Sep 22

fiona's character deep dive

FROM YWP COMMUNITY LEADER FIONA ELLA:

This is a template for the questionnaire I use when I’m at a stage of revising a project where I already know my characters and narrative fairly well but need to get to the next level. It shouldn’t be used for developing new characters, because it leaves off a lot of things you’ll need to get to know a new character and should know before starting this. Their voice, their attitude, their past, how they act in different scenarios. 

This questionnaire is designed to help you get a fully formed sense of your character as being more than someone who serves your narrative, as someone who was living a life and was a real and complicated human with goals and hobbies even before the story began, and is a combination of analysis and biography. I use it for screenwriting, but it should work for other forms of fiction as well. 
Apr 11

Narrative - First Lines

 Photo by gg.
 
Bill O'Connor, a friend of YWP and a wonderful novelist and columnist, used to write in a daily newspaper about everyday people with unique, funny perspectives and stories. Bills skills were these:
  • He connected with his subjects and so drew from them great detail and open expression.
  • He chose his details well and sparingly
  • He used dialogue well
And he had great first sentences.

"Writing is easy," he'd say. "You just write one sentence at a time, with the second sentence relating to the first, the third with the second, and so forth until you're done." He'd then smile and admit, "But getting that first sentence, that's the hard part."

Apr 11

Narrative - Character Development

Sep 12

#smallstories


A two-part challenge. 1. Write a story of 500 characters. 2. Copy your best and post them here as a blog response.
Jul 04

Dear America

[Illustration credit: sophie.d]
To mark the Fourth of July, write a letter, a poem, a song, a rant, a plea to this land. Begin with Dear America ...
Jun 30

Photo 6 - Recurring

A character keeps seeing this image in their dreams. Why? Does this place exist somewhere? Does it have special meaning to this character? Does your character have to go and find it? What happens? 
[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Harlie Johnson]

 
Jun 30

History

Research historical events that happened on your birthday, or in your birth year. Write from the perspective of someone who experienced the event.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
Jun 01

Footprints

You see a set of mysterious footprints leading from the woods behind your house and down your street. You follow them. What happens?

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
Jun 01

Invisible

Write about a time when you felt completely invisible, literally or figuratively.

#vtwrites18

(Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Jessica Beliveau)
Jun 01

Turn around ...

You answer your phone and a voice whispers, "Turn around..." What happens?

#vtwrites18

(Photo credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Will Barr)
May 28

Wonder

I wonder why … Finish the sentence. Use it at the beginning or end of a story. 

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
May 28

Squirrel

Write the inner dialogue of a squirrel trying to find the nuts she buried for the winter.

[Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, photo by Grace Safford]
May 04

One

Write a serious conversation between two characters. Just write the dialogue, nothing else. Now, delete everything one person said so that only one side of the conversation remains.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
May 04

Last

Write a poem or a story that begins with the line, “This is your last chance.”

[YWP Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp] 
 
Apr 20

Contrast

Write the internal dialogue of a character who is constantly flipping between being filled with hope, and being filled with despair.

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford]
 
Mar 30

Photo 8 - Treetop

Write from the perspective of a character sitting on top of this tree. What can the character see? Include something — maybe a friend, a pet, or even a responsibility — waiting at the bottom.

[Photo credit: YWP Photo Library; Photo by Kevin Huang] 
 
Mar 30

Brick

You’re walking along the side of a brick building when you see a loose brick. You tug at it, and a note flutters to the ground. What does it say?

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp]
 
Mar 23

Nothing

End a story with the line “they had nothing to say to each other…”

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Shannon Ripp] 
 
Mar 23

Sound 4 - Surprise

You walk downstairs to make breakfast only to discover the animal in this recording standing in the middle of your kitchen. Write about the chaos that ensues...

[YWP Photo Library; Photo by Grace Safford; Sound Credit]
 

Narrative - Protagonist