Templates are Cookies for the Muse

Do you feed templates and cheat sheets to your muse?

No?  Then you’re missing play time–and you know how muses love to play.

There’s a cheat sheet on my desktop (okay, on the desktop for both my main computer and my netbook) that includes keywords for the hero’s journey, plotting questions from Alicia Rasley, a few character keywords from Steve Barnes.

Find your own inspiration and make a cheat sheet.   Print it and carry it with you as an idea  or journal entry starter to get story ideas moving when you have time on your hands in a doctor’s office or grocery store line.

Beyond that, there are templates.  They tease the muse into filling in the blanks–and they help you make sure all the blanks ARE filled in before you send off a query or synopsis or write to deadline.

It takes a village to make a writer, and the goddess of templates in my personal village is Mary Buckham, co-author of Break into Fiction.  If you and your muse need help with a plot, Mary’s book (or her workshops around the country) are filled with templates to be sure there are no gaps in your story.

My favorite templates from Mary (for idea play) are the synopsis templates from her workshops online.   She’s teaching a short synopsis master class this month at Writers Online Classes that’s filled with templates for story planning, character development–even a template for queries.

Best of all, Mary has templates for both literary fiction and genre fiction.   And for those of us who move back and forth across the genre/literary line, that’s a huge asset in keeping our minds and our muses clear.

What other templates do you use?   I’d love to see comments–and I’ll post more of my own on Monday.