Sunday, September 12, 2010

Preparing for the "First Date"

 There are some great blog posts out there that compare writing a book to dating. But what about before the dating? The getting to know someone before you go on an actual date? In other words, the preparations you do before you even write a single word down.

I've got some great betas who do certain things before (and during) their writing to keep them on track. Strangely enough, one tackles the plot and the other tackles the character. :) Guess they covered everything so I don't even need to continue, but I will anyway. lol

Meadow's Storyboarding
Shayda's Character Questions

I generally do the same whenever I start a new story. But this time I decided to try something a bit different. To start off, I have a confession to make. I love anime :) But I especially love the process of how it gets dubbed and the voice actors' auditions. One thing they do for their audition is leaf through a binder full of sheets of paper called character sides (correct me if I'm wrong) to decide who they want to audition for. And each sheet had the character's picture and a brief description of them as well as some lines from the anime.

So I thought "Hmm, that's interesting." And since I'm a very visual person, it'll probably work very well for me. For my new project, that will be dubbed ADMITTANCE, I made a kind of character sheet for each of my characters so far with basic information, history, and personality traits. I haven't started writing yet so I don't know if it works but it sure is fun to do! I'll keep you posted on whether it made a difference!

(10 points to the first person who can name all the actors xD I'll give you a head start, the gorgeous creature on the bottom left is Ed Westwick who will be protraying Adrian Blaine)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What comes first? The Characters or the Plot?

The age old question. Or at least the writer's version of it. What comes first? The characters or the plot?

I used to think either. After all, I've had several stories that either came to me first as a plot or as a character. Then I started to see a pattern. All my finished stories came from the plot ideas while the character ideas sorta float around after a few chapters before getting thrown on the shelf. Not to say that ALL of my plot ideas were carried out. Oh heck no, not even close. But so fair it's plot: 3 characters: 0. The numbers don't lie. (Despite what I say about my credit card bill)

Even my oh so wonderful myth idea I wrote about in just the last post is a prime example. These are the characters that hounded my dreams. (And since one of the MC's looks like Kevin Zegers, I didn't quite mind THAT so much) But when I actually sat down to write the beginning or even write the outline, I realized my mind was blank. I mean, I knew everything about my characters. How they looked, acted, their secrets, how they met each other, their history, etc. But I didn't know anything else. I didn't have a major plot for them. And it refused to come to me. Just the other night I was sitting there staring at graphics of the characters and yelling "What happens to you?!?"

They didn't actually answer or not I'd be pulled away in a strait jacket right now and having to learn to type with my toes.

Of course, I know that every story needs both great memorable characters and an exciting plot. But I'm talking about the very first thought you had about your story. Is it the character or the plot that came up first?

My answer would have to be the plot comes first. What about you guys? What comes first for you?