Well, it’s the easiest way for me, anyways.
- Bare Bones — structuring and completing the basic plot, creating characters.
- Sinew — Now connecting each bone (plot point). This is the part where you give a BASIC Accomplishment of each chapter.
- The Meat — laying down the basic idea (shit script!) for each chapter. Can go chapter-by-chapter, as long as you keep in mind foreshadowing and stuff.
- The Fat — fleshing out your chapter. This is finally the part where you start thinking about the art aspect of things.
- Cosmetic — filling in your chapters. Actually planning out the final draft and sticking to it.
- Dessert — extras, side stories, promotional images, holiday projects, etc..
Before you even begin to draw anything at all, plan the basic structure of your story. The whole story, beginning, major points, and end. If you’ve only got a vague idea of how you want your story to go, write it down. Vague is fine for right now. The important part is having the basics mapped out from BEGINNING to END.
- Alien invasion threatens earth. The Galactic Fighters have been stranded on Earth in pursuit of the enemies.
- Cat Galactic Fighter meets Humans who care for him, and fellow Galactic Fighters around the country.
- The Enemies have attained the help of a business mogul, and are building a weapon on his funding.
- The Cat Galactic Fighter and Friends defeat the Enemies and business mogul, but REALLY, the Enemy Leader is higher up, controlling a stronger human and elite team.
- Characters are lulled into false security, the begin rebuilding their ship. But the Elite team attacks them and kills one Galactic Fighter.
- Cat Galactic Fighter gets taken prisoner. Leaderless, the friends and humans feel like there’s no hope of winning.
- One of the Galactic Fighters befriends one of the Elite, and they hatch a plan. The Human Mogul begins to realize that the earth will be destroyed (himself included).
- The Galactic Fighters, Mogul, and Humans defeat the Enemy Boss from the inside-out, and save the planet. However, many die, and the characters must all come to terms with their grieving.
The remaining Galactic Fighters and Enemies (now defunct) work together to return to their homelands and bury their dead, saying farewell to their human friends.
Now you’ve got the bare bones of your story, you have to lay down the sinew— That which connects Part 1 to Part 2. Connects Part 2 to Part 3. etc..
What are some of the very important parts you’d like to add, which can help connect Bone 1 (the beginning) to Bone 2 (introducing side-characters)?
- character side-stories
- background stories
- mini obstacles/problems
- relationship/character development
- remember: all side-stories must re-join the plot before the end! If they’re not relevant to the plot, or characterization, they’re probably best left as little extras (after the comic is finished)
Now that you’ve gotten the in-between Sinewy parts down-pat, it’s time to start working on a chapter-by-chapter basis. That is— fleshing out exactly what you’d like to do in each chapter.
The best way for me to do this, is to identify the Main Objective of each chapter, and just shit out a basic-ass script to describe what I want to happen.
For example: In Chapter 1, the main thing I want to do is
- Establish Cat Galactic Fighter’s relationship with the 2 humans
- Reveal to the 2 humans that Cat is an Alien
And so, to reach those 2 very important Chapter Objectives, I brainstorm and think of a way that I can kind make those things happen.
Shitty script example:
"Humans go to place A. They find the Cat. Cat is an alien, but they don’t know. They take the cat home. The Cat eats all the dish soap b/c it’s got chemicals for its alien bod. The Cat won’t eat cat food, so they become worried. They finally decide take it to the vet. The alien’s secret is revealed when a crow alien attacks the city on way to vet. The cat transforms into Galactic Fighter and kicks the shit out of the Crow Galactic Fighter (enemy)."
As long as you’ve got those sinewy pieces laid out over your bare bones, you can easily pull the rest of the chapter out of it. The important part is getting the basics down, so that you don’t forget, then adding things around it as necessary.
You’ve laid out the basic shitty script for, like, 5~10 chapters, and now you’re trying to fill in all the gaps with fat.
Basically, you’re gonna take your shit script, and you’re gonna elaborate. It can be as detailed as you want. You can even write it out like a novel or a fanfic to help you remember.
Also, you’re gonna start thinking about how you wanna lay it all out in comic form.
I would recommend making ‘thumbs’ or neemu. That’s when you draw very little, mock-up versions of your comic, like storyboarding I guess. By making these little mock-up versions, you can get a feeling for what is right and what is wrong for your pages.
