Character skeletons

23 Dec

Ok, so… After I had my ideas for books, the four ideas out of four hundred that I thought would actually make good stories, I started building the worlds in my head. Doing that on four worlds gets cluttered and overlapping fast. So I jotted the ideas down, got as much on paper as I could, and picked one story to focus on.

The idea I decided to work on, I quickly found I needed much more research to make it feel “right”. So I set out to do this research and set the story aside, my first big mistake.

While I was doing the research, I realized I could build characters that I didn’t need to research. So I set out trying to develop those characters as much as possible, my second big mistake.

While trying to build intricate characters I realized I didn’t know enough about the world they would populate. So I circled back to mental world building, my third big mistake.

After many mental tangents, I finally realized I needed some help understanding the proper processes of building stories for writing.

I came across the self publishing podcast, which I almost bookmarked to look into later. What got me to stop and listen was the subjects of the episodes.

Sometimes gold nuggets are buried in chit-chat between the hosts, when the episode title has nothing to do with that little nugget. So I just started listening to all of them, start to finish.

One of those nuggets was character “skeletons”.

Basically, it’s an outline of a character, much like an outline of a book. So for instance the idea I had decided to focus on, the main character is a robot.

Now what I had previously tried to do was try to fully develop every character. But there is no way to do that properly, and write in a timely manner. At least not for me.

The “Ah-Ha!” moment for me was these guys talking about the story building itself as you write. Which was entirely different than me trying to build the entire world in my mind in order to write.

Writing I realized, feeling rather ignorant, is like everything else, there is a balance to it.

Everything feeds everything else. An idea leads to a character, which needs a place to exist, which needs more characters to interact with, which leads to more places to exist, and more interactions, and so on.

There’s no way for most people to hold all that in their mind and view it all at once. It’s like running, and looking everywhere but where you are going. You’re eventually going to trip or run head first into an obstacle.


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2 responses to “Character skeletons

  1. rezinate

    December 29, 2013 at 9:51 PM

    Good point about character skeletons- I don’t think anyone can construct
    an entire story solely in their mind, including dialogue, and then begin the
    process of writing.
    Characters need to evolve as they grow and confront various events,
    just as people do-it’s what makes them believable regardless of the genre.


    • Mental Drifter

      December 30, 2013 at 5:31 AM

      Exactly so. A character is a fabrication, but for them to feel real to a reader, they have to act real.



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