Two nights ago I took a small section of the story that I had roughly outlined it my head. It consists of a flashback to a key event in the main protagonist’s childhood that is very significant for him. In bed I simply told myself the story. No paper, no pen or pencil, no software. Just my inner voice. As the story unraveled from its outline bud into a new leaf I was pleasantly surprised by some of the imagery and metaphors that cropped up. The scene is quite a tragic scene and I decided it worked best – naturally – in the first person as a recollection. This gave a more powerful combination of outward description and inner voice so that the audience (me) was getting bombarded with input from all sides aimed at eliciting the right emotions.
Yesterday I decided to write the segment up as a short piece – around 2,000 words. This was purely an exercise. I wanted to just throw it down into written format without too much criticism. There was no attempt to redraft at this stage. Just to give my story element on-screen ‘flesh’. After about an hour I sat looking at it in black and white on the computer screen before me. I haven’t even read it yet. I wanted to sleep on it first. Besides, that was not the point of the exercise. Leonardo da Vinci once said that the most terrifying thing was a blank piece of paper and he was right. I needed to know that I could overcome that barrier and write something – anything creative.
I will go back and check it through as a first draft should be checked. If I am honest, should I end up scrapping it all it would not matter. The task of writing was the target here. However, I doubt that will happen. the scene is critical and there are at least some parts of what I wrote down that I like enough to want to keep in some form or another.
I also found that my characters drove the story along. There were some emotional moments where I almost just watched what they did and described it rather than make them do it. All in all I was happy with my first ‘plunge’ and would have no problem getting in the water again.
Okay, so today I felt that I needed to ‘get my hands dirty’ so to speak and begin to use Scrivener properly for the first time.I booted up the program and began with the character section because I have had two characters in mind for some time now. They are both protagonists and will work together in the roles of mentor and student.
I then went to google and ran a search of all likely characters to be given a massive range of images from which to chose from. I did not really want a complete image of my characters but rather pictures that would illustrate an aspect of their appearance. After a fruitful harvesting of images I then began to narrow them down to about three and load them into the research section of Scrivener, taking care to label each carefully i.e. protagonist 1’s hood and cloak. or hairstyle.. I even happened across a perfect setting picture of a forest which I imported and used as my desktop wallpaper too by way of inspiration.
Next I began to flesh out the two protagonists in my character section, adding their pictures and details about them, all suggested by Scrivener. Soon I was finding myself being drawn into the character’s backstory. An immediate consequence of this was that some initial, rough ideas could be thrown away at once as the characters would not relate in that way due to their backgrounds and manner. As a newbie writer it was exciting to feel a character begin to show signs of life in this way. It is certainly a moment I will not forget.
The end result was that my secondary protagonist, the mentor, had a much richer backstory and so was the stronger, more believable character. The main protagonist looked two-dimensional in contrast until I happened across a third character, now dead. As soon as I realised this character needde to have existed in protagonist 1’s life, I found a whole new backstory begin to emerge, each jigsaw piece posing questions that lead to further depth and more questions.
The final piece of work I did today was to import my setting picture into the settings section and flesh it out with some ideas, with particular reference to Protagonist 2 whose environment it is. Next I want to look at the antagonist and her main setting. I know that when I do, there will be alterations needed to the work done today and that is easy to do with Scrivener.
In fact, throughout all of today’s work, I found Scrivener clean and efficient. Now I can’t wait for tomorrow.
- Strong Character Development (beinganauthor.wordpress.com)
For as long as I can remember stories have always held a fascination for me. When I became a teacher I found that, although my memory was often far from perfect and I could be absent-minded to Olympic standard, I could always remember a story in quite exacting detail. I enjoy the more personal telling of a story rather than the reading of one where appropriate. But I think it was when I started to embellish those stories I told with details of my own that I began to entertain the idea that one day I may write. To me, that was the sort of amazing idea that could only be kept on a top shelf to collect dust. Now and then I would stumble upon it and smile. The idea always made me smile as a pleasant but fantastical notion.
Now, as my circumstances are about to change I have the chance to re-evaluate aspects of my life and what I want to do with it. In doing so I find myself returning again and again to that shelf and taking down this idea of me as a writer. I am beginning to ask myself if it might not be possible. Why not write? After all, I am not writing to be on some bestseller list or to make pots of money. Both would be great, of course, but they are not what is driving me to return daily to that shelf.
It is simple the desire to write.
Of course I realise that there is a great deal more to writing professionally than just the desire to write. However that must surely be the foundation stone. In order to record and help clarify my thoughts and ideas, I have set up this blog to set down my journey.
So please accept this invitation to follow me. Feel free to offer suggestions and comment.