It’s a WHOLE LOT easier to fix stick-figure drawins and panels than it is to, say, go back and redo an entire final-draft page because it doesn’t feel right.
I would recommend making like 5~10 chapters worth of neemu and scripts. I’ll tell you why in the next step.
You’ve got your 5~10 chapters all planned out and laid out. You’ve gone through all your neemu, you’ve tweaked and changed things, and now you’re ready to start in on your final drafts.
You’re gonna lay out your panels, sketch and ink everything, add in dialogue and lettering, and distribute.
HOWEVER, You’ll want to do them IN ORDER of each chapter! Meaning, you work on Chapter 1’s sketches, and do all of them, before you move into Chapter 2’s sketches. You finish Chapter 2’s sketches before you move on to Chapter 3’s sketches, etc..
- Layout chapters 1-5
- sketch chapters 1-5
- ink chapters 1-5
- colour/greyscale 1-5
- Finish chapters 1-5
- queue up each page for distribution.
If each of your chapters is 20 pages long, you’ve done 5 chapters already, that’s 100 pages.
If you publish a new page every Mon/Wed/Fri, then that means you have about 33 weeks until you run out of pages.
That’s a little over 6 months, during which, you can
- Layout chapters 6-10
- sketch chapters 6-10
- ink chapters 6-10
- colour/greyscale 6-10
- finish chapters 6-10
- queue up each page for distribution.
and repeat. It’ll be a lot less hassle on you, but your pace will be consistent, which means more people will be seeing/attracted to your stuff. Plus, you can take frequent breaks, just as long as you work at a steady pace.
And because you’re able to keep at a steady pace and free up a lot of time, you now have free time to work on the fun things!
Things which you REALLY wanted to draw, but they couldn’t fit comfortably into the story line. Little side projects and the ilk.
- side stories
- promotional images
- holiday projects
- gratuitous fan service
- character bio’s
The Psychology of Colour -
A Guide for Designers.
And it doesn’t matter that she didn’t ask to be beautiful, or to be born in a lake, or to live forever, or to not know how men breathe until they stop doing it. Well, I do not want to be beautiful, or a woman, or anything. I want to know how men breathe.
I made a slideshow about how to create a fictional character… I got most of the information from the ‘start writing fiction’ (free) course on the OpenUniversity website and found it incredibly useful so here’s a visual version for you :)
All right, so I’ve been asked for advice on pricing and the business of freelancing, and rather than try to somehow telepathically communicate links via Tumblr’s message system that doesn’t allow links, I thought I might as well put together a post of resources for figuring out the practical side of being an artist. Because this is stuff everyone needs to know anyway, right?
First off, a super-useful book for freelancers is “The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines”. The prices may be skewed to the USA, but they give a good ballpark idea of approximately what’s expected in the market. So it’s a good starting point for figuring out your own prices and not ending up with something completely whacked out. The book also has tons of sample forms and information on best practices, which can be even more useful than the prices.
Here’s some sites that often have good articles on the business of art and the finer points of freelancing:
Potentially useful forums (mostly concept art oriented, but they sometimes cover more general things too.)
* Yes I know ConceptArt.org has had a lot of political and technical turmoil lately, but the archives have a wealth of useful material. What I usually do is use Google to search the CA archives: type the topic you want + “ConceptArt.org” + optionally the section you think the topic is in (the “Art Discussion” section used to have a lot of stuff on the practical side of art.)
CGHub used to be another one, but it’s officially dead, alas. There’s a new one called "DrawCrowd", but right now it looks like it’s mostly for art sharing/eye candy and not so much for discussion/info.
If you’ve got the money to spend, this is supposed to be pretty good:
And it looks like there will be a useful video or two posted here (coming soon, but I have my eye on it:)
I’m sure I’m missing a lot more resources, if I think of more I’ll add them!
So the wonderful queengwenevere came to my rescue with a novella-length note full of supremely useful advice, and also threw this collection of helpful links in for good measure. Reblogging in case anyone else out there is in the process of trying to convince prospective employers that they really, truly are an honest-to-god Professional despite the fact that their shoes are held together with duct tape and their last major project consisted of designing a concert flyer for their housemates’ funk band in return for three bottles of Miller High Life and an understanding that aforementioned funk-band-having housemates will cease to filch the artist’s fancy organic tea.
