Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Creating Flexible Serialized Stories: Part Two

Brainstorm and Get Organized!

This a continuation of my previous post, Creating Flexible Serialized Stories: Part One. That post covered developing characters that compliment and contrast with each other in order to create an ongoing dynamic.

As I develop the characters, I like to think about their personalities and their situation. Then I write down everything that they could possibly do and all the trouble that they could cause together. It doesn't matter if it makes sense or not. The ideas don't need to be directly related or connect. I write it all. When outlining, each situation gets its own bullet point. I call each bullet point an "event."

It's best to do this using a digital program like Word or even Workflowy, because after brainstorming, everything will need to be rearranged. 

Getting Everything Organized

After writing down all the possible situations that the characters could get themselves into, I arrange the events into a chronological order that makes sense to me. I've found it helpful to group events into sections called Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3. Creating acts was a suggestion from my husband, and I like how it works.

Act 1 is everything that helps the audience learn more about who the characters are, what they are like, and what problems they are dealing with. This is where I put every event that sounds like it could be at the beginning of the story.

Act 2 is where the characters grapple with their problems and fight their way to the solution. This is also a good time to introduce new characters and friends that either help the main characters to reach their goals, or hold them back from reaching their potential. I put the most interesting events in this category. Here is also where I sometimes put events that don't seem to fit anywhere, but are still interesting and exciting.

Act 3 is the wind down. This is where problems are solved, and when the characters realize that they are not quite the same as they were at the beginning. If the characters don't realize that they've changed, at least make it obvious to the audience.

Going back to the example I started with in Part One, by the end of the series the younger sister could be a little bit more social and the older sister could learn how to appreciate her own unique gifts.

It's okay not to use all of the events. Some I set aside. If I feel like using them, I'll pull them out of the reserve, and if I don't, than that's alright. But I try to use the majority of them.

At this point I do have an outline, but as far as story goes, it's a bit disjointed. The next part is how I bring it all together.