Character Balloons

purple latex balloon 24" in diameter with...
Image via Wikipedia

How to organize your cast of characters quickly. #writetip I don’t draw, but this is an easy cartoon anyone can create. If you’re like me, you’ve kept a list of characters, however small the role, somewhere on your computer. Mine are in a spreadsheet.

I start with the protagonist,  putting her/his name in the center of a blank page and drawing a balloon around her/him.

Now the fun begins.

Add the antagonist. Don’t worry if you have more than one. Pick the character who has the largest interaction with your protagonist.

Draw a line between the protagonist and the antagonist. Then write their relationship on the line. Father/daughter. Boss/Employee. You can put any other relevant information in a balloon. Words like killer, victim etc.

Continue until you have all your characters on the page. Draw a line between balloons that hold characters who have some type of relationship. This can get messy. I use dotted lines if I have to cross through one balloon to get to the next.

Add then end, you’ll have a spiderweb of  balloons.

Now you can analyze it and “see” if all the connections make sense.

The drawing will show me if there are two characters I could fold into one or if I’ve confused any relationships. Best of all, it often gives me scene ideas. Here is where I can “see” if there are questions I need to answer or  story lines I’ve left unfinished. This is why I leave this exercise until I’m close to a first draft.

Have fun with this one. It’s an entertaining way to look at your novel.

Advertisements

Thank you for commenting!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s