This blog post is the first of a category I’m calling “The Trade”. In these posts I will write about different aspects, tools, and skills used in this creative project. A quick note: This isn’t a how-to guide, I’m just sharing my process and what seems to work for me. I mean, for goodness sake, you don’t even know if my writing’s any good : P. If you write, or draw, or work on other creative projects, I would love to hear what your process is. I like hearing how other people think and work creatively. Leave a comment below if you would like to share : ).
Free Drove combines writing, animation, and voice-over, so there are really three major elements to the trade.
- Voice Recording
Of course, each of these can be subdivided. Tasks like animation can be divided into drawing, arranging your scene, composing the frame, and cleaning up mistakes. But there’s also a mental subdivision of every task: Each requires thinking about what you’re doing and what you’re going to do. I’ll give an example. For me, the actual typing out of words occurs only after I’ve decided the very next thing that is going to happen, or going to be described. Sometimes this is a spontaneously generated event that I think of as I am writing. At other times it’s something that I have been planning to write ever since I outlined the chapter in my head. Forethought goes into all these things:
- Things I would like to write about
- Things that come up in the moment.
This level of forethought can actually be quite frustrating if I feel rushed. For example, sometimes I can only dedicate a few minutes in a day for writing or drawing. When I realize that I’m going to have to think about what to write instead of writing, it can feel like I’m not being productive. But just because new words aren’t appearing on my screen doesn’t mean that the product isn’t growing – it’s just growing in my head instead of on the paper. Even though I know this, I do have to tell myself that it is part of the process and that I should keep going :).
This brings me to something I’ve discovered about myself since I started writing Free Drove. The ideas and situation come very easily after two important tasks:
- I write the high-level plot
- I start writing
High-level plot (macro-plot)
I am currently writing chapter 5, but I have a macro-plot written for probably another five to seven chapters. Knowing where things are going gives me the freedom to play with how they get there. It is also easy for me to write the high-level plot because I don’t have to write it properly. I just write a general statement of fact about each major event, nothing fancy.
This is something I just have to make myself do. The easiest way for me to get started is to read the last few paragraphs that I have already written. Invariably, I find something unrefined that I want to happen or read differently, usually the latter. I fix that part, and by then I’m in the zone and ready to write the next paragraphs in the chapter.
Thanks for reading!