Is namhaid an cheird gan í a fhoghlaim.
The craft is an enemy when not learned.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

[ANAH] Weeks 7 & 8: Redux

This is my character sketch of Bianca, James' older child. She's six years old, slightly conflicted about herself at the moment. She wants to be like dad but knows she can't be, so she's a bit of a rebellious version of her father. She's definitely the rough-and-tumble kid in the family.

Bianca vaguely remembers a life before James and it wasn't a happy time for her. She's distraught at the loss of her first nanny, though she understood that it wasn't a forever-thing, and isn't too sure how she's going to feel about a boy-nanny coming into the house. Time will tell.

The Lesson So Far: Don't make Dianne do a character sketch, then bring up a new idea. Also, I did the last sketch more in my character-builder style and I have yet another, more complex, way of doing them that I still like better. That's kind of a "collage" of scenes of the character, anywhere from a sentence to a paragraph.  This is a good start, though, and easy to add to a character glossary type collection of notes.

[Dianne] Weeks 7-8: Creating a Character Sketch

Last week, I posted Nico's character sketch and Anah posted one for James. This week, we're doing the kids. Vali and Bianca are James's adopted children. I did the character sketch for Vali (below) and Anah will be by later with a character sketch for Bianca.

Vali is a precocious four-year-old boy with a deep-seated need to have everything the "right way." He wants to be just like his daddy, and he sees how important getting it "right" is to James, so he wants that for himself, too. In a four-year-old, this can be somewhat complicated by emotional and physical development, and that definitely came through for me while I worked on his character sketch.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

[ANAH] Weeks 7 & 8: Creating a Character Sketch

I really enjoyed this. I like this part of character creation. I think this says a lot about who a person is and what they value about themselves.

James is a young businessman of Asian-American heritage who values his appearance, his reputation, and the illusion of being completely "together" at all times. That absolutely shows in his grooming and his style. He knows that his love of grooming could be considered "unmanly" but he excuses it by saying that showing competency and attention to detail in his person subconsciously convinces investors that they can trust him.

[Dianne] Weeks 7-8: Creating a Character Sketch

This week, we're writing character sketches for our novel. There's a pretty specific list of characteristics we had to identify. The idea is that we'll get to know our characters' physical attributes and the physical representations of their personalities.

I did a character sketch for Nico, one of the two main characters. You can see it here:

You can see that I really focused on showing his personality in his physical attributes. His casual attitude shows in the clothes he wears, something I expect to be contrasted with James' clothing choices. His earrings are a clue to impulsive nature, and his open pose hints at his honesty. Every choice I made for this sketch was meant to show something important about the character.

Later today, Anah will be along with her character sketch of James. I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weeks 5 & 6 Redux: Spinning Down the Page

This weekend, Dianne and I did the "spinning" exercise in a Google document that allowed us to edit the same piece simultaneously. Once you get over the weirdness of writing in front of someone, joint writing like this is really very efficient. This exercise was surprisingly fun and surprisingly long.

For your viewing pleasure, Dianne 'filmed' the process and you can view it here:

The text itself is available after the jump.

We decided to alternate every two lines, allowing each of us to work off what the other had done before taking a tack of our own. I've found these exercises to be helpful in the past for my personal use as a warm up and a kind of tuning process. Done jointly, it was equally helpful (from my perspective) to let us exercise being in tune with each other.

The story so far: Anah and Dianne don't know nearly enough about video editing, but they are pretty good spellers. They can finish each others' sentences with relative alacrity and can spin a pretty good yarn.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

[DIANNE] Weeks 5-6: Spinning Your Novel Down the Page

There are two ways that The Weekend Novelist suggests doing the "writing down the page" exercise.

Image and Action is one—you write down an image, then a related action.

Action: Nico takes his seat in the office.
Image: Tattoos peeking out from beneath dress clothes.

The other is Ripping Down the Page—you simply tell the story, but without worrying about punctuation or sentence structure. There's no editor here. Line breaks come in the middle of the page, to keep the focus on the story rather than 'how to write'.

Nico is a Cinderella boy, burnt out on saving lives, wants to
help people some other way. Lives with his mother, good
woman, but he needs a home of his own. Nanny job seems like
the answer, at least for now.

Anah has already tested the Image and Action method and has decided it is Not For Her, as sometimes happens. I think it might work well for evoking images for specific scenes, but in my experience, I need more of a whole-story approach to get me through.

Now that Google Docs supports editing via iPhone/iPod Touch, we've started writing our next novel in a Google Doc. We discovered that we can write simultaneously—and we like it.

...and then we realized it would be perfect for this exercise.

I figured out how to record my screen, so next week, you'll actually get to watch us do the exercise.