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The Writers' Workshop


Osetto's Avatar


Osetto
11.07.2012 , 02:55 PM | #61
Quote: Originally Posted by bright_ephemera View Post
Sooo, as I understand it:

1 BTC = 3654 BBY
0 ATC = 3653 BBY = year the Treaty of Coruscant is signed
1 ATC = 3652 BBY
2 ATC = 3651 BBY
...
10 ATC = 3643 BBY
11 ATC = 3642 BBY
12 ATC = 3641 BBY
13 ATC = 3640 BBY = year that the Treaty of Coruscant is broken, and according to extended media, year in which the class stories end
Basically the Treaty of Coruscant marks year zero. That year is simultaneously 0 BTC and ATC I think, depending on if you're dealing with the months before or after the signing that year. Since we don't know when in 0BTC/0ATC/6353BBY the treaty was actually signed, I'd keep references to 0 BTC vague in any stories.

The peace is broken in 13 ATC/3640 BBY. We know some of the class story for each class takes place before and after the war is reignited. Given the prologue and first acts could reasonably take place over many months, I think it'd be reasonable to say the stories begin in 12 ATC/3641 BBY. And given the brief time spent since full scale war has broken out, I think we're still in early to mid 13 ATC/3640 BBY at the end of Act 3.
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bright_ephemera's Avatar


bright_ephemera
02.13.2013 , 12:22 PM | #62
Question! I was just recently thinking about weird character traits to keep track of and it occurred to me that I don't keep core character notes for anybody in my fic. This strikes me as an oversight and it has on a couple of occasions led to me missing/altering details that my readers had to call me on.

Then again, when I try to fill in character questionnaires I find online I inevitably get bored writing to prompts about how my characters feel about democracy or potted plants or other such nonsense, because Google keeps handing me the questionnaires that try to get me to think outside the box or something. It's dull.

So my question to you people is, do you keep character record sheets? What information do you keep track of for your characters? Do you have a favorite rubric? Do you cook up your character's details in advance or fill them in after you've written a story or three?
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Tatile's Avatar


Tatile
02.13.2013 , 01:08 PM | #63
My characters develop as they go, mostly.

It's like this: Rochester was always going to be the vain, educated, devout Imperial, who sees the problems with the Sith-based system but doesn't question it and who sees the value in alien individuals, but doesn't see any inherent problem with enslaving them (largely because it's a problem he doesn't see). I've never addressed his vanity explicitly, but it does underpin his interpersonal and romantic interactions, and is also the basis for what I think would be fair to say part of his morality. Sovereignty over one's body and all that.

I used to do the whole "this is how tall they are and this is their favourite colour and this is how long their hair is and this is their favourite food" but I never found it to be useful or even interesting. Maybe make notes on specifics of who is who and what they do and how their morality differs (actual important things) but I wouldn't say obsess over it, it seems counterproductive.

And hey, until now, I'd never written any of that first paragraph down :P

You don't need to define everything about your character up until they enter stage left - if it's a good character, they write their own backgrounds and stick two fingers up at your "plot".

Earthmama's Avatar


Earthmama
02.13.2013 , 02:00 PM | #64
My characters development have gone much like Tatile's have, they've grown as I've written them. Though now I'm finding that with the sheer volume of characters I have, and the years in which FOW spans, I have put together character sheets to keep events straight in my own mind, and to make sure those characters remain "in character."

Osetto's Avatar


Osetto
02.13.2013 , 02:08 PM | #65
The very first catalog I ever did was a large "Dramatis Personae" that covered all the main characters of all the stories I had planned to write at the time. Each character had only two sub-components of data: "Physical Description" and "Personality and Traits". I believed these to be the foundation of a character and things I wanted to make sure I didn't readily contradict myself with further down the line.

