Building Character Maps
Have you ever heard of a character map? Character maps are a great way to connect all the relationships in your novel. By using Scapple, you can effectively build a map and know your characters inside and out.
First, I know, you’re probably thinking, what on Earth is Scapple? It’s from the great people at Literature and Latte, the ones who made Scrivener (aka, my favorite app). Scapple is a mapping program of sorts.
You have bubbles that feature information, and you can connect different bubbles to each other to hook up information. While I know some people love to use this for plotting, I think very linearly (if that’s not a word, it is now), so I don’t use it for that.
What I have been using it for is for building character maps. I don’t even know if character mapping is a legit thing, but for me it is. You see, part of what I love about public relations is the connections you have to make with people for them to believe your story. So, when it comes to characters, I want to make sure that they all have great connections, and I want to get those down so they aren’t rolling around in my head (and subject to being forgotten).
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So, I introduce to you my character map. Granted, it’s a bare one, but that’s okay. It’s a work-in-progress.
I think this would work really well for stories that have double plots, for instance, if you’ve seen (or read) The Longest Ride from Nicholas Sparks. Well, there were two stories, and they were tied together, one from the past and one in the present. That would be a cool way to keep track of who in each plot is connected to one another and how.
Even if you just make one character map, you can use this to connect past details in life that happened to this character. For instance, did an accident happened that caused something else to happen? Anything you can think of connecting, you can connect here.
I think character maps are becoming my favorite new thing in writing just because it’s fun to find out your characters. There’s something fun to me about seeing the relationships between characters connect with the little line across the screen.
Besides characters, I’ve used this in the past to tie in long plot ideas that span over multiple books. Pretty much, if you need to connect the dots, Scapple is the place to do it at.
Characters are critical to your book, but if you don’t understand how they work together, are they really that critical? What I love about this program is that it’s a great way for me to draw it all out, but still have it look nice and clean.
By putting all the characters down into Scapple, it gives me a great place to take inventory, and then I don’t have to flip through notes (That are probably packed in a box somewhere) to find a character’s name. As I add more, the web gets bigger and it becomes even cooler.
So, tell me, how do you keep track of who knows who in your world?