Lack of inspiration? Need to figure out what’s next? Sometimes to move forward as a writer, one must take a step back.
One way to approach this block on the road is by looking at your characters and making sure you have them straight. This is especially true -and helpful I may add- in the case of a series/serials with multiple principal characters. Knowing the relationships between the characters can solidify a direction not previously explored.
Example 1: Family Relationships – Family Tree me.
Haven’t figured out the age of a character? Working a story with parents and children that span a number of years? Is your character too old or too young to be in his or her line of work? A family tree may be just what is needed to keep everything straight.
The tree is a great place to track birthdays, marriages, and ages. Adding essential details such as gender, eye color, nicknames, and even the texture of said character’s hair makes this a great place to reference the small things for stories to come.
Example 2: Friend relationships – I’ve got your back.
Relational charts can be the perfect tool for back story relationships. Has a significant even bound a number of characters together? Is this information necessary to the how characters know one another or why they loathe each other?
Creating a chart with the information of these past interactions gives you a place to pull from when all of a sudden that lovable character turns into a demon when crossing the path of some beautiful damsel.
Example 3: Business Relationships – Where to draw the line?
Do you characters work in the same occupation? Manager/Supervisor vs. subordinate? Is she the CEO or CTO while her partner-in-crime works as a custodian? Knowing the roles, a character plays in the power order offers a multitude of opportunity to toy with relationships and establish interactions among the characters in the story.
Example 4: Random Relationships – Tracking people, places, and time.
Relational charts offer a new take on the timeline. For those who are visual learners, a relational chart may be a more efficient way to keep track of events as they transpire. These charts are not limited to the people involved but can gather and group information on locations, plot points, and position in time for the journey through the story.
Care to try your hand at creating a basic family trees and relations charts, check out one or both of the sites below.