Also, you folks should really check out queengwenevere’s fantastic webcomic when you get a chance. Stunning art, wonderfully eccentric characters, fabulous hairdos, giant robotic bats — it’s got the lot.
Write Real People
click and drag game
- ONE RULE: DON’T CLICK AND DRAG UNTIL YOU FIND SOMETHING YOU LIKE!
- if you want me to add anything just write me. i’ll add that and update the post!
I love all the click and drag games on Tumblr and after I read an article about diversity in YA books, I wanted to make a click and drag “game” myself. (i think this was the article, but i’m not sure, sorry)
sortabentglasses this is really freakin cool
this is so cool!
I take it my character is very confused about their gender.
If you are writing for fun, and if you don’t want any help, please write any way that works for you. I am not trying to convert you to writing with a plan. It truly does not matter to me how you write. However, if you are struggling to finish a book that makes sense, I would love you to carry on reading.
Why should you do it?
When I used to teach Writers Write regularly, one of the first things I asked students was: How does your story end? I did this for two reasons. Firstly, as much as some people love the idea of working with meandering storylines, it has been my experience that those writers seldom finish writing a coherent book. Secondly, most people who go to workshops or sign up for courses are truly looking for help, and I’ve learned that the best way to succeed in anything in life is to have a plan. Successful people will tell you that you need to know where you’re going before you begin.
Smell the roses
This does not mean that you can’t take time to smell the roses, or explore hidden paths along the way. It simply means that you always have a lifeline and when you get lost, it will be easier for you to find your way back again. Remember that readers like destinations. They love beginnings, middles, and endings. Why do you think fans are terrified that George R.R. Martin will die before he finishes A Song of Fire and Ice? They want to know how the story ends.
Here are seven reasons why I suggest you write your ending first.
- If you know who the characters are at the end of the story, you will know how much you should reveal about them at the beginning.
- You will be forced out of the ‘backstory hell’ that beginner writers inhabit and into the story the reader wants to read.
- Hindsight is an amazing thing. We all know how different life seems when we’re looking back. We can often tell where a problem began. We think about the ‘what ifs’ with the gift of hindsight. You can use this to your advantage in fiction writing.
- You will have something to work towards. Instead of aimlessly writing and hoping for the muse to show you the way, you will be able to pull the characters’ strings and write the words they need to get them from the beginning through the middle to the end.
- Plotting from the ending backwards saves you so much time because you will leave out stuff that isn’t meant to be there. You will not have to muddle through an overwritten first draft.
- Writing the end forces most of us out of our comfort zones. We have to confront the reality of what we are doing. It might not be as romantic as flailing around like a helpless maiden, but if you want writing to be your profession, it’s good to make the outcome visible. This is a way to show yourself that you are serious. The end gives you a goal to work towards.
- The ending is as important as the beginning. Good beginnings get people to read your first book. Great endings get readers to buy your second book.
There are a handful of famous authors, like Stephen King and George R.R. Martin, who say they don’t plot. I think they just don’t realise they are those rare authors – natural born storytellers, and that plotting is instinctive for them. I have interviewed many successfully published authors and I can revel that the majority of them do believe in plotting. They outline, in varying degrees, before they begin. And yes, most of them know what their ending will be. Why don’t you try it? What have you got to lose?
I truly hope this helps you write, and finish, your book.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy 10 (Amazingly Simple) Tips to Get You Back on The Writing Track and The Author’s Promise- two things every writer should do. You could also read The Top 10 Tips for Plotting and Finishing a Book.
Quite a few people requested some form of trait/personality generator, and here’s the result! I wanted to keep it vague enough that the options could work for any universe, be it modern, fantasy, scifi, or anything else, so these are really just the basics. Remember that a character is much more than a list of traits, and this should only be used as a starting point– I tried to include a variety of things, but further development is definitely a must.
Could pair well with the gender and sexuality generator.
To Play: Click and drag each gif, or if that isn’t working/you’re on mobile, just take a screenshot of the whole thing (multiple screenshots may be required if you want more than one trait from each category).