Update 1: Plotting a path…

16 06 2010

The first week of my Project has primarily been about coming up with a solid idea for my story. This has been something of a difficulty for me for some reason. I have a lot of ideas for stories but none of which fit the form or function of what I am trying to do. As such I have developed a story which isn’t particularly original but fits the need of the form that I am trying to create. I have decided on the classic comic book genre of the super hero which in some respects is a a beneficial idea as it shows that the form can be aimed at the already existing comic book market. The most popular genre for comics is, of course, the super hero and so my idea fitting into that genre will help substantially in assessing whether then form of my final piece is a success or not.

In terms of process my working method was to first decide on a (very) rough story. The story I decided on was that of a standard superhero tale including multiple characters, where there is a generic evil that needs to be vanquished but when heroes meet for the first time they fight each other before moving on to fight the villain of the piece. This is a very clichéd story structure but it works for what I hope to achieve and the simple nature helps me focus on making sure that the visuals and structure are solid without getting bogged down in the story.

I decided to follow 4 main characters through the action with each having their own story path. These 4 characters were decided on at an early stage as the general character archetypes of a reporter, a civilian (who became a night guard as the idea developed), a patriotic hero and a vigilante hero. From this stage I began to flesh out a basic plot where the heroes fought, the civilian watched and was injured and the reporter reported on the action as it happened (in a sort of narration fashion). At this point I had further trouble trying to continue with the story.

What I found helped me tremendously was changing the way I looked at the creative process of writing the story. Rather than trying to write the plot in detail first I found that creating the characters first (which is what I would usually do) made it a lot easy to anticipate the action that I could include. Also invaluable to my creative process was brainstorming character ideas and backgrounds with a friend. This process lead from the generic character architypes that I mentioned earlier to 4 fleshed out characters that fit into each roll.

Also discussed in our brainstorm was the idea of a Mayan theme for the villain and by extension the entire story. This lead to the background of the villain being a shamed archeologist after an artifact that he had failed to steal from a dig and that had cause his career to fall apart and the artifact itself becoming a box containing the powers of the Mayan version of hell. This thematic element helps to add a sense of coherency to the story.

After writing character backgrounds and even doing some early design work for some of the characters I moved on to develop a more detailed plot synopsis which uses stereotypical super hero plot point to help create a clear and coherent story. One of the main influences for these plot points is DC’s The Mighty Crusaders Special. (below) which is a self contained story featuring several super powered characters and civilians that “ticks all the boxes” and covers all the main narrative focuses needed.

Once I had the characters and main plot ideas pinned down I began to expand the story by developing each character’s path through the story and linking certain scenes together. This became a map of the key points throughout each of the character’s story which I have plotted on the wall. (I will upload a picture tomorrow as my camera appears to be dead at current.) At this stage the plot and story idea is at a near complete stage and I am ready to move on to creating a more detailed script. This is my next step in this project and as I  move into this section of the design process I expect to make changes that leave the story tighter and more coherent. The aim is to have a near complete script ready for the next blog update in a weeks time.

Edit: And here as promised is the Plot Graph of my story at it’s current stage.

Each colour of post-it note represents a different character with the black arrows showing the linear progression of the story for each character, the red arrows showing points where the reader can move from characters to character and the blue outlines indicating scenes that are the same for multiple characters. Evedently this is at a simple first stage which needs to be more thoroughly detailed and adapted as the full script is written.

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3 responses

17 06 2010
mrfugi

sorry to keep commenting 🙂 I think the story following four characters is a great idea. I was wondering as you said that you brainstormed a Mayan theme, are you going to try to tie it into the 2012 “end of the world” events?.

Apart from that I thing the story is pretty solid.

p.s. Is there anyway you can upload a larger version of the plot-graph as it isn’t readable.

23 06 2010
jaymswisdom

There are some considerations for the use of a countdown to the end of the Mayan calendar which could be used as to show where in each characters path the actions are taking place compared to others. For example the first frame might say 2 hours to the end of the Mayan calendar and so on. This is being considered but i’m not sure about the implementation yet.

As for the image. I shall take another photo and pop it up asap.

Thank you for the comments

26 06 2010
mrfugi

Ah sounds like an intresting way of showing the passage of time in the comic.

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