Archive for the ‘Plotting’ Category


I undboutably find this one of the hardest things when creating a new character…this should be of some help.

These 10 Tips for Writing Antagonists will help writers when they are creating this vital role in their novel.

  1. The antagonist is the character who MOST stands in the way of the protagonist achieving the story goal.
  2. He or she is known as the villain but need not be evil.
  3. The antagonist’s goal is in direct conflict with the goal of the protagonist.
  4. It is better if your villain is a person, not a force of nature (earthquake, flood), a group (gang, big company) or a general life condition (poverty, corruption).
  5. The antagonist should be equal in strength to your protagonist in order to fight a good fight.
  6. The best antagonist is someone who already plays a part in your protagonist’s life.
  7. Create a character whose motivation for opposing the protagonist’s story goal is as strong and logical as the hero’s reason for opposing the antagonist’s goal.
  8. The antagonist does not have to work from a negative motivation. If the roles were reversed the villain could become the protagonist.
  9. A great antagonist believes that his motivations are valid and his actions justified.
  10. Never create an antagonist who exists merely to obstruct the lead. You will end up with a shallow stereotypical character.

Seven ways to ensure you give VICs the attention they deserve

  1. Make them powerful enough to make choices.
  2. Make them the centre of attention. Even if they aren’t in a scene, the other characters should talk about them or think about them.
  3. They must make frequent long appearances throughout your book. If they don’t, you may have cast a character incorrectly.
  4. Make their actions and decisions memorable. As VICs, they are responsible for inciting actions or responding to events.
  5. Make the reader empathetic towards them. Your reader does not have to like them, but they need to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing.
  6. Make these characters viewpoint characters. Readers like to see the story through their eyes.
  7. Make sure they are worthy opponents for each other. If you want to create a compelling, memorable protagonist, you need a strong, three-dimensional antagonist. (Read 10 Essential Tips for Creating Antagonists)

If you do this, you will probably find that it’s easier to write your book. You won’t be giving prime time to supporting characters and you’ll be concentrating on the plot, not the sub-plots.

Working title:

Genre:  Romance, drama maybe a little scary or???

Tense/POV: third person


Part One

Inciting Incident:

What happens to the protagonist to put her unavoidably in the path of the antagonist?

Internal Initial Conflict (call to action):

What does your protagonist most want? Why can’t she have it? How will she try to get it?

External Initial Conflict (call to action):

What does your protagonist want to accomplish or obtain (physically)? How will she go about it?

Woven-in Backstory, Vital Information:

What happened before the inciting incident that we must know to understand the story?


Part Two

Internal Conflict (obstacles):

Why is your protagonist hesitant to strive for her goals? What (emotionally) makes her falter?

External Conflict (obstacles):

What stands in the way of your protagonist’s goals? What will happen to her if she fails?

Internal Higher Conflict (obstacles heighten):

Why should your protagonist turn back now? Why doesn’t she? What’s at stake?

External Higher Conflict (obstacles heighten):

Who or what is trying to stop your protagonist? Why?

Internal Highest Conflict (obstacles intensify):

What makes your protagonist realize the unavoidable importance of her original goal? What gives it new meaning?

External Highest Conflict (obstacles intensify):

How does the antagonist get the best of your protagonist? What could make it worse? What happens to make her believe that there is no way to win?

Internal Point of No Return (stakes):

What happens to change your protagonist so that she’ll never be the same again?



External Point of No Return (stakes):

What makes it impossible for your protagonist to go back, to give up?



Darkest Hour:

What is the worst possible thing that could happen to your protagonist?

Turning Point:

How does your protagonist realize she must continue to fight? How does she decide to risk everything? What new approach or idea has she come up with to battle on?

Part Three

Internal Climax:

What does your protagonist realize at the crucial moment? What does she learn? Overcome?

ÙÚ (preferably simultaneous) ÙÚ


External Climax:

How does your protagonist defeat your antagonist?

Resolution (external):

What does defeating the antagonist accomplish? How are things different?



Character Growth (internal):

How has your protagonist changed?

