Need help with your story or characters?
You’ve come to the right place.
Many of our writing guides contain ingenious tools that help you better understand key aspects of story planning and character building. We’ve turned these into printable “blanks” so you can download them and use as needed. Scroll down to find those.
If you need a story coach…
Save yourself buckets of money and check out the Storyteller’s Roadmap we’ve designed for you at our sister site, One Stop for Writers. Whether you are planning, writing, or revising, these will help you get from your first idea to a publish-ready novel.
NEW! Goal, Motivation, Conflict + Stakes Tracker (PDF)
- Being able to see the fundamentals of your story can help you test out a story idea and make sure it’s strong enough and help you plot your book. This is a great tool for plotters and pantsers.
- The climax is your story’s big moment, the one that readers have been waiting for, so the last thing we want is to disappoint them. But the reality is lots can go wrong with a climatic moment, or we can unknowingly sabotage its effectiveness. This “problems & solutions” style chart is a must-have!
- We all know the role conflict plays in the structure and flow of a story. But it’s also an integral piece of your character’s arc, with each conflict opportunity contributing to their success or failure over time. Is this news to you? If so, we’ve created this simple graphic that shows how conflict relates to character arc in both a change and failed arc.
- If you’re writing a story about a character who will have to evolve to achieve his goal, a cohesive and well-planned character arc will be vital to its success. This change arc requires internal conflict, which will provide opportunities for your character to adapt and grow. But how to decide on that main area of internal struggle? Use this chart to identify a few key factors, and you can zero in on what that struggle will be for your character.
Career Assessment Tool (PDF)
- Choosing a character’s career is no small thing…the job you pick will not only communicate their personality, skill set, 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.
- 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!
- Were you unable to find the exact career you were hoping for in our Occupation Thesaurus writing guide? NO PROBLEM. If you’ve also checked these Contributed Job Entries and the expanded Occupation Thesaurus at One Stop for Writers, we’ve put our OT job template into a handy-dandy printable pdf so you can write your own!
- 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)
- This questionnaire can help you map out your character’s past wounding event and its aftereffects, giving you a clear idea of who he or she is in your current story. For a deeper understanding of this tool, please reference The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma.
Setting Planner (PDF)
- Use this handy tool to organize the settings in your story while keeping track of the various elements (such as sensory details, weather elements, mood, and symbolism) that will bring them to life. For a deeper understanding of this tool, please reference The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Personal and Natural Places.
Emotional Value Tool (PDF)
- Craft emotionally charged scenes by using this tool to determine which settings will have the most impact on your protagonist. For a deeper understanding of this tool, please reference The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces.
Setting Checklist (PDF)
- Build each setting in your story so they do double duty while setting the stage for your reader. For a deeper understanding of this tool, please reference The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to City Spaces.
Setting Exercises (PDF)
- Hone your description skills and enhance your settings with these exercises. For a deeper understanding of this tool, please reference The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Personal and Natural Places.
Character Pyramid Tool (PDF)
- Visualize your character’s FLAWS & associated behaviors. For a deeper understanding of this tool, please reference The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws.
Character Target Tool (PDF)
- Organize and group your character’s POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES by category: moral, achievement, interactive or identity. For a greater understanding of this tool, please reference The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes.
- Not your average character questionnaire! Get ready to dig deep into who your character is by exploring his backstory & personality (sourced from The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes).
Reverse Backstory Tool (PDF)
- Work backward to find your character’s wound, needs & lie. For a deeper understanding of this tool, please reference The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws).
Weak Verb Converter Tool (PDF)
- Transform all those generic, boring verbs into power verbs
- 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.
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