Tags: roles

Fireworks Delight
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Writing Excuses 12.3: Project In Depth, "Risk Assessment," by Sandra Tayler

Writing Excuses 12.3: Project In Depth, "Risk Assessment," by Sandra Tayler

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2017/01/15/12-3-project-in-depth-risk-assessment-by-sandra-tayler/

Key points: Doing the bonus story was a surprise because it meant crossing the roles, stepping into Howard's space. Also, Sandra had never written comics. The story? How did the grandparents of Captain Kaff Tagon meet, as told by Bristlecone, the gunship AI. A mil sci-fi meet cute! Adorable with explosions! Doing the collaboration, Howard tried to stay hands-off, and let Sandra do it. Mostly helping to pare the story down to seven pages of comic, leaving dead darlings everywhere, but keeping the core story of a cautious person doing something brave because it was needed. One of the keys to this collaboration was Sandra spending a weekend with Mary, where Mary talked about MICE quotient and other ways to get a handle on a story. Another part was Howard pointing out that you can write the story with all the normal narrative bits, then prune it to a comic script (dialogue plus side notes for the artist). Working with the artist meant Howard tutoring on terminology to use. The biggest lesson in doing it is comics are hard. And Howard deserves a big round of applause for being willing to take the risk of letting someone else step into his space and do something without interfering.

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[Brandon] I think we are going to call it here. Sandra, you had a writing prompt for us?
[Sandra] I do. One of these that really appealed to me, about this writing story was the beginnings of things. The beginnings of things really, really matter to people. The beginnings of relationships, in particular, which is why we have the meet cute as a thing that happens in so much fiction. Because how people meet and how they become friends or lovers or spouses matters. It informs the entire rest of the relationship. So what I would like you to do is take a pair of characters that you are working with who have a long-standing relationship, and I want you to write, not necessarily the moment that they met, but that foundational meeting. Because I met Howard before I actually… Before we really connected. A couple of times. But there's this… Always this moment that is the foundational moment in a relationship. I want you to write that up. I want you to think about how that moment influences the stuff that actually is in your story.
[Brandon] All right. I want to thank the people on the Writing Excuses cruise this year.
[Whoo!]
[Brandon] I want to thank Sandra for joining us on the podcast.
[Sandra] You're welcome. This is fun.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses. Now go write.
ISeeYou2
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Writing Excuses 11.37: Casting Your Book, with Gama Martinez

Writing Excuses 11.37: Casting Your Book, with Gama Martinez

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2016/09/11/11-37-casting-your-book-with-gama-martinez/

Key points: If you don't think about casting before writing, you become subject to your unconscious biases, making lazy casting choices and using things that you have already seen or done before. Make a list of the roles you think will be in your book, and where they lie on various axes. Then flip some of the axes and see how that affects your plot. Cast all your people, then switch their roles. See what this does to your story. Who will be in the most pain? Who will experience this in a way that let's you tell a new story? Once you know what the story will be about, write job interviews with different kinds of characters. Go through magazines and cut out pictures of people. Think about your characters existing on multiple axes!
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[Brandon] We are out of time. I want to thank our audience at Phoenix ComicCon.
[Whoo!]
[Brandon] Long-suffering audience, who at this point has done a lot of episodes with us. Mary, you have some… homework?
[Mary] I have homework. So in the liner notes, we're going to be giving you a link to a casting sheet. This is a grid that I said that I used. What I want you to do is I want you to go through… It'll come with instructions, I promise. I want you to go through and I want you to cast the next thing that you're working on or the thing that you have previously… That you already have in progress. Go through and fill it out. Look at the axes that your character exists on. Then flip it so that you make sure that your character has at least two axes in which they are not dominant. Then flip them so that they have two different things that they are not dominant in. When you look at this sheet, I'm also going to say that if you're doing secondary world fantasy, that this is a really good spot to start thinking about how your culture handles prejudice and which gender is dominant, and if it is in fact a binary culture, that you want to make sure… Feel free to tweak that worksheet. But this is the place that you need to start thinking about that, is before you start writing. So, that'll be… That's your homework. I want you to do that.
[Brandon] Gama, thank you so much for coming in and podcasting with us.
[Gama] Thank you for having me.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
Burp

Writing Excuses 7.25: Writing Capers

Writing Excuses 7.25: Writing Capers

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2012/06/17/writing-excuses-7-25-writing-capers/

Key Points:
-- Capers, or heists. Start with a job to do, a mastermind/leader, a team of experts to collect. A talk to set up the plan, and the execution. And then there are twists and breakdowns.
-- Two big variations: don't tell the reader the whole plan, and then twist it into something different at the end, OR reveal the whole plan, then have something go horribly wrong.
-- Almost inverse: knowledge of the plan and degree of things going wrong. Note: not revealing the whole plan can be difficult in writing tight third person.
-- Capers have plenty of witty banter and dialogue, partly to carry the reader through the large amount of setup. Use jargon to make readers feel as if they know more than they actually do.
-- Heist plots aren't always about stealing -- it's the team, plan, preparation, and execution.
-- Don't overload the characters, but give them clear roles.
-- Consider the Xanatos gambit, turning evident failure or things going wrong into victory.
-- Plotting can be complicated, because capers require characters and plan to interlock. One approach is to figure out the plan, then work backwards to the necessary characters. Another is to start with characters, then tailor the plan to their skills.
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[Brandon] But we're out of time. So, Dan, give us a heist...
[Mary] Related writing prompt.
[Brandon] Sort of writing prompt.
[Dan] Okay. Your characters need to perform a heist in reverse, and put jewels into a safe without anyone seeing them.
[Brandon] Nice. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.