Tuesday, April 14, 2009

100 DATES The Writing Process

When I wrote the 12 stories for 'The Neon Chicken and the Rubber Duck' I pre-determined the structure of the content and knew there would be much repetition in pace of the stories and the visual appearance. It was very simple to review and revise during the writing process. I think I came up with very strong stories to suit these two contrasting characters. However I wanted a new challenge. Along came 100 DATES.

For 100 DATES and the 2 new stories I am currently writing I have developed a more complex method of keeping track of all the characters and the mutiple story arcs. 100 DATES runs for 12 issues and each issue is 24 pages long, 288 pages in total. I had to make sure that the pace and content of the story would grip the reader and encourage them to 'find out what happens next'. I developed a cast list and the plot structure for the 12 separate issues.

For the Dramatis Personae (cast list) I used a table system and produced one for the main characters and one for supporting characters. I was quite happy to let incidental characters write themselves e.g. in Issue 11 the Station Announcer at Moorgate Tube Station.

My table has 5 headed columns
1. Name/s
2. Description
3. Employment
4. History
5. Plot Impact

These 5 columns allowed me to build quite sophisticated human beings and actually helped to suggest what should happen in the story and how the dialogue might sound. I will be reviewing this technique and using it for all my future stories.

For plot structure I again used a table system and produced a table for each indiviual issue. I gave each issue a title e.g. issue 8 'AUGUST 2010 (Moon River)'. These plots allowed me to range across the story in a relaxed manner and ensured that all the action that had to happen was paced appropriately and that all the characters were utilised in the way I intended. Put simply I was able to keep a grip on the project.

The table has 3 headed columns
1. Page Number
2. Action/Activity
3. Dialogue

These 3 columns allowed me to include complicated story arcs, more red herrings than a fish market and to allow the characters to act in a naturalistic way. I will be reviewing this technique and using it for all my future stories.

I have found this period very rewarding and have handed the completed scripts over to my illustrator collaborator Caroline Thomson for the character and scene setting artworks.

I will post these once they are completed.

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