A Blank Story Circle
Dan Harmon’s Story Circle is a wonderful way of structuring your writing. Based on a Hero’s Journey, it guides your plot through the ever elusive “beginning, middle and end” that people keep talking about. Below is a massive fillable pdf version of the story circle. I mainly use it for creating the outline or the bones of a story.
Make a better What if?
This is the tool I use when I’m just starting to think of a story. You’ve probably heard that it’s easy to start a story by asking yourself, What if… I think that’s stupid. It’s like saying; In order to be creative, just be creative. So, most heavily based on Lisa Cron’s book Story Genius, this tool will guide you through a series of questions that will help you come up with a solid what if based on an even more solid underlying story.
Align your story
This is a tool that will help you with the editing process. In a series of three editing passes, I use this one first. It is all based off of Dan Harmon’s Story Circle. Fill this form out as you read through your first draft. When you press submit, all of the information that you wrote in will be aggregated into a visual story circle. This can help you line things up and add some amazing symmetry into your plot. If you don’t know about the story circle or the Hero’s Journey (which is what the circle is based on) then just follow this link to learn more!
This is a form that you can use to help guide feedback. The main goal of this feedback form is to give people who wouldn’t consider themselves writers an easy way to give you extremely helpful notes. Ones that aren’t just “yup pretty good stuff, pal. I liked that it had characters, that was a cool move”
The following is not meant to help you create a character but instead help you get more inside your character's head. The questions in this tool are based on multiple different psychological methodologies including things like perception theory, personality theory, conflict theory, group dynamics and certain relationship counseling methods. This will help you understand what your character’s voice and tone are, thus, creating a more consistent and sturdy character.
This tool guides you through the key things that you should have worked out for EVERY CHARACTER. This will create a core from which you can build the rest of your character around.
Testing Your Character
Run your character’s through a set of prompts, each targeting a different level of conflict. Life is a series of conflicts and, in turn, so are stories. Understanding how your character will react at every level of conflict that exists will help you know at a reflexive level exactly how your character will react to anything that your plot will throw at them. Ultimately, doing this type of ground work will help you continually answer the question: What would actually happen next?