The below chart is copyrighted by me (Charlotte Dillion), but you may copy and paste it into Word or
another writing program, or print it out, for your own personal use only, in building
your characters. That way you can type in needed info, delete sections you don’t
want to fill in, or even add some more lines.  If you wish to share the chart in a
group meeting or newsletter, please include my name and home page link, Thanks. I hope this chart helps you turn those new
characters from cardboard to flesh and bone. Smile
Some of the Basics First:
Full Name —
Meaning of Name —
Nickname —
Birth Date —
Astrological Sign and Details —
Birth Place —
Age —
Nationality —
Race —
Hair Color —
Hair Style —
Shape and Features of Face —
Glasses or Contacts —
Eye Color —
Skin Tone —
Scars or Distinguishing Marks —
Disabilities —
Build or Body Type —
Height —
Weight —
Speech Patterns —
Tag Words —
Gestures —
Weakness —
Special Abilities or Powers —

Family and Childhood:
Mother —
Father —
Mother’s Occupation —
Father’s Occupation —
Family Finances —
Birth Order —
Brothers —
Sisters —
Other Close Family —
Best Friend —
Other Friends —
Enemies —
Pets —
Home Life During Childhood —
Town or City Name(s) —
Details of Town(s) or City(s) —
What Did His or Her Bedroom Look Like —
Any Sports or Clubs —
Favorite Toy or Game —
Schooling —
Favorite Subject —
Popular or Loner —
Important Experiences or Events —
Health Problems —
Culture —
Religion and beliefs —

Your Character’s Character:
Bad Habits —
Good Habits —
Best Characteristic —
Worst Characteristic —
Worst Memory —
Best Memory —
Proud of —
Embarrassed by —
Driving Style —
Strong Points —
Temperament —
Attitude —
Weakness —
Fears —
Phobias —
Secrets —
Regrets —
Feels Vulnerable When —
Pet Peeves —
Conflicts —
Motivation —
Short Term Goals and Hopes —
Long Term Goals and Hopes —
Sexuality —
Exercise Routine  —
Day or Night Person —
Introvert or Extrovert —
Optimist or Pessimist —

Likes and Styles:
Music —
Books —
Magazines —
Foods —
Drinks —
Animals —
Sports —
Social Issues —
Favorite Saying —
Color —
Clothing —
Jewelry —
Games —
Websites —
TV Shows —
Movies —
Greatest Want —
Greatest Need —

Where and How Does Your Character Live Now:
Home —
Household furnishings —
Favorite Possession —
Most Cherished Possession —
Neighborhood —
Town or City Name —
Details of Town or City —
Married Before —
Significant Other Before —
Children —
Relationship with Family —
Best Friend —
Other Friends —
Enemies —
Car —
Pets —
Career —
Salary —
Other Income —
Dream Career —
Dream Life —
Love Life —
Sexual Turn Ons —
Sexual Turn Offs —
Hobbies —
Guilty Pleasure —
Sports or Clubs —
Talents or Skills —
Intelligence Level —
Finances —
Greatest Strength —
Greatest Weakness —
Health Problems —
Culture —
Religion —

Your Character’s Life Before Your Story:
Past Careers —
Past Lovers —
Biggest Mistakes —
Biggest Achievements —

Copyrighted 1997 by Charlotte Dillon

a)  If you could have two whole weeks for vacation and go and do anything you wanted, what and
where would it be?

b) If you had a weakness for one of the seven deadly sins, which one would it be and why? (pride,
greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, sloth)

c)  If you could bring one person back to life and spend a whole day with him or her, who would it be
and why?

d)  If you won a three-million dollar lottery, what would you do with the money? What would you do
with a five-hundred dollar win?

e)  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

f)  What do you do to relax after a bad day?

g)  Where would you go to hang out if you wanted to feel comfortable?

h)  What do you do when you are angry?

i)  Do you have a secret passion? What? Why is it a passion? And why is it a secret?

j)  How do you feel in a crowd? How do you feel alone?

k)  If you were asked to describe yourself, what would you say about the kind of person you are? How
about how you look?

l)  Where do you want to be in your life ten years from now?

m)  A tear jerker is on. How do you react if alone? How do you react if with others?

n)  Deep down, what does you really think of yourself? Are you fair, moral, honest, ect…?

o)  What do you think would make a perfect first date?

p)  How important is money to you? Why?

q)  What do you consider romantic?

r)  How “green” are you? At the store, do you ask for paper, plastic, or bring a bag? Do you take
hour-long showers, quick ones, have a rain barrel in the yard to catch water for the garden? And so
on. While you are figuring out how “green” you are, figure out why you are dark green or not green at

s) How do you deal with anger, sadness, external/internal conflict, change, loss, jealousy, hurt, ect…?

t) How do you think others see you as a person? How do you think other see you when it comes to
looks and clothes?

