Friday, November 28, 2008

Writing, writing, writing... keep that Willow writing...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You know, one of these days I'm going to be inspired to actually write dialogue for my scenes again. Maybe my brain wants to outline everything fully before I start writing everything out in chapter form? Don't get me wrong, I have quite a bit of dialogue written and several chapters done. It just seems like lately all I do is get inspired with ideas for scenes without all of the specifics I'd need to write them up fully. Oh well, maybe this is my writing process...

In the past week or so I have:
- Outlined several new scenes and added to previously outlined scenes
- Spent a great deal of time on character development. Typing up background stories and explanations for each main character and really getting into the characters motivation for doing what they do.
- Found a really cool website that is helping me develop my characters.
- Typing up rough outlines of other story ideas that I dream up. It's the only way I can get the ideas out of my head so I can focus on Instinct.

Outlining New Scenes:
I'm really liking how full my story is becoming. There are very few scenes that aren't fully outlined at this point. I'm pretty sure that once I feel that everything is planned out that the chapter-esque text will just flow out of me like crazy. I'm very much a planner and I know that most of the issues I had before when skipping around writing chapters is because the scenes weren't fully planned out in relation to the story when I started them.

I spent most of this morning typing up outlines to two chapters/scenes that I hadn't put much thought into before. I was able to add a good conversation into an early chapter that opens the door for the emotional changes Casey goes through in the rest of the book. All-in-all, a pretty productive morning, even if I didn't write one line of actual dialogue.

Character Development:
I've really delved into my characters motivations in this story. I've always known what they are supposed to do but never really understood why they do what they do. I made myself sit down and really figure this out. I had a couple variations about how the story would end for my villain and how the main characters would react to each version, but wasn't sure which "fit" the story right.

I ended up looking at each character's reactions and asked myself "Would they naturally react this way?", "Why or Why not?", "What would their most natural reaction be?" I then took all of these answers and typed them up in my character profiles. This actually led to a whole back story on my villain that I never took the time to realize before. Learning more about this character makes me almost want to write a different version of this story from their point of view eventually. It would be an interesting read...

But anyway, thanks to this character development exercise I think that I have the perfect ending for my villain. It's perfect to me because the other characters can react naturally and it still make sense in the grand scheme of things... i.e.- the trilogy...

I've also been trying to create a fairly minor character, they have an important role in the story and are spoken of by a main character fairly frequently. I just can't decide if they are male or female, yeah sounds like a stupid problem to have... but here I am. I'm seriously considering never actually using a specific pronoun for them and giving them a gender neutral name like Sam or something. Let the reader decide who they are because since Casey never actually sees this character to describe them, I could almost get away with it. This character is a boyfriend/girlfriend for a main character, who I have no problem with them being gay or straight. I guess I'll just have to see where the outlining process takes me with them.
This site is so fun. It lets you create 3-D avatars. You get to choose everything from their facial features, skin tone, hair style and color, clothing, background setting, etc... You don't even have to sign in to play with the program, you only have to sign up for free if you want to save your creations and have access to the coding for them.

I've had a blast using it to create 3-D images of my characters. It's amazing how playing dress-up with your characters reveals so much of their personality. I create the base character and then start picking out the types of outfits they would wear in different scenes. I actually learn the most about them based on what types of clothing they would NEVER wear. It makes me think about why they wouldn't wear it. Are they a punk rocker who wouldn't be caught dead in a sweater vest? Are they a socialite fashionista who never wears anything that isn't the epitome of style? Are they trying to dress according to their social status rather than wear what they really like? The questions go on, and on...

Other Stories:
My writing gremlin is a busy little bugger these days. If I try to take one day off from the story, even if it's just to let any changes I've made sink in completely - BAM - there he is... with a new idea.

In the past week or two he's presented me with the following story concepts:
- a high school type of love story that involves misguided time travel. Took about 4 pages single spaced to type out a rough outline and get it to stop playing in my head mixed in with all of my Instinct time lines.

- a story about a young girl who's gypsy heritage doesn't mix well with the relative she is sent to live with and how she has to reconnect with her heritage to end an evil curse on her tribe. The gremlin didn't push this idea too strongly, but it was presented so I typed up a rough synopsis of it in case I become a big time author someday and want to try and write it
- a story written in dual journal formats about a Hollywood manager's niece falling in love with one of her aunt's clients. It's going to be told in journal entries from her and the actor and deals with how they deal with the unique difficulties of having a "Hollywood Romance." Stayed up until 3 a.m. getting this bugger out of my brain so that I could get some sleep one night.

Yeah... In case it isn't perfectly obvious by now, I like stories that center on some sort of romance. The Hollywood journal one is the story that keep popping it's little head into my subconscious anytime I'm not 100% focused on Instinct. I have a feeling that once I'm done writing this trilogy out, even if it's just for my own eyes, that this will be the next story I write... well unless my writing gremlin provides me something more entertaining to write about that is.

Unlike the rest of my story ideas, this journal one seems like it would be better in book form than on film. The rest I think would be told easily enough in either format. I can visualize the story pretty well, but I'm not sure how well the story would translate itself to an audience that can't see exactly what the characters are feeling. The story is kind of "meh" at the moment too, the only real conflict in it so far is how the outside world treats them and how they react. It just feels like there should be something bigger going on. But what do I know, I'm new to this whole writing novels thing...



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