Archive | April 2012

Script Frenzy 2012: Finish lines, editing, and things I’m doing instead of working on that

Page count: 90 pages

It’s been two weeks since my last post already? I was planning on doing an update at the end of each week for Screnzy, but I got a bit sick around posting time and wasn’t able to muster up the inspiration to update. Honestly, I’m still not feeling my best right now, but I’m here, so why not try to get the ball rolling and start a post? I suppose, first thing’s first, it’s time for an update on my Script Frenzy project.

For the most part, my first rough draft for my script is complete. It’s a mass of scribbles, side-notes, and often, very misread-able chicken scratch (even misread-able by the person who wrote it – I misread someone laughing at someone’s action as someone laughing at someone’s erection). I finished it up around the late 50’s-early 60’s in terms of page count, and since a majority of it is being completely re-written as I re-type it, I decided to be a bit of a cheater and count it in my screnzy page count. While this does count as editing, it’s also re-writing a lot and typing it all out, adding and taking scenes away, and the counter going up can sometimes keep me motivated to keep going. I won’t be an official winner, but I got my goal of writing a script done, and I’m keeping motivated for the final drafting stages.

Of course, I’ve been having a little bit of trouble keeping to working on it a little bit every day. I’ve been keeping myself entertained productively with a lot of other things – in terms of this project, settling on character designs, messing with the designs in different poses to see if they fit the character and I like working with them, practicing my digital painting skills, and namely a lot of things involving my little project-devoted sketchbook and my tablet.

On the other hand, I’ve also been devoting a little bit of time every few days to a mini-comic I’ve been doing to relax and have fun, for the entertainment of my friend’s and I, rather than sitting down and forcing my hands to the keyboard when I don’t feel up to it. It’s definitely not something I’m pouring as much devotion as my main project into, and I’m going for a sloppy, fun look to it, something obviously quick but still with a lot of work into it, something that I’m doing quick and for fun but still making sure I’m satisfied with for the style before I consider it finished. I think this is essential to my improvement as well – learning to make things quick and keep things fun every now and then, and trying not to lose sight in that working on these things are what I’m supposed to enjoy, not force myself to do 24/7.

And then there are other things I should be doing – work, reading Dracula, and posting on this blog. I’m fairly sure I can put those things into my weeks at least a little bit without messing anything up too bad, but I’ve also been staying up quite late these days and adjusting to that sleep schedule when I should really try to be fixing it to something more up-in-the-mornings-and-days focused until I’m done with my work. I’m really trying to settle into being more productive, but I’m slipping up a lot, especially with holidays and sickness. My recovery from other things, however, relies a lot on productivity and satisfaction with the amount of things I get done, so I’m going to have to try a bit harder.

If that means forcing myself to start a scene or two in editing and to plan a brief idea for another script, trying to watch a little less of the original Dark Shadows and get things done instead, and trying to fit all of this into an odd sleep schedule or fixing my sleep schedule to something different, so be it.

Expect some posts on editing, rewriting, and the like in the coming months, probably, since that’s what I’m currently doing with my writing, myself. I’d prefer to focus on things that I’m currently working on to keep myself in that mindset when it comes to writing these posts. Hopefully, there’ll be some more posts about my project in particular, inspiration, and eventually some to finish up my posts on character creation. We’ll see, though. As I said – I’m still adjusting.

If you’re participating in Script Frenzy, are you going to be hitting 100 pages this month or not, and how has your experience been? If you’re not in the Frenzy this year, what types of things have you been working on and how is that going? And for all of you – what types of things do you end up doing instead of working on your ‘projects’?

Script Frenzy 2012, week two: The inner editor, nightmares, and exploring the project

Page count: 50 pages and counting

I’ve seen a lot of talk about week two, what it seems to do to people. A slow of inspiration, loss of confidence in their skills to see it through to the end… but this past week, for me, it’s still been flowing finely. I’ve been able to get quite a few pages more than usual in per day on the good ones, and I’ve gotten myself a bit ahead. My work has gone to a sort of slow, however, and I’ve been putting myself on 3 pages per day, usually right around night time. My inner editor has started trying to force it’s way through, and there’s that little barrier I broke down at the beginning building itself up again, a little barrier in my head that gives me doubts. One that fights the risks of taking on a project and leaves the door unlocked for the inner editor to come around a little too early for my tastes.

