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Thomas Jarington
Thomas Jarington
Posts: 210
Joined: April 8th, 2014, 10:55 am
Location: Vancouver, BC Canada
Thomas Jarington

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby Thomas Jarington » December 1st, 2014, 3:40 pm

Checkpoints... my sense of scale for obstacles to put in my character's way is haphazard at best. I mean just look at Rhork and Verin . They get tossed around like ragdolls


Legion answered the question quite well, but I'll add a bit in here around scale, as a device I use might help you visualize the size a bit better.

Now, for the Sanctum, I mostly free-write. I have a goal in mind of where the non-collaborative tale 'might' end, but for the most part, I sit down, step into the scene and write what comes to mind. Read it a couple of times out loud for major errors, then post. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but my goals are accomplished all the same.

But for projects not intended for the Sanctum, I like to visualize scale, pace & intensity like a WAVE PATTERN. You have a baseline that is 0, normal, calm, self, etc, and it expands, builds from there.

SCALE: Let's say you want to start your story with a grand, expansive description of the world effecting your character. Therefore, your starting spot on the wave would be a high positive, say a 7. Then, as you zoom in on your character, it moves toward the baseline (self). Then, as you add details to the story it grows again (such as friends, associates, enemies). As it effects your character, it drops toward the baseline.

It sets up the scale of expansion and contraction, as well as rhythm (how often you expand/contract and when). You can set the scale with gradients of scope. Say 1 is the character's family. 2 - friends. 3- city, 4- town, 5- district, 6-kingdom, etc. It has to be based upon your tale, really, and where you want to expand it TO.

PACE: you can do the exact same thing, both in frequency and intensity. Let's say that the first encounter (Obstacle) is mild, so it blips to 3. The next one is 5, maybe the final one is 9. This gives you clues into how to write it. Also, how fast do you want the action coming at you? You can set the frequency, thus giving you clues into how often action occurs in the story. Is it non-stop, in your face action? Then the waves are close together.

If you want a slower pace, one mixed with big lulls, then it can have rolling waves. Or they could spike, depending upon who you like to write action. A rolling wave builds over a period of time, while the spike shoots toward a sudden, explosive bit of action, then falls off just as sharp.

While it sounds technical, it's really a simple way to "see" your story (if you are a visual person) and keep it under control from a distance. Does the story expand too often? Dial it back and change the frequency. Is the action too intense early in the story and leave you no room for a climactic ending? Dial it down.

Using your words of obstacle's, how often do you throw them at your characters? Is it constant, or do you give them time to gather their wits? How intense is each one? Are they building, or are they all at the same level of intensity? Using the ideology of a wave can help you corral the haphazard into the structured, thus creating a pleasing flow to your stories.

That's my sound and fury, Tirien. Hope it makes sense, though it signifies nothing, really. ;)
Thomas Jarington & Co.

Julilee
Julilee
Posts: 124
Joined: August 24th, 2014, 2:13 pm
Julilee

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby Julilee » December 2nd, 2014, 5:00 pm

Julilee wrote:The tone and style when you're writing from one character's perspective is important – but so is their actual perspective. That is, you have to keep in mind not only what the character's personality is like, but how they feel and how they perceive the world. Consider things like:

– Are they very observant or not so much? Do they notice a lot of details; do they have a hard time reading other people? Don't include things the character wouldn't consciously notice or deem important. The importance of this cannot be overstated. It is jarring and confusing to the reader if you are telling them things the character wouldn't know only sometimes. Either limit the scope of description to what the character perceives, or walk back how deeply you're letting the character's tone inflect your storytelling. You can't have it both ways.

– What is their reaction to what's going on? What aren't they telling or showing the people around them? The way they describe things can be an insight when they are choosing words and actions to convey a certain impression to those around them. You can also straight up take advantage of the opportunity to share your character's inner monologue which other characters may not be aware of.


I wrote an exercise to illustrate what I was talking about here. Mostly for my own amusement, but if anyone else is interested in an example, or wants to try their own hand at it, here's my post (feel free to reply to the thread with your own "interviews"): viewtopic.php?f=11&t=272
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Tirien
Tirien
Posts: 157
Joined: March 23rd, 2014, 4:51 pm
Tirien

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby Tirien » December 2nd, 2014, 5:31 pm

Julilee wrote:I wrote an exercise to illustrate what I was talking about here. Mostly for my own amusement, but if anyone else is interested in an example, or wants to try their own hand at it, here's my post (feel free to reply to the thread with your own "interviews"): viewtopic.php?f=11&t=272



Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. *loads Microsoft Word* Tirien and Verin get to have a little chat...

Also Julilee, that was incredibly enlightening. As I said earlier, I learn best by example, so thank you for that!
polartech.deviantart.com

Julilee
Julilee
Posts: 124
Joined: August 24th, 2014, 2:13 pm
Julilee

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby Julilee » December 2nd, 2014, 5:45 pm

Glad it was helpful! :D Looking forward to seeing your characters' different perspectives for their chat!
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Vincent Moryarti
Vincent Moryarti
Posts: 32
Joined: October 14th, 2014, 1:52 am
Vincent Moryarti

Re: Looking for Tips

Postby Vincent Moryarti » December 3rd, 2014, 3:37 am

For interesting insights into your character, have a friend interview YOU as if you were the character. Think Oprah style of questioning. Example:

I was stuck around the deep-seeded motivation of my antagonist in a project I am working on. So, while discussing the challenge with a coaching colleague, she wondered what it would be like to interview the villain himself, see what motivated him. As coaches, we often use perceptual shifts with clients to help them see things "as if they were", so it made perfect sense to try it in this case.

So we did. I stepped into the role and she asked the questions, as if I were the villain in my project. We sat in chairs, facing one another like Oprah might do with any of her guests. AND, I recorded it. Thank the Light, as the stuff that poured out of me was down right villainous, but very real. I KNEW what drove him, where his motivation came from, why he was doing what he was doing. And more important, I felt it.

She said the change was sudden, and the nice friendly person across from her, suddenly transformed into an intimidating, powerful and forceful figure who made her feel like she would be crushed should she ask the wrong question. I sat like I imagined he would sit, I talked in a tone that I imagined he would use, I looked at her like my villain would. Quite an interesting experience. Even more so to hear it played back! ::shudder::

"Those who dare to delve into the depths of the written word, are just steps away from madness." - Thom Jarington

And this speaks to perspective. If our main characters are "good" guys, and we also write about "bad" guys, it helps to see things from their point of view. Based upon the interview, my antagonist believes, 100% in what he is doing - seeing it as right, helpful for the people, etc. No matter what society thinks of him, the changes he's inflicting upon the world are positive in his mind, and therefore righteous.

Give it a shot with a friend sometime. You'll learn some cool thing about your character that you never knew.

Cheers

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