Posted in ✍️ Writing Tips & Resources

3 Word Documents to ALWAYS Keep With Your Story

Hello, Writers! If you’re working on a novel, you know that it can be difficult to keep up with all the information involved: character background, town/street names, world-building details… It can all get lost in the writing process.

Today, I will share with you 3 Word documents I always keep when writing a story. Always! And they are soooo helpful.

1. Character Sheet

The very first document you’ll need (whether on Word or on paper) is your character sheet. Here, you will keep track of names, last names, ages, and other physical attributes.

This sheet is especially helpful at the beginning of the writing process, to keep your newly thought-of characters fresh in your mind.

I’ve changed Vincent to Victor during the first draft of a story, and I’ve accidentally changed eye colors as well. With my character sheet, I can catch these mistakes quickly and keep them from happening often.

How much detail you add to this sheet is up to you, but definitely keep track of the basics.

2. Killed Darlings

In writing, “kill your darlings” means “get rid of any scenes and dialogue not moving the story forward… even if YOU happen to love them.” It’s the hacking away at the end of the first draft to make a more concise second draft.

You might change your mind about deleted scenes/dialogue, so keep them for possible future use.

It’s hard to know where everything will go on a first draft, so keep those deleted parts! You might find that although it didn’t fit in one place, it may later fit in another place.

Kill your darlings… with care.

3. Checklist

I also like to keep a checklist Word document. These are things that I know I’ll have to look at later, but I don’t want to bother during the first draft.

This includes double-checking chapter numbers or going back to add a table of contents.

This is just you looking out for yourself. So, if there’s anything your story needs, but has to wait until a future draft, put it on the checklist.

What other Word documents do you keep, besides your main story doc? Let us know in the comments!

Take care and write on,


🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜🌸 🌜

19 thoughts on “3 Word Documents to ALWAYS Keep With Your Story

  1. Apart from the file with deleted scenes and a ‘to do’ file with major notes (I put smaller notes right into the main doc most of the time), I have a file with ideas for future stories within the same ‘universe’. I also have the character sheet as a spreadsheet, not a word doc, so I can sort and filter stuff when trying to find something.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Awesome 🙂 I imagine an idea sheet works well for fantasy & sci fi! I also like the idea of using a character spreadsheet… wonder if I should try that 🤔

      Thanks for dropping by, Tomas, and have an awesome week!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love these ideas!! 🙂 I’ve used character sheets for my stories in the past, but the second two are things I’ve never tried. I really like them though 😌

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good post, Yari. For novels, I always begin with a chapter-by-chapter outline to keep me grounded to the story. I always review the next chapter scenario the night before I write it, and just before I begin writing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, Liz! I googled Scrivener, because I’d never heard of it. Looks interesting, with definitely a lot of bells and whistles. Maybe it takes some getting used to?

      I wish you the best on your 2020 writing goals! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post! I use word doc character sheets, to fit your number 1, I have a spare material doc which is where the darlings end up, your number 2, and a working plot doc – the main story one. I do like having most of this by my side in physical form, but they do get scribbled on a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great advice, I’ve been tweaking with character appearances and need yo pull out my character profiles so I can stop adding question marks to everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t have a specific file for “killed darlings,” but I do save copies of earlier drafts, so the sentences are still there in a version of the text (and it’s easy to find them if I ever need to since they’re exactly where I think they should be within the document!)


Comments are closed.