I had a nightmare last night, something horrible and terrifying. I spent a good deal of the morning looking up almost everything I could remember about it in a dream dictionary, each and every little detail I could find, and while I’m not one for dream analyzing, the terror from it was enough to get me to. I found that most of the details were involved with a positive change in life, a fear of not being good enough, things that seem to line up with an amazing change in my life that has come with Script Frenzy: writing more and writing regularly, which has inspired a lot of positive change. Recovery from something I’ve been experiencing for years, long enough for me to wonder how I’ll live when it’s gone, and I guess it is kind of scary thinking about it, although it feels marvelous. Most of the meanings I found lined up with how I’m feeling, the way life has been going, and some of the other things are quite personal, so while I won’t detail them here, they did line up correctly as well, which may have just been an odd coincidence.

The dream resembled nightmares I had often when I was very young, the main difference being my age in it and the fact that it ended with the words “32 PAGES UNTIL DEATH” on my computer screen. I’ve always had a fear of never finishing projects, and since I was little, I’ve had a bad habit of abandoning them. I’m thinking my subconscious is a little wary of my love for the project I’ve been working on this month, something I’ve been trying to build up in my head since around Thanksgiving. I’m balancing my life with it well, and while I do run into little bumps of stress on this road, I’m very confident in this project and I know I will finish it. I have a lot of faith in it, but I’m becoming doubtful of it as always, and this doubt was fairly specifically last night before I went to bed. Hopefully, Script Frenzy 2012 will help me through these problems I have and help me become a better writer, script or not.

While I’ll have to get to work and prove to myself that I can do this, the script has been going well. I’m getting to know my characters and the way they act more, experimenting with how they react to different things, basically learning more and more about them each page and (hopefully) breathing more life into them as I go. They’re each developing their own senses of humor, their own ways of responding to stress and irritation, some even gaining their own ways of wording things before the process of going back and re-wording their dialogue to fit their speaking styles. I’ve found that one of them used to write what they refer to as marvelous stories, and another has it in their nature to worry and dote over others. My antagonist’s plans are being set into motion, and the main characters are learning more about what other things that aren’t quite natural could be lurking in the forests around them.

I’m having a blast exploring my world, getting to know my characters, figuring out the little details of the story as I go. Winging it comes with a lot of doubt sometimes, but it brings freedom, too. I’m definitely going to try to do more of this, maybe combined with a wee bit more planning on what the actual stories will be about next time, and I’ll hopefully be trying more and more new techniques to see how things work out. Soon, I’m going to be buying something to keep all of my visual records for the story in – character and setting designs, drawings that will create the foundings of this world I’m creating, the visuals that will hopefully help me bring my story to something more than a writer and artist’s distant dream.

I’m absolutely loving Script Frenzy 2012, my first participation in the event, despite the bumps in the road! How is everyone else participating holding up? If you’re not participating in Script Frenzy, are you working on something else – if so, what is it?

Script Frenzy 2012, week one: Inspiration, misbehaving characters, and self-sailing

Page Count: 19 pages and counting

The first week of April is coming to a close now, and I’m still pretty confident. My script is a bubbling pile of inspiration, covered in scribbles and doodles, filled with scenes that I need to re-arrange and slim down, and the beauty of it is, I don’t really mind right now. I’m having loads of fun, and just getting the plot down in all of it’s winging-it glory. I’m battling my inner editor and whacking it over the head with a stick, but I’m repressing it enough to not go back, scribble all over things and rewrite them in white-out pens over the black mass of scribbles. I know that I’ll be typing out my script and wondering what the hell I was thinking when I wrote this here and let this happen over there and left this idea off somewhere else, but that’s the fun of it. I’m just letting my pen vomit my ideas all over a page, and I regret nothing. This way of doing things is very inspiring, honestly – letting the inspiration flow and take me everywhere it wants to is getting more work done than I usually do when forcing everything into the direction I already decided. A breath of fresh air, I suppose?

