My Analog Toolbox

Meredith Bond

Last week I talked about my digital toolbox – some of the computer programs I use in my work. If you missed it, you can find it here. This week I’d like to talk about what I call my analog toolbox – analog because it’s something I do (usually) on paper. It’s as low-tech as I get because sometimes there is just nothing better than plotting or brainstorming with pen in hand on a good old fashioned piece of paper. But I don’t use a blank piece of paper, that would be too open-ended. I need some guidance as I think about all the different things that have got to go into my story. These are the tools that I use (some of which can be found in my book on writing, Chapter One the others I link to at the end). 

First, I have to say that I was actually pretty amazed at how many worksheets I have and consider essential to use when I’m starting to write a new book. Honestly, just now I went through the file I have (currently in Word, but I’d like to move it to Scrivener) and I opened up all the worksheets I use – there are nine. I should probably find another and make it an even ten, but for now, this is what I’ve got:

Character Examination Worksheet: This lets me think more deeply about who my characters are and what makes them tick. I analyze their goal, motivation, conflict, noun, adjective and verb (yes, all characters have one of each of those parts of speech which describe them). This can be found in Chapter One.

Michael Hauge’s Inner Journey Worksheet: Here I’ve created a worksheet with which I can map out my protagonist’s journey from full identity to full essence. Have no idea what that means? Either get Hauge’s The Hero’s Two Journeys (I think it’s only available in audio) or I can write a blog post about it (just tell me).

Michael Hauge’s Outer Journey Worksheet – his six stage structure: This is just that in a nicely laid out format.

Hauge’s Story Element Chart: We all need an essential sentence that sums up who our character is, what they’re going for and why. This provides the framework to write that sentence.

Hauge’s Internal Conflict Questions: helps get me started thinking about that internal journey so that I can fill out the Inner Journey Worksheet.

POV Scene Grounding Exercise: This was an exercise through which Alicia Rasley led a group of writers at a talk  I attended. It was so mind-blowing, I started using it for nearly every scene I write (no, not every one, but close) .

Scene Worksheet: I also have my own scene worksheet which helps me to organize my thoughts about each scene before I write it. This one is also in Chapter One.

Story Outline Worksheet: It is just that – the story outline, but for each piece of the story (I have labeled initiating event, major turning point, etc) I have to fill in the goal, conflict and turning point or the stimulus and response – depending on which fits better with my story (yes, I’ve got two worksheets).

And finally, I’ve got a worksheet entitled When Starting a Book, Don’t Forget. It’s an incredibly useful worksheet, a cheat sheet if you will, of all of the essential pieces you need to know when you’re about to start writing a book.

And there you have it – my analog toolbox. Are there worksheets you couldn’t write without? Or would you like more information on any one of mine? I’m happy to share – so happy that I’ve uploaded all of these worksheets (those which aren’t available in Chapter One) into an Evernote Notebook. You can access it here.


Meredith Bond is an award-winning author of a series of traditionally published Regency romances and indie-published paranormal romances. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith’s heart belongs to her husband and two children. Meredith’s second favorite pastime is teaching others to write.

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