Writing 102: The OutlineTime to take the next step. By now you should have three big chunks of plot, a beginning, the middle and hopefully an end.
Now we are going to break these chunks in smaller pieces in what is known as the "Three Arc Structure". Any form of entertainment follows this classic structure in some way, even the smallest joke, which has the set-up, the middle and finally the punch line.
There are very creative pieces of work that throw that Three Arc Structure out the window but I guarantee that the author behind such work knew this theory backwards and upside down and thus was comfortable enough not to follow it. Know you craft before innovating.
The Three Act Structure looks like this:
Writing 203: Nice to Meet YouToday's article is extremely important as it is key for successful character development.
KNOW YOUR CHARACTERS INSIDE AND OUT
That's today's lesson. You have to develop all your characters well enough they become real people. Except those with one line only, like Officer #1 or Hot-Dog Dude. Those are walking puppets to populate your world.
But your primary and secondary characters must be well developed, there's no way around it. Their actions must be driven by their personality and back story. Even though most of this information will never see the light of day, it is imperative they exist through your characters' actions.
If you need a character to behave a specific way to drive the plot forward, it must be planted beforehand and be in line with the previously established personality, it can't be out of character.
My process starts with ten questions I fished here and there and a couple of reminders that form my own Character Bio Sheet. I like to answer them in excruciating detail
Writing 101: Find your EndingWriting may seem easy but if you intend to write entertainment in any form there are ancient rules to follow, the Greeks knew it thousands of years ago, about time you learn them too.
A linear story must have a beginning, a middle and an end. Pretty obvious, heh? Not really, smart ass... you see, in reality most people start writing without having an end, not even an idea where to take the story, no prior planning. You can't build a house without a blueprint, same goes for story telling.
Writers tend to get so carried away having so much fun, they lose themselves in the story in a way that what began as a twenty four page One-Shot becomes a Lord of the Rings masterpiece with a thousand pages. Writing twenty four pages is hard enough, writing a mythology is a herculean task. Most likely you will grow tired of your masterpiece and it will eventually be dropped ne'er to be seen again, or worse, you'll be writing it forever and ever, and heaven becomes your personal hell.
If you, the write
Writing 202: What's your Job?Couple of days ago I covered how big should your cast be and today I'll cover their functions within the story. This should be extremely helpful to see which characters should be gone and those that are key to your plot.
One of the best books I read on Character Development was "The Writer's Journey - Mythic Structure for Writers" by Christopher Vogler. He covers classic structuring as well but for me, the highlight in his book is how he maps his plot through his characters.
Basically he divides every single character in seven (7) Archetypes, the most common ones. Sometimes a character can "be" more than one thing but this helps figure out which characters are performing the same function within the story and how they can be combined to form a more complex and enjoyable one.
Vogler says: "The concept of archetypes is an indispensable tool for understanding the purpose or function of characters in a story. If you grasp the function of the archetype
Writing 204: Lego BlocksRemember back in the day when you got that kick-ass Lego pirate ship with thousands of little pieces in a snowy X-Mas? And how much fun it was to build it just like the picture on the cover? Building the whole thing up from scratch always comparing your work with the one on box.
Awesome, so based on the current poll I'll discuss index cards, character development and why not a little bit more about structure.
Your outline, which hopefully you broke into smaller chunks, say fifteen or sixteen of them, is the picture on the Lego box. And your index cards are the actual Legos.
So now it's time to build your story just like you planned... before you start remodeling with a few touch ups here and there, let's face, who can resist? But rewriting deserves its own topic
As much planning you have beforehand, there's no better feeling than letting your creativity guide you where the story is asking to go, but knowing your path always help when exploring uncharted territory.
Okay, I've got my
Writing 201: Crowd or Cast?You should know your overall plot by now and I'm sure you have your cast of characters in mind, now it's time to cut your cast in half, yep, seriously, cut it in half as you have too many characters. Yep, that's right, we'll focus today's article on something most people tend to ignore: how big should your cast be?
Here's the thing, the more characters you have, the more pages you will need to develop them in a satisfying manner. So, unless you're writing the next 1000+ novel I suggest you keep your cast with the minimum number of characters as possible your plot requires.
Why have two bad guys when one suffices? What's the point in having 50 mutants in a film where only one takes center stage *wink wink looking at you 20th Century Fox*?
I'm sure that when you cooked up a cool story you had about twenty characters in mind, that's perfectly natural, it's just too much fun creating people to populate your world. But there's an inherent danger in keeping such a bloated cast: the character
Writing 302: Action in PanelsYou may think this is solely up to the illustrator of the book but in fact it's actually a shared responsibility between writers and pencillers.
Camera Angles and Storytelling through Panels
As a writer it's your job to define the pacing and flow of the page and how your story will reach the readers. The artist's job is to take those directions, execute them as best as he can and apply his vision on top of the writer's. It is a collaborative effort and that's why writers and artists have to keep a constant communication.