That being said, I did have a few plans for my characters – but some of them are already giving me the ol’ “fuck you!” and doing something completely different. I’d had a little bit of romance planned for much later in the series I’m working on for the main character with someone who hasn’t been introduced yet, however, the chemistry between them and another character is growing with every little word I write. I don’t really mind it – it just shocks me how letting my inspiration guide me and my characters do whatever is working so far! All I did was add a little bit of dialogue to reference to the internet phenomenon most of us have probably participated in at least once before, shipping, a tiny little joke that I intended to go no where, and within a few lines, my exact thoughts were, as follows:

What have I done?! It’s sailing itself! This ship, it’s sailing itself!

Regardless of fuzzy tummy feelings, though, these silly geese have a lot longer to go before it’ll even be acceptable to give them an actual romance, and right now, they have a famous legend to encounter – the Black Dog, or rather, something based off of it. The script I’m working on is a fantasy-based setting that is based off of several different places and time periods in terms of environment, government, architecture, culture, and folklore, telling the story of a fresh-out-of-training soldier with a lot to hide, nothing to lose, and how their life changes throughout several different stories, ranging from action to drama, and essentially goes through a lot of good, a lot of bad, and a lot of plot-rich things hidden in even the most seemingly irrelevant pieces of their life when they wind up being carted off to war at the worst possible time.

As horrific as that may sound, I’m having a lot of fun with it, and the message I want to convey especially – people walking in and out of your life, lessons learned from them, etc – is something that I will admit means a lot to me. I’m enjoying the attempting action scenes, the plot development, and the character development, especially. Hopefully, when it’s done, it’ll come out to be a blend of action and plot that I can work with. It’s to be a graphic novel, webcomic (this is the most likely one), or maybe an animation if I sharpen my skills there, and I’m planning on putting as much work into this as possible. This won’t be a project that I give up on so easily.

The biggest problems I’m really facing with Script Frenzy right now are writing enough to make my hands ache (something I don’t really let get in my way too much) and falling behind in my reading, which I definitely plan on fixing this weekend. Hopefully, I can make good progress with both this month. This week’s-almost-done update being finished, I should get to working on writing a little bit before my nephew comes over for me and my mom to babysit him.

How is your script going so far if you’re participating this year, and what are you writing your script about? I’d love to hear from everyone!

Character Creation: Physical Build and Facial Features

In my last post on writing tips, I wrote about creating characters. I gave a lot of tips and general guidelines that I personally use when it comes to making my characters, with the exception of anything on character appearance and design. The reason I left out that bit is because, when it comes to what I think and take into consideration with character appearance, I would’ve wound up writing an entire post within the already large-by-my-standards main post, and since this is taking long enough to post already, it will be broken up into parts as I write them. You can read the original post on character creation here.

This post will be detailing my tips on deciding the build and facial features of a character, reasoning behind them, and my general approach of it.

  • Body shape/build

A character’s build can change the effect an appearance gives over-all. A simple change of a character’s body type could change the way someone interprets them by their appearance at first glance, and is a factor that can be used to make your characters unique to each other. It can show things about their everyday life, such as their eating habits, whether they have physically active hobbies/jobs, and other general parts of their lifestyle. Whether or not you’re going to give your character the build of a body-builder, the exact opposite, or anywhere in between, you should have a reason for it, be it a factor to their health, an exercise routine, an active job or hobby or anything else you can possibly think of that would cause that.

A character’s build is more or less defined by their size, shape, and the reasons why they are those sizes and shapes instead of different ones, and can say a lot about them as a person and their health. Looking at a character’s build, you can assume different things about their eating habits, the amount of exercise they get, whether or not they work out or do something that makes up for that, their general physical health, metabolism, and any other thing that effects weight, body shape, etc, and these are the factors that tend to determine someone’s build. For example, an agile character who relies more on their speed for their hobbies/work/whatever they do would probably be, scaling on the higher ends of the spectrum, closer to being a fairly lithe person, as opposed to someone with obvious, large muscles and a larger build.

Because of these reasons, and the usual sticking to have-a-reason-for-everything-you-can thing I’ve got going on in my head, I suggest thinking about more than just your character’s appearance for this. Think about their lifestyle and the factors that determine their build listed above, since I encourage you to make your character’s appearances make sense when put together with the character aside from their looks. If you’re putting together a character’s appearance before you work on their personality and life, I recommend keeping your character’s appearance in mind and to try to create a sensible character in relation to the appearance.

