{discover.play.build.} bone map

Getting to know a character by
making a bone map.
I like forcing myself to think about characters and their lives by making different kinds of lists and maps in my notebook. Often with students, I ask them to map their hearts. A few years ago, I added bone mapping as an option for students who didn’t want a “sissy heart” in their notebooks. Good thing, because Krums (a character I’m dabbling with) refused to make a heart map. Since life as a fiction writer is much easier when the characters are talking to me, I decided to listen to him and make a bone map instead.
I was surprised to find his dog on the map. I didn’t realize he had a dog, but it makes sense. All I know about the dog right now is he is a German Shepherd. I can’t wait to find out his name. I also think it is quite telling that no people are on his map and Krums got a little snarky when pushed to think about the people who are close to his bones. Mountain biking filled the map, which didn’t surprise me. Krums wanted me to make the words bigger because this is one of the most important things to him (and he wanted the map to fill up faster). I just realized school isn’t on the bone, but I’ll go back and add it. School is important to him, and being first in his class is even more important.

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  1. Lots of great ideas for writing today! Thank you! It's interesting to see all the different ways you've developed for idea mapping. Good for student choices.

  2. Thanks for the ideas about mapping. I have a question for you. Do you write in a journal or do you use the computer? Lately, I have been jotting down snippets of ideas for writing I want to do but I don't get to the writing part. I know I just need to get out my journal and write for 10 or 20 minutes but wondered about opening a word document and doing the same. Any thoughts?

  3. I like this idea of bone mapping–I could see it working with the high school boys who take my creative writing class. They wouldn't want to do the “sissy heart” thing either!

  4. First, I loved the bone map idea. I had not heard of that variation before. I clicked on your picture before reading the post and laughed at the dialogue on the top.

    When reading your explanation, I loved how it showed the process of getting to know your characters. The last sentences showed how it is on-going. I was surprised with the last statements. It is fun to be surprised with characters and the different angles of their lives.

    Is this character in the same YA work in progress as the character whose hand map you just did?