Drawing a pin-up is one thing, telling a story through pictures is something else entirely. All your choices have weight and they should mean something, you should be very conscious of every single decision you take as an artist/writer when working on a comic book.
A close up has a very different desired effect than a wide shot for instance, and they each communicate something specific to your readers. So always keep in mind, "What do I want to communicate wi
Team Effort 101So you've just completed your masterpiece, the script is just out of the oven and you can't wait to start working on the art.
Did you carefully lay out the path ahead? As much fun as working in comics is, there's still a lot of logistics to handle, especially if you got a team working on the same title.
First off the bat, my advice is to always team up, even if you're like a Swiss army knife with ten thousands utilities and talents, crafting a comic book from beginning to end is just too much work, and that is the main reason I believe people quit halfway through.
If only you had access to an amazing community of talented artists you could bounce ideas off, collaborate and help achieve more, oh wait, you do have access, in fact, if you're reading this text you're lucky to be connected right now to thousands of deviants eager to work in comics just like you and me.
Writing is a solo endeavor, even when other people are kind enough to read and give notes, a writer still sits in
***THE LOST KIDS ART CONTEST HAS BEGUN!***LOST KIDS ART CONTEST BEGINS NOW!
Draw a Lost Kids Cover!
1st Place: $250
2nd Place: $150
[w00t!] 3rd Place: $100 [w00t!]
[Hi!] But wait! That is not all! [Hi!]
All Top Three Winners will have their work as Covers/Variant Covers for the Lost Kids comic books to be published late 2012!
It should also be noted that all three winners will also receive a copy of the comic book their cover will be featured on, just thought I would put this out there
[Bullet; Red] Easy! Draw one or more characters from the Lost Kids universe in any way you imagine (i.e. sketch card, pin-up, B/W, CGI, Digital or Traditional Art, etc)
[Bullet; Red] Artwork must be 11x17in in size and with at least 300dpi
[Bullet; Red] Your layout must leave room for the Lost Kids logo but do not include it in your art.
[Bullet; Red] Check out our website for more information about all the characters and feel
RESEARCH is your Best Friend
RESEARCH is your Best Friend.
"...for bigger fictions (maybe 10-20 chapters, or more) for a big fan fiction or OC fiction, how much do you plan out?" -- Wanna Rite Reel Gud
How much do I plan out for one of my novels...?
-- I detail everything. Seriously. I believe in a Total Immersion style of writing. In other words, I want to know the world so well, I can simply step into the mind and skin of my main character and LIVE the story.
How do I do that...?
I start with a basic plot formula and extrapolate on certain points as needed.
Romance needs extra doses of lover's angst, Gothics need psychological breakdowns, Horrors need room for monster attacks, Sci-Fi's and Fantasies need moments of wonder... This gives me a rough plot outline to work from.
Next, I break down each of the Three Main Characters: Hero/Ally/Villain.
This is to make sure that they a
The LAYERS of Fiction
"If you have Action and Dialogue, do you really NEED Description too?
What is the difference?"
The Layers of Fiction
"Himawari-chan, I have your lunch!"
"Here you go Himawari-chan!"
"Thank you, Watanuki-kun!"
"You are very welcome, Himawari-chan."
"I see. Of course. Thank you, Yuuko-san. Do I need to tell you what she said?"
"No! No, you don't, and I don't want to hear it! I don't need a freaking baby-sitter!"
"Yuuko thinks you do."
"That's her! Not me!"
"Are you a fortune-teller?"
"No! Of course not!"
"I'll come get you after class. I'll get the instructor to let you wait while I practice."
"What? No! I said I don't want to wait !"
"You gonna eat that?"
"Yes I am!"
"I do not, not, NOT take orders from you!"
This is "Talking Head Syndrome." There are no dialogue tags, because I don't use them.
10 Second Tip - Foreshadowing
I hear the term 'foreshadowing' a lot. That's when you hint at stuff to come, right? So yeah, but how do I DO it?
Foreshadowing is when the opening scene of a story is a kind of nutshell prophecy for the whole story.
* In a Horror, this is when the originating Bad Thing happens.
* In a Mystery or Crime story, it's when the first victim is slain, and/or object (McGuffin) goes missing.
* In a Romance this is where the main character meets their soon-to-be lover for a fleeting but memorable moment.
* In a Sci-fi, this is where the ruling Theory is presented.
* In a Gothic, this is where the main character transforms into a monster for the first time.
This also reveals the Premise, or ruling argument that the story is trying to illustrate; what the story is trying to Prove.
The results of Revenge
The path of Ambition
The reality of Love
The sacrifices one mak
High Speed STORIES
When you absolutely, positively, HAVE to get the story done.
The trick to speed-writing is to Plan the story out first, more commonly known as PLOTTING.
