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Author Topic: Where do you all begin?  (Read 3135 times)

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Offline operationremie

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Where do you all begin?
« on: April 14, 2010, 07:34:12 AM »
Since I'm having such a hard time figure this out, I'd like to know what all of you guys think of the subject: where do you/did you begin when you were first writing the storyline?

Offline TTallan

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Re: Where do you all begin?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2010, 09:33:09 AM »
As you can probably imagine, there is no one answer to this, but here's my advice: just begin anywhere. The hardest thing, and the most important thing, is just to start. You can (and should) always go back and edit your writing later, after you've finished the first draft of your storyline.

Some general advice is to start in the middle of something exciting or mysterious, something to hook the readers. I don't know what sort of story you're telling, but if it's one of those where you want to begin with a bit of exposition to set the scene in your fantasy world, then skip it and let the readers discover that information as the story goes on.

But the key thing is to do it, to commit something to paper. You can only get better from there.  :)

Offline Rob

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Re: Where do you all begin?
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2010, 10:04:33 AM »
I can't draw so when it comes to webcomics I always start with an outline.

When we started Remedy I actually gave the people I was working with 4 different comic choices; or four different outlines if you prefer.

They unanimously chose Remedy (I was leaning that way myself despite my affection for several of th e other tales).

The outlines are usually just three or four paragraphs describing the main characters and the main theme of the comic with a bit of discussion related to what kind of comic it will be (comedy, action, fantasy, and so on).

Once that was done And the decision made then I spend a lot of time thinking about my main characters. I write the profiles that give not only a physical and historical description but also an emotional tendency.

Once I have my characters created I take my outline and I think about the story long term. This where new story arcs and characters and themes that never occurred to you before tend to come up. This is the Bible and it becomes a living, changing document that guides the storyline for... well in my case years worth of comics.

Then from there I fill in any character profiles I need to add and start writing comics. If a story line occurs to me that isn't in the bible I'll pull out the bible and see if I can fit it in without futzing the timeline or making circumstances too convoluted. If I can... in it goes and a new version of the Bible is born.

That's my process. Patent pending.  ;D

Offline Gibson

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Re: Where do you all begin?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2010, 11:13:15 AM »
This might sound glib, but it's not. I start at the beginning. What I mean is I figure out where I want the story to start and I write a quick scene or series of scenes or ideas or what have you. Then I write the ending, which is something I think everyone should do with everything they do. Knowing where you're going will help you get there. After that, I'll usually write disconnected scenes all over the place and make ridiculous amounts of notes. Depending on the length and complexity of the story, I've even gone so far as to write out in meticulous detail every plot point I can think of on its own index card and then sort them chronologically later.

I've actually written a lengthy article on the various steps in the writing process that Rob's been posting on the main page and archiving in the Discuss Feature Articles board on the forum. It seems to help a lot of people who're new to writing in long form. The first article is here.

Offline operationremie

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Re: Where do you all begin?
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2010, 12:04:50 PM »
thanks you guys! that's a lot of help.

and gibson, i actually did read that and it helped me a lot!

Offline JGray

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Re: Where do you all begin?
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2010, 01:21:13 PM »
For me, I start with ideas. I brainstorm as I'm walking along or going to sleep or taking a shower. Come up with a bunch of ideas. Then I let them grow in the back of my head. Put them away, revisit them in a day or two and see what happened.

Once I have a basic concept down, I go further. I start from the point of view of character growth. What do I want to happen to the characters. How do I want them to change and grow. For me, any story is first and foremost about the characters and plot should be approached from the viewpoint of how it moves them through the story.

Then I do a roadmap. Roughly, where do we start. Roughly, where do we end. what points do we want to hit along the way? Only then do I really think about the beginning of the story. What tone do I want to set? What characters do I want to introduce? What do I want the reader to get right off the bat, what do I want to tease them with?

The first page of Mysteries of the Arcana, for example, starts with a photo scrap book being burned. There are four pictures. One shows a little girl on her daddy's shoulders. Another shows the same girl, older, being taught to shoot by her dad. The third shows the same girl, much older, hugging her dad goodbye. He's in a military uniform and there's a bus in the background. The last shows her accepting a flag from an officer at a military funeral. There's a text box reading: I didn't leave a note.

I wanted that first page to tell a story. I wanted the first page to give a good, solid introduction to the character. Readers get a quick snapshot of her life story, though not all of it, and they hear her voice as she says she didn't leave a note. That, combined with burning the book sort of should suggest either running away or suicide right off the bat.

The story moves from there. I show her walking through the tunnel in the equivalent of the opening credits of the movie. Narration over setting shots to establish the initial tone. Dark. Damp. Somewhat depressing. First person narration so the reader can more quickly identify with the character, who will serve as their point of view character. As she learns about the strange multiverse the story takes place in, the readers do.

Then BAM! Elf fighting robot. The first pages were about the character, Theresa. We learn about her, learn she's going to kill herself. Learn she's thought a fair amount about it and wants to do it right. Then we end her narration with her wanting to die with that shot. Elf and robot fighting. We introduce the fact that this world has magic and super science. Just like she's thrust into something strange that derails her suicide plans, the reader is thrust into something strange as well.

By the way, I want to emphasis the importance of research. In this case, I read a lot about suicide and teens, especially teen girls. That research was folded into the narration. Girls usually choose less physically violent methods of suicide. Boys usually pick more violent (and often much more succesful) methods. I made sure to point out that Theresa wasn't going to use gentle methods. No pills. No razor blades. She knew those didn't work as often as a bullet did. Just like Theresa's hair and clothes, her chosen method for killing herself was designed to show her tomboy nature.

Offline AndToBeLoved

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Re: Where do you all begin?
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2012, 11:26:11 PM »
One I have some sort of a story in mind, I make a "brainstorm" page in which I write down any plot/dialogue/character ideas that come to mind. Anything that I think will go with the story, really. After that, I sometimes write numbers by each of these bullet points in the order they should happen. Then again, sometimes I have no outline at all and just go with the flow. It varies. The most important thing, though, is to not get so wrapped up in the little details of the story that you don't begin. There's a quote that I try to live by that goes something like this: "If you wait until everything is perfect, you'll never start."

Offline GroovyKinda

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Re: Where do you all begin?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2012, 09:13:36 PM »
Groovy, Kinda started when I was working on another comic with a friend. I really can't draw stuff I haven't written, so, when it finally collapsed I had a new character that I loved, and one obscure character that hadn't even appeared in one full strip. So I chose her to be the lead female in the new strip. Go figure.
Then I had a bunch of characters from earlier strips and books, and once I decided on who she would be with-and it was the least likely character in the books-the whole thing jelled.

When I write existing strips, I usually figure out what needs to be said, or sit and think about what actually happens. Then I rough pencil it all out in my sketchbook, so I can get an idea of how it'll look and flow. Then, I rewrite it until it works, then draw it and sometimes rewrite it even while I'm doing that.

Offline Elizabeth_Bryant

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Re: Where do you all begin?
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2014, 06:35:47 AM »
For professional writing I begin with idea generation exercises like visiting a crowded or peaceful place, taking a 360 degree turn and listing every passing though that crosses my mind. And as far as personal writing is concern, every single thought is personal and close (nothing is more silly then doubting your own ideas).

These is what I follow  :)