Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – A Quick & Easy Character/Plotting Form – December 20, 2016

Got two minutes? Then check out this week’s quick tip ~ Using Google Forms to plan out your novel

Hello and welcome…I am a freelance editor and an editor for The Wild Rose Press, as well as an author. I often struggle with my own writing, and I have found that sometimes, a little reminder of ways to improve the process can be helpful, so, I like to share these moments of brilliance with others :). But, in this busy world of ours, who has time for pages and pages of writing tips? That’s why I’ve condensed mine down to quick flashes you can read in (approximately) two minutes. Enjoy…


Disclaimer: All of my tips are suggestions, and are only my opinion. And, for the most part, there are exceptions when going against my advice will make your story read better. Take what works, leave the rest.

If you’re like me, although, thank God, very few people are… Each time you are ready to begin a new novel, you approach it differently. Even after writing 25 plus novels and short stories, I am still working on my process.  I end up having notes scattered here and there, in different files, documents, in email, notepads, flash drives, etc. In an effort to organize and condense my notes, I decided to try Google Forms., and I thought I’d share my tip with you.  The questions can be as brief or as in-depth as you wish, from just a brief character sketch, to plot, to scene notes. Even pantsers might find the Google Form method handy.

Here is the link for Google Forms: https://docs.google.com/forms/u/0/

You simply create a new form and add whatever questions you want to use for your story. For each question, I suggest changing the ‘answer’ method to ‘paragraph’ to give you the most room for each one.

Here is a sample with the questions filled out (these are not the exact questions I use, but just an example)


A partial screen shot of the above form:


You can email this form to yourself and you can click on the option to have the form appear in the email. Then, you can go to the email, or to Google Forms, and fill in the blanks. You can download as a CVS file, although that’s not the best format to work with, in my opinion. Instead, you can access your completed form on the Google Form site by going to ‘responses.’ You can print from there if you’d like.

Below is an example of a completed form (Click on the below link to see the entire form):


A screen shot of part of the completed form:


What do you think? Is this something you might try? Feel free to share any tips you have for your method of organizing/gathering story info.

Until next time…Happy Writing!


ONLY 99 cents!! 

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

2 minute writing tip final



*** If you would like to send me a few sample pages (around 7500 words or so, even though I will not edit that many on the blog. It just gives me more to choose from) for me to edit and share on an upcoming blog post, please do so in the body of an email to AliciaMDean@aol.com. Please use the subject line: “Blog Submission” This is for published or unpublished authors. In the email, please include whether you would like me to use your name or keep it anonymous, and whether or not you would like me to include any contact info or buy info for your books. Also, you can let me know if you would like for me to run my edits by you before posting on the blog. Please keep in mind, this is for samples to use for blog posts. I will not edit or use samples from all the submissions I receive, but I will use as many as possible. 



How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)

Amazon: Click Here


Filed under For Writers, Promo Tips, Tips from an Editor, Tuesday Two-Minute Tips

6 responses to “Tuesday Two-Minute Writing Tip – A Quick & Easy Character/Plotting Form – December 20, 2016

  1. coryellsusan

    I am sure this will work for techy writers, but not for me. I compose at the computer, but dread any other tech-tasks (including markup, which gives me hives). Thanks for sharing.


  2. Great tips, as ever. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Diane Burton

    This looks like something I might use. Thanks.


  4. Like Susan, while this would no doubt make my work stronger, I’m a very organic writer and any attempt to organize my thoughts smacks of no fun! 😉 Actually, I’m a little more disciplined than that. Thanks for sharing your methods. With each passing book I become a little more purposeful in my writing and each time I read your hints it inspires me a little more. 🙂


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