This provided the baseline amount of preparation I needed to do, in reference to characters anyway (I still haven't figured out a good rubric for planning plotlines or events...). After I've invested in a story and come to notice a few intended and unintended changed or developments, I expand upon the simplistic Physical/Emotional model.

Its after I've let the characters 'naturally develop' for a time that I go back and record concrete details concerning the past, present and future. I found the entries on the Star Wars Wiki concerning important characters to provide a good example of categorization. I break down characters into four sections:

Biographical Information (Dates of Birth/ Known Family)
Physical Description (Species/Gender/Height/Details)
Personality and Traits (Emotions/Predispositions/Tendencies/Likes/Dislikes)
History (Backstory/Important Events/Relationships).

Of course, this is mostly a retroactive account of things that pop up over the course of writing, I'm never this specific in the early stages of writing. Now, when I'm first developing a story and its characters, I just give them a brief overview likened to an RPG character sheet. This is their name. These are their skills. This is where they came from. And this is what they plan to do. Anything that can't be summarized into a few lines of info or put in a stat block can be saved for later.
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DarthRamette's Avatar


DarthRamette
02.16.2013 , 10:32 PM | #66
I've messing around with making a few stories about my SW and Darth Gravus, for some reason I find him sorta hot...dont judge me lol His voice is so damn..well yea and the way he just brushes off Thana's rebellion is just awesome like he could give a crap. I also refuse to acknowledge that Annihilation is a book in the SW Universe as well. While he on the outside is a cold, calculating bastard, I see hits of sarcasm and think he would be different in private. I am looking after the SW ends thus my girl is the Wrath and Darth Fluffy is toasted. I am just hitting a major case of writers block that I can't break and its driving me up a wall.

What are y'alls views of Gravus?

bright_ephemera's Avatar


bright_ephemera
02.17.2013 , 04:17 PM | #67
I've drafted a character continuity sheet that I'm hoping will allow me to keep track of multiple characters and allow accuracy/continuity while writing new material. It has a few sections:

  • Basic info (name, origin, appearance)
  • Job and education
  • Family/Major relationships
  • Attitudes (ambitions, likes, dislikes, fears)
  • Sex and love
  • Life timeline
  • Characteristic quotes and exchanges (This, I think, is critical to me because it lets me gather, in a few pages, the most representative quotes, such that when I come back to write the character after a break I can rapidly regain a feel for who they are and how they talk)
  • Files and posts (purely administrative: where are these posted and where are there indices/tables of contents)

Most importantly, this time I'm giving myself permission not to exhaustively fill stuff out. Seriously, just drop in what my character has already established and leave the rest blank...they'll tell me in their own time.

In Word 2010 I've put together a macro-enabled template that'll let me spawn a fresh character sheet with nice text fields all ready to fill out. I threw a couple of examples online: one for No Death, Only Wrath's Nalenne and one for the multi-thread Wynston.
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Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.

Striges's Avatar


Striges
02.17.2013 , 09:52 PM | #68
Quote: Originally Posted by bright_ephemera View Post
So my question to you people is, do you keep character record sheets? What information do you keep track of for your characters? Do you have a favorite rubric? Do you cook up your character's details in advance or fill them in after you've written a story or three?
In a word: no.

Elaboration: For most of the characters I've made in SWTOR, I've started with a sentence or two as a basic description of the character's outlook or attitude. The rest grows organically from in-game activity, messing with prompts, or just plain pondering. I rely on the game's character creator for basic physical features. I will admit to having a file of "codex entries" for pre-game backgrounds, no more extensive than the game codices, but I didn't have an official summary of character stories or anything until the "Story Thus Far" prompt.

I guess it's the Schroedinger's cat method of character creation.

As an example, Rixik's guiding principle is "people are commodities". Jurial's is "Jedi Martin Luther". Sha'ra'zade is based (very loosely, as it turned out) on Scheherazaede of Arabian Nights fame, which seemed appropriate for an Imperial Agent.

