’t want to have too many or the character becomes hard to define. Then you’ll want to figure out which of those traits your character will really own throughout the story. You may end up with 10 traits for him, but you can’t focus on all of those or he’s going to come across as scattered and not well defined. I would pick two, maybe three, of those traits to focus us on when you’re writing the character so the reader can get a good bead on him. Think of how you want him defined; to do this, think of your favorite characters who are clearly drawn. Which traits define them, and how many? Scarlett O’Hara (determined, self-serving, clever, manipulative). Sam Gamgee (loyal, organized, simple). For your own character, figure out which the traits are the important ones both for him and the story, and make those his defining traits.

I hope this helps! Best of luck!

John Pepper
John Pepper
3 years ago
Reply to  BECCA PUGLISI

Hello, Becca

Thank you for your reply. I have been using both tools for some time now to practice creating characters or try and develop or break down characters I’ve seen elsewhere.

However, I have come across a bit more confusion in terms of the Positive Trait tool. I am a little confused about the distinction between the Morals and Identity attributes. As I understand, morals are natural beliefs held by the person in terms of right and wrong, while identity is who the person is naturally? In that case, adding in the Interaction aspect, it becomes more confusing, as people can act differently from their actual selves in public. What I mean to ask is, can I get a little more explanation/clarification on the four attribute types? Thank you.

BECCA PUGLISI
Admin
3 years ago
Reply to  John Pepper

Ok, let’s back up a little bit. We know that personality traits are formed based on our positive experiences and the people who have influenced us. So before you can figure out which traits your character embodies, you have to know about those positive things and people from the past that have caused those traits to form. What role model had a positive influence on your character, and which traits did they embody? What positive experiences and exposures allowed them to form positive ideas about culture, society, and community, and what traits would naturally emerge from those? When were they able to successfully navigate a difficult situation, and which traits enabled them to do that? These are where positive attributes come from. Knowing these important people and events from your character’s past will enable you to figure out which positive traits he would likely embrace.

Digging into the backstory will give you a long list of possible attributes for your character. You’ll want to narrow it down to a manageable size that will enable you to focus on the really defining traits and write them clearly into your story. That’s where that Target Tool comes in handy. To answer your question, yes, moral traits are ones that tie into what we believe to be right and wrong. Sometimes a character adopts a character trait simply because he believes it’s the right way to be: just, honest, generous, kind, etc. (possibly because a role model exemplified that trait, or because that trait enabled him to overcome something difficult, etc.). So when I’m building a character’s personality, the core moral trait is the one I usually unearth first, because it will determine what other traits will (or won’t) follow, since the others have to align with that one. Interactive traits are relational ones; they determine how we interact with other people. Ask yourself: what is my character like when he’s with others? (extroverted, enthusiastic, nurturing, etc.). Achievement traits are ones that help us succeed at life (and help the character succeed at his goals): organized, responsible, cooperative, thrifty. And identity traits are ones that often make your character unique; they make him who he is and help him stand out from the crowd: spontaneous, talented, wholesome, curious, etc.

I like to shoot for 2 traits from each category. This is just a ballpark, or course, not a set-in-stone rule. Out of that final short list of categories, there will probably be 2 or 3 that really define who your character is and also help him in the story. Those are the ones I focus on when writing. Those become his defining traits.

Does this clarify things for you? This response field is getting narrower and narrower ;). If you need more info, please feel free to email your questions to me at becca.puglisi@yahoo.com.

Jan
Jan
3 years ago

This information is so valuable for new writers. Thank you for your help.

Kristina Stanley
3 years ago

Thank you for sharing such a wealth of information. This is great.

Kthleen Cooke
Kthleen Cooke
3 years ago

I’m a young teenage writer, and everything on the website has helped me so much.

BECCA PUGLISI
Admin
3 years ago
Reply to  Kthleen Cooke

I’m so glad you found us!