  • Facial Features

Figuring out unique facial features for a character can be a little hard at first if you aren’t used to deciding on them, but it’s very effective for, at the very least, identifying a character visually, and I find it fun myself. Using facial features, you can make a character’s face unique with more than just blemishes, makeup, and different eye colours. While I’m not against using those things to add to a character’s look, I often see different facial features overlooked, and I suggest using both in moderation.

It’s okay to reference real people for their features – mixing and matching different types of facial features you know or have seen before, fitting them together to create a unique face for the character. Looking at and learning to describe real faces and their features can help you figure out what kind of features give the effects you’re looking to portray in your character’s appearance – there are tons of different types of facial features and degrees to which they’re expressed, and they can give even more different possibilities for the effect and mental image of a character.

You can describe and depict the different features in so many ways, combining different ones can give characters more ways to be different from each other appearance-wise. Even when characters have the same core facial features, putting them to different degrees and adding a little bit of another one can change things completely. I like to look at real people’s facial features and the effect that they have on me – be they celebrities, historical figures, my family, my friends, or random people – and figure out how different combinations would change that, to mix and match them and see what they entail. There are plenty of people in the world, plenty of photographs of them on the internet and in books to look at and observe facial features on and there’s even a handy dandy category on Wikipedia containing what makes up the face and some different types of features.

When it comes to describing faces and their features, you can make things sound different to give off different effects, as well – using different description techniques and words to describe these things, you can make a face sound the way you want even more. You can describe the same features in different ways to give off different effects, and with experimentation, it may even be fun for you, too.

Build and facial features are things that I’ve struggled with even taking time to describe in the past, or give characters different ones unique to each other, and I’m glad I realized this. Whether or not I’m displaying a character visually or describing them in words, these features help bring them to life in a more fluid manner, as well as help keep me from eventually sounding like a broken record in describing all of my characters. One little feature of the face or build can distinguish a character and often helps bring the idea of who they are without an appearance to life. I like to use a combination of physical features and the other things that make a character who they are without it to make them stick out among my others.

Do you like to give your characters distinguishing physical features, or do you prefer to rely more on other things that make them who they are? How do you go about choosing these features for your characters, if you do?

Goodreads and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”

Accomplished some things I’ve been trying to do for a while today thus far! I’ve had an account over at Goodreads for a while now, but I never really bothered with it after I first got it. I’ve fully intended to start using it more, and I was reminded of it earlier today, so I hopped back on there and found that it actually seems like it could be fun and maybe a little handy for keeping better track of anything. I’m just starting out with it so I’m still working at getting it all situated, and I don’t have anyone on my friends on there, and I’m definitely willing to be friends on there with anyone who would like to add me. Feel free to join me while I try to get nice and cozy there, whether you’re a long-time member, a new one like me, or anywhere in between that.

It’s made me realize that while I really love to read and get immersed into fictional worlds, I haven’t really read as much as I’d like. I have a few books I want to read, and a few books I’ve read and really liked, and of course, I’ve read people’s work online (Roninspath’s The Rosemary Saga stands out here, I don’t really remember much else I’ve read online thus far. I think it’s worth reading the summary and checking it out if you like how it sounds!) and work my friends have written, but I haven’t read much of what I’d like to. That being said, upon realizing this I was very disappointed in myself, and thus, took action.

I’ve started reading Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, since it’s the most appealing book on my shelf that I’ve not read yet at the moment and seems to really suit my tastes from what I know about it. I’ve been planning to do more research on the original vampire myths and older depictions for a long time through reading the novels and watching the older movies (I’ve seen Nosferatu, but nothing more than that) for a while now, and it’s really time that I start taking action instead of planning on doing things, because sitting around and planning to research, planning to read and planning to watch isn’t what I want to spend my days doing. As I write this, I’ve got the book marked at page 27 and might read some more later. For now, I’ve got a few things to get out of the way.

If you’d like to check out my in-progress Goodreads profile and maybe friend me, you’re more than welcome to, and since I’m trying to wrap up this post and keep it fairly small for once, I’ll go ahead and close it now. What’re your opinions on Goodreads if you’ve checked it out any time before, and have you read/started reading Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” before or are you planning on reading it? If so, what did you think of it, or why do you want to read it?