Template for Tracking Character Arcs

I had a couple emails from folks regarding how I track character arcs.  Specifically about the extra notes I take chapter to chapter to track changes in character.  I’ve talked about character arcs in the past here (use in self-editing) and here (what they are).  I do have a standard template I work from and attach to chapters as I roll through.

Below is the one I mocked up a while ago.  I just recently converted it to Flickr so you can click on the image below and print it out if you need it.  It’s been formatted to fit a standard piece of printer paper (landscape) so you should have no trouble printing.

It’s pretty self explanatory as you look at it, so I won’t go into any great detail about how to use it.  If you do have questions about it, don’t be afraid to leave a comment. I’m pretty good at getting back to people.  I destroy trees at an alarming rate so I just print them off as I need them.  This template would cover six chapters.

Character Arc Tracking Sheet.jpg

Give the image a click and get teleported via interweb majesty to my Flickr page.  You can print a higher-resolution version there.  Created by me, and as always, free to use and share.


Today is a mercifully short post, but provides you a handy tool.  If you can get your beta readers to use something like this – you win the prize.  Until tomorrow, keep reading, keep writing, and as always – stay sharp!

Copyright Info (final)

27 responses

    • Glad it was useful!

      I won’t be offering any of my book contents until after it is published. Some publishers won’t move forward with a book that has be pre-released in other forms (why sell a book if it can accessed for free, kind of mentality) But someday it’ll all be out there!

      Liked by 3 people

  1. This sparked a question for me: what is the recommended chapter length for a supporting character arc? If this has been covered in a previous post, feel free to disregard. I’ll find it later when i get home; it’s just that my work’s wifi blocks some links on WordPress, so I can’t deep dive at present. Thank you for sharing this resource! It will be put to good use.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome, it’s similar to the one I use, I have mine in an excel sheet that interacts with bio’s on other sheets keeping them up to date. I don’t have significant statements or impact as reader. I might just snag those. 😉 Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you found some useful additions to your pre-existing tool! I’ve used excel before as well, but I do like things to look “pretty” sometimes. Hah! I’m a goofball like that.

      Thanks for leaving some thoughts and reading today!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Template for Tracking Character Arcs — Quintessential Editor – I Suck at Writing

  4. You know, I just realized I don’t know. Do you outline your characters’ arcs or do you discovery write them? This is a great tracker here, but I hope people see what an effect character development outlining tool this could be.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I didn’t outline the arcs for Wastelander, but I did a minor outline of the story. I think for the next book (which won’t be in 1st person) I will do minor outlines of the arcs. With this first book being in 1st and only having a few characters to deal with, I didn’t stress the plotting of the arcs as much. My experiment with 1st was to let a character make decisions and me just provide navigation. But when I move into 3rd I want to be more directed with the characters. I don’t know if that makes any sense.

      I’ve been playing with some other templates (different types and themed ones). If I give one a green light I’ll probably share it at some point.

      Thanks for swinging in today. Congrats again on your indie award nomination! I was excited to see the announcement in your blog and Facebook.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’m going to improve it and make some themed ones (fantasy, steampunk, space opera, etc) when I find the time. There are also some other templates I use (chapter synopsis/feedback forms) that I will sharpen and share. I know it’s just design stuff and not “meat” but it’s fun for me to have themed tools when I edit and help people with their work – and for my own as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: What the Heck is a Character Arc? « Quintessential Editor

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