Date this chart was completed:

Character’s Full Name:
Reason or meaning of name:
Reason for nickname:

Astrological Sign:


How old does s/he appear?
Eye Color:
Glasses or contacts?
Hair color:
Distinguishable hair feature (bald, receding hairline, etc.):
Type of hair (coarse, fine, thick, etc?)
Typical hairstyle:

Type of body/build:


Skin tone:
Skin type:

Shape of face:

Distinguishing Marks?
Most predominant feature:
Resembles (famous or not):


Is s/he healthy?
If not, why not:

Physical disabilities:
Physical abilities (what is character good at? sports, etc.):

Expletive(s) (swears):
Mode of transportation:

How often?

How often?

Worst bad habit?


Type of childhood:
First memory:
Most important childhood event that still affects him/her:

Lower education:

Higher education:

Booksmart or streetsmart?

Religion and/or religious views and/or tendencies?


Sexual experience?

Mother (name):
Relationship with her:
Father (name):
Relationship with him:
Birth order:
Relationship with each:
Children of Siblings:
Extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.):
Close to family?  Yes/No

Does character have child(ren)?
How many?
Are all children with the same partner?
If no, why not? If no, what is the custody arrangement?
How does character relate to his/her child(ren)?
Which child is character’s favorite?
Character’s most favorite memory of his/her child(ren)?
Character’s least favorite memory of his/her child(ren)?
Is relationship with children good?
Is relatioinship with children important to character?


Where does character work?
How many years?
Relationship with co-workers?
Like his/her job?
Why or why not?

Dream job:

Greatest fear:
Worst thing that could happen to him/her?
What single event would most throw character’s life in complete turmoil?

Character is most at ease when:
Most ill at ease when:


How s/he feels about self:
Past failure s/he would be embarrassed to have people know about:
If granted one wish, what would it be?

Daredevil or cautious?
Same when alone?

Biggest regret?

Biggest accomplishment:
Minor accomplishments:

Character’s darkest secret:
Does anyone else know?
If yes, did character tell them?
If no, how did they find out?


Greatest source of strength in character’s personality (whether s/he sees it as such or not):
Greatest source of weakness in character’s personality (whether s/he sees it as such or not):

Character’s soft spot:
Is this soft spot obvious to others?
If not, how does character hide it?
Biggest vulnerability:

Which of the 7 deadly sins does character fight (or give into, willingly or not)?
(lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride)
Which of the 7 virtues does your character have (or fight against)?
(chastity, abstinence, leberality, diligence, patience, kindness, humility)

Optimist or pessimist?
Introvert or extrovert?
Drives and motivations?
Talents (hidden or not)?

Extremely skilled at:
Extremely unskilled at:

Good characteristics:
Character flaws:

One word character would use to describe self:
One paragraph description of how character would describe self:

What does character consider best physical characteristic?
What does character consider worst physical characteristic?
Are these realistic assessments?
If not, why not?
How CHARACTER thinks others perceive him/her?
What four things would CHARACTER most like to change about self? (#1 most important, #2 second most important, etc.)

If change #1 was made, would character be as happy as s/he thinks?
If not, why not?

Is character divorced? Why?
If yes, how many times?
Has character ever cheated on any signficant other?
How does character relate to others?
How is s/he perceived by…
First impression character makes is:
What happens to change this perception?

What do family/friends like most about character?
What do family/friends like least about character?


Immediate goal(s):
Long range goal(s):
How does character plan to accomplish goal(s)?
How will other people around character be affected?


How character react in a crisis (calm/panic/etc.)?
How does character face problems?
Kinds of problems character usually runs into:
How does character react to NEW problems?
How does character react to change?


Other accessories?
Drives a … :
Where does character live?
With anyone?  Yes/No
Where does character want to live?
Spending habits (frugal, spendthrift, etc)?
What does s/he do too much of?
Too little of?
Most prized possession: Why?
Play musical instrument?
Which one(s)?
How did s/he learn?
Does character like animals?
Any pets?
Likes music?
What kind?


Owns a computer? Yes/No
If not, why not?
Email address(es):
If more than one, each used for…?
Meaning to character:
Uses computer for business, pleasure, both?
Play computer games?
If yes, which game(s)? If yes, how many hours per day?
If so, are they/it multiplayere game/s?
Name used on each game & meaning to character?
List 4 online site(s) (URLs) visited daily?


Person character secretly admires:
Person character was most influenced by:
Most important person in character’s life before story starts: