• Member Since 15th Sep, 2013
  • offline last seen Jul 30th, 2016

spigo


Reader, writer, and roguelike enthusiast. Oh, and he thinks he's funny.

"I also got started on jumping. My first jump was off by a factor of 100, so I flew against a cliff and blew apart. I'm still working on it." –Toady One (Tarn Adams), Dwarf Fortress dev logs

Mar
30th
2014

The Author Shudders and Begins to Write · 5:58pm Mar 30th, 2014

After a few months of off-and-on writing, I've got something to show. I'm done the first draft of one fic and second draft of another. They're going to see a certain amount of rewriting and editing before they're done, but the basic ideas are there. As I'm not on a deadline this time (probably also why it took four months), I'm planning to give them extra attention — fancy things like editing that takes place more than ten seconds before publishing, and which goes deeper than "does this mostly

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Report spigo · 219 views · Story: Vital to the Crown ·

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So now you follow me. Terrible timing, though. I hit my peak six months ago and since then it's been nothing but a downward slide. Enjoy the fall! :yay:

Thank you for the fav!

1503872
Alright, then. Thanks for taking the time to go into so much detail — I really hadn't expected that much. Thanks. I appreciate it, and I'll have to try some of that soonish.

1502519
I would actually advise starting at the scene level. Most of the meat of character-centric planning is focused on making sure you always have sufficient material and conflict to feed your characters and keep your story going. If you do not get used to letting characters throw their weight around at the scene level, it is hard to get a feel for all the ways they might impact your story on a larger scale.

Grab two characters, set up a slice of life situation that leads them to butt heads but could easily be resolved in one scene. Before you write, figure out what each character's action is, list off the top 3 or so props/ aspects of the setting they might find useful, for your own reference, and then start writing without choosing a winner ahead of time. Don't edit. Don't worry about internal consistency. Just let each character do the first thing that pops into your head that they could do to get closer to their goal. When someone manages to get what they want, bring the scene to a close. If you end up with an interesting idea, go back and clean it up to your satisfaction. If not, give it a once over, decide what ONE thing went wrong and try a new quick scene (possibly the same setup) with an eye to avoid that particular error.

For these single-scene oneshots, pay attention to how your characters turn their goal into action. Also pay attention for when they have gotten what they want and train yourself to spot exactly when it happens. This is crucial for keeping your story from meandering. If you know what your characters are doing, have a sense for how they turn their goal into action, and know when they have done what they wanted, you have everything you need to keep them on-topic.

If you feel comfortable with that, try a few 2-3 scene experiments. Start as before, but try to make the problem big enough for your characters to have a through action that spans multiple scenes while not needing an epic to sort it all out. Again, no need to edit or fuss over getting it perfect. If it doesn't pan out, squish it and start again. If you only manage to get one scene out of the idea, that's fine too - just try to make the next premise a little bigger.

With these longer attempts, get used to letting the characters push the story along from scene to scene. Train yourself to ask "what are my characters working towards, and what is the thing that makes the most sense for them to do next to get closer to that goal?" If you have an antagonist, make sure to ask that question for them as well. As much as possible, try to shift the focus of your planning to setting up an interesting situation and goals for your characters to sort out rather than explicitly deciding what is going to happen. Think present facts, not future events. Especially focus on when you run out of ideas or throw out swaths of setup that never became relevant, as these are indicators that you need to establish a bit more material for yourself in one area or less in another, which will help you be a more efficient planner in general.

If you can do those two things, and you are an otherwise competent writer, you should be well on your way towards character-focused plotting.

1500655
Quite welcome. I've found your blogs on writing very helpful, and I've been checking your page for new ones anyway, so I thought, “why not?”

Incidentally, I have a question. I'm used to a bit more rigid style of planning, but lately I've been trying a more character-centric approach lately given how fragile the former kind of plan tends to be. Still, I'm having a bit of trouble letting the characters make their own decisions and so on. So my question is this: what would you recommend to a railroading sort of author to get into the spirit of character-driven planning/writing?

Thank you kindly for the follow:twilightsmile:

880601
Welcome. I like how Pinkie was so prepared that she even had the plaque ready for his reanimation.

Thanks for the fave on Failure of a Funeral! :twilightsmile:

878927
I'm not sure whether or not to thank you for the story.

Just kidding. I like it. I like every emotionally abusive moment of it, although the start was a bit rocky. I also don't think I've ever read a fic that made me hate Twilight before. Nice job.

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