"Diabolic" was written in 30 days -- all 15 chapters at 2500 to 3000 words per chapter, adding up to around 80k (thousand) words. A novel is 90k to 100k. I was able to do this because I already knew my main characters really well, (Vincent and Sephiroth of Final Fantasy VII,) and I knew where my story ENDED. Basically, once I knew where I wanted to go, all I had to do was figure out how to get there.
Note: If you're interested, DIABOLIC can be found at Media Miner. The 'Search' feature is your friend!
The plot outline I used only had 5 points:
1. Beginning - The Main Character gets involved with the Villain or Lover.
2. Complications - The situation worsens.
3. Emotional Turning Point - Panic Attack! Fear and/or Guilt vs. Desperation
4. Reversal - The wor
Unstick your Plot - A guideThe Random Encounter The Guide to Moving Your Story Forward
The classical random (there's always a classic.): This is the sort you see in just about any old RPG, or RPG comic, and probably most current ones as well that person or thing you randomly meet so you can be sent off in a random direction and never have to meet them again.
Yeah, it works well enough for games I suppose but I don't recommend it in a story get around it wherever possible. One thing I saw in the Wheel of Time books (by Robert Jordan) was having the rumors and such be heard OFFSCREEN, and delivered to the characters by someone they know. You still get your information, but without the useless extra faces.
The only real reason to put in someone random is for some bit of symbolism, as a general rule, so unless you wanna get real deep or are prepared for your readers wondering if the old farmer is actually a reference to an ancient Norse God you might wanna avoid the classics.
Plots and Plot Twists.
What is a plot? A plot is a series of sequential events that make up your story. Sure, anyone could have told you that. But, how to write one? How can you make something this simple extraordinary?
Plot is comprised of 3 different parts; beginning, middle and end. Think of it this way this is how the problem started, this is how we fix it, and this is how we fixed it. Make sense? As long as you stick to this simple outline, it will be much easier for you to create your plot. Plots are also comprised of other parts; the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
The Exposition: This is the very beginning of your story in which your characters and some important themes are laid out. Describe the setting; time era, place and who the characters are. Describe to the audience just WH
Points of View, Tone, Mood and Setting.
There are many elements to keep in mind while writing your story. You think you already know everything, and you're eager to start writing, but there's more, such as Points of view, Tone, Mood and Setting.
Points of View are the narrator's position on the story being told. Okay, what on Earth does that mean? Well, to put it in simple terms, it's the point of view that allows what you can and can't see in a story. For example, in some stories, you may be able to read the character's mind, but in others, you cannot. There is a simple reason why this is There are many different points of view!
FIRST PERSON POINT OF VIEW: While writing, the narrator may refer to themselves as "I". For example: "I could hear everything they were talking about. Every word I heard them say shook me to the core and chilled my bones. I was in udder disbelief". This poin
Ultimate Story ProfileGeneral Info:
Genre (epic, fantasy, historical, romantic, action, adventure, comedy, horror, drama, etc):
Theme (meaning or dominant idea behind the story):
Synopsis (the story summed up into one or two sentences, with or without ending):
General Story Overview:
The Three Acts:
Act 1 (orientation and first problem):
Act 2 (struggling to solve problem):
Act 3 (climax and ending):
The Hero's Journey (skip this if not familiar with hero's journey):
The Ordinary World:
The Call to Adventure:
Refusal of the Call (for the reluctant hero):
Mentor (the wise old man or woman):
Crossing the First Threshold:
Tests, Allies and Enemies:
Approach to the Inmost Cave:
The Road Back:
Basics : AlignmentsYou may have noticed by now that certain chatrooms ask for you to fill out an "alignment" section for your character sheet. This isn't their sexual orientation, nor is it if they are wall-eyed or cross-eyed. It's actually their tendencies towards good or evil as well as law or chaos. DnD players will be familiar with these.
Every character follows what they think is the right thing to do, but each character has a different definition of what is right and what is wrong, as well as what they should do about it, and that is defined by their alignment. A character on the "good" alignment, for example, would think it will be right to help someone who's in danger. An evil character would think it might be best if the person didn't manage to overcome the ordeal, whereas a neutral character wouldn't mind either way. The way the character will ensure that their choices are carried out is their alignment towards law or chaos; lawful characters will usually try to stir up as little attention as t
The Amazing Dialogue GuideIf you're reading this, then chances are you will be using dialogue at some point in your story. Good for you. Dialogue is important. It should be there to save you when description doesn't work. The following are some tips for awesome dialogue.
Tip One: Know your characters.
Before anything comes out of your character's mouth, you need to have an understanding of the character as a whole. This will influence how he or she talks and interacts with others.
Some good questions to answer are:
-Where is your character from?This can mean the difference between your character calling a carbonated beverage "soda" or "pop". Your character's origin can also influence how he or she says a word ("pahk" vs. "park" or "pin" vs. "pen"). Dialect is very important. If you can, try and research speech patterns of the area where your character is from.
-What is your character's social/ educational status?This is important to know because this is the basis for your character's vocabu