Canino's Avatar


Canino
02.18.2013 , 07:32 AM | #69
Quote: Originally Posted by bright_ephemera View Post
I've drafted a character continuity sheet that I'm hoping will allow me to keep track of multiple characters and allow accuracy/continuity while writing new material. It has a few sections:

  • Basic info (name, origin, appearance)
  • Job and education
  • Family/Major relationships
  • Attitudes (ambitions, likes, dislikes, fears)
  • Sex and love
  • Life timeline
  • Characteristic quotes and exchanges (This, I think, is critical to me because it lets me gather, in a few pages, the most representative quotes, such that when I come back to write the character after a break I can rapidly regain a feel for who they are and how they talk)
  • Files and posts (purely administrative: where are these posted and where are there indices/tables of contents)

Most importantly, this time I'm giving myself permission not to exhaustively fill stuff out. Seriously, just drop in what my character has already established and leave the rest blank...they'll tell me in their own time.

In Word 2010 I've put together a macro-enabled template that'll let me spawn a fresh character sheet with nice text fields all ready to fill out. I threw a couple of examples online: one for No Death, Only Wrath's Nalenne and one for the multi-thread Wynston.
I lOVED your Wynston sheet. SO useful!!!!! Agh. I would read your stories now, but no SW or IA yet so spoilers.... Oh well. Bu I have a question. How you most of you write transitions? It always seems weird for me going from one space, planet, house, etc. Do you just have them be at the location, or show them traveling? I normally show them traveling, but it always feels wrong. Any tips?
STATEMENT: I'm just a simple assassin...I mean bodyguard, master. You have nothing to fear.
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Osetto's Avatar


Osetto
02.18.2013 , 08:30 AM | #70
Quote: Originally Posted by Canino View Post
But I have a question. How you most of you write transitions? It always seems weird for me going from one space, planet, house, etc. Do you just have them be at the location, or show them traveling? I normally show them traveling, but it always feels wrong. Any tips?
This is something I've had trouble with before. I've always felt I had trouble with pacing, and that mainly stemmed from my want to show everything that happens in a particular scene. If I have to show a character going somewhere, more often than not I feel the need to provide narrative for how they got there. Whether that's a good or bad thing I've yet to find a concrete answer.

Character's traveling a lot isn't out of the ordinary in the Star Wars universe. Heck, if you look at the movies all you really needed for a change in time or place was a screen wipe, visual establishing shot, and they're there. The way I see it, if nothing happens over the course of a travel period, you can certainly cut down or remove it. Aslong as the reader knows where the story was taking place then, and where it is taking place now, they won't miss out on a few sentences detailing the amount of time spent in hyperspace, docking with a space station, taking a shuttle to the surface, etc. After a transition, establish the where, the when, and maybe throw in the method of travel so that the reader can fill in the blanks, and that's all yo really need.

To indicate significant jumps in time or space I've come to use two textual signals. For minor changes in the passage of time or a change in location, I'll put an extra two spaces between paragraphs.



Like this. On the occasion I make a significant leap forward in time but am still within the confines of the chapter, or show what is happening concurrently in a completely separate area, I'll separate paragraphs like above but place ten dashes in the gap.

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Like that. I feel that much of the time, when you are trying to get a point across to a reader, it is important to consider what you write, but also how you write it. Even a perfectly explained transition can be awkward if the text just directly leads into it. While you can never say for certain how fast or slow someone reads the words you put on a page, making sure there are adequate breaks and pauses can insure the reader isn't lost if you find your character jumping around the galaxy.

So really, the amount of detail you choose to go into when it comes to travel is up to you stylistically. There's no definite preference amongst readers. Some just love the intricate details, while others just want you to get to the action or dialogue.

If it's a character's first time doing something or going somewhere, no one is going to reject the presence of an explanation. If its something they've done a million times before, you shouldn't feel the need to eliminate it, but you could try simplifying it or calling back to the previous times they've done it.
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