Monday, October 11, 2010

Developing a Story

My first short story is going along pretty well, I haven't finished the first draft but I'm advancing at a pretty steady pace and close to that goal. What I want to share with you today is the creative process I've developed as I find my way in this career; I'd also loved it if you shared yours with me, as it might inspire me to tune mine even further.

When I began with the novel, as I posted in a previous entry, I didn't know quite well how to tackle the process of creating an interesting plot and appealing characters; I thought I could start writing and everything would fall in place as I told the story. Truth be told, it is nearly impossible to tell a compelling story when all you got is bits of pieces of it; so, after my first total failure I started writing down my ideas; and I mean pen and paper, no computer. My mind works better when I put in paper everything, weather I'm developing my newest novel hero or making a grocery list; there's something about doing it the old way that makes it more graphic and clearer in my mind.

I realized that the characters I had found the most interesting as a reader were those going through an ordeal, those who are overcoming adversity in some way; for example, if there were no animosity between the families, Romeo and Juliet wouldn't be a memorable story; had it not been for the fact that he is a vampire and she is a human, Twilight would be just another teen book. In order to make a story interesting, you have to make it complicated... at least in romance.

First I came with the outline of the novel, the main characters, their state of mind at the beginning of the story, their motivations and the complications they'd have to conquer. I'm telling a family story too, so, I also had to create a family tree, a background to it, and the interactions between them. Since I'm planning a series of books, my characters will have to mature as time goes on and I risked making them illogical as I needed them to do something; my way of avoiding this was to create a "Script", one for each important character, where I describe their personality; that way I have somewhere to look when I need to find someone with the right attitude or motivation to react in a particular way.

Finally, I imagine new plots and characters, but places and the details of them come harder to me; so I went to the internet and looked through tons of pictures of houses and landscapes until I found those where I could picture the events of the novel.

The whole process took like three weeks and was tedious at times but, once I went back to the writing, it proved to be worth it and I'm sure to repeat it in the future; as I did with the short story. I'm also sure that as I know better what I need in order to create a more rounded story, my research will be more limited to what I'll really use and shorter in time.

Next time I hope I'll be telling you all about my research into the most rewarding conclusion for anyone in this career, publishing. I'm already looking for magazines interested in new writers, since I'm about to finish that cherished first work. I'll tell you all about it next time.

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