I have not been doing as much writing on my stories as I might like but I am staying busy with writing related activities. I purchased a couple of new books to assist me in writing one of which goes over tips on some of the most important aspects of writing a novel such as title, POV, literary devices and methods of keeping your story flowing with detail and heightening the conflict between characters.
I have been experimenting with an idea that occurred to me while I was at work. I wanted to start using character and plot webs for my story to help give my story detail and direction. For those of you not familiar with a web, you take a piece of paper usually unlined and make a circle/oval in the center of the page and in this box you will write most often your characters name or a location within your story. You will make short lines from this central bubble and connect them to other bubbles which will be labeled with other details pertaining to the main central bubble. For example let us say your main bubble is your main character, you would write his or her name in the center bubble and branch of with bubbles like details about their appearance, hobbies, job, fears, strengths, weaknesses, goals etc. You can branch of this second level of bubbles and so on and so forth until you have exhausted your ideas on one particular leg of the web.
Using this technique to me has several benefits. First off it gives you a pallet to simply use short descriptive blurbs about your character, idea or plot without being burdened with writing sentences or paragraphs on lined paper. This freedom can often unlock a pattern of ideas that might otherwise never have been tapped. It will also allow you at a glance to look at several different details about your character or scene and how they might tie together or effect a future scene or supporting character.
My inspiration was to take this a step further. I went to OfficeMax and purchased this tablet of paper which is a large pad of paper that is typically used for presentations because of its large size. With this particular kind you are able to use these removable glue strips and tape it to your wall. Each sheet also has a sticky top edge allowing you to tape it to the wall or marker board that you might be using. I also purchased some magic markers with 8 colors which will allow me to color code some of the information and using different color helps bring attention to different ideas or segments on the character web. The separate colors will also allow you to tie several webs together for the same story such as interactions between characters or similar concepts between scenes can be in the same color giving your better coordination of your ideas. I wanted to put this on a large poster first because it gave me more room to work but second I could post several of these on my walls and at a glance from my paper or computer I could see my character or scene more clearly and quickly reference an idea from that web or any of the others hanging next to it. I really feel like this method will help me in creating more connection between characters and will allow me to create more dynamic and life like people to read about.
In times past I have not put this much preparation in place before I started the bulk of the project and I think adding this step of preparation will allow me to stay more focused to the core idea of the story and better utilize my characters within the central conflict surrounding the story.
I would be pleased to hear from anyone who has either developed their own ideas or found something of from someone else that has really helped them in creating their stories.