Sunday, December 11, 2005

Character Sketches

Day one of the "30 day method" for outlining involves doing character sketches for all of the main characters. This is something I've always done in my head, but have occasionally also put on paper. A while back I also suggested using role-playing game character creation systems to get the creative juices flowing. All of these techniques can work extremely well. While I think it's true that you will come to know the depth of your character's personality as you write about her and see how she reacts to various situations, I also think that it's important you have at least some idea of what the character is like before you start writing.

The book suggests cutting out photos from magazines that remind you of the character. I think this is a great idea, as having a strong visual image of the character can go a long way towards making her a fully-realized human (or whatever). For those who are so inclined, though, I'd like to recommend another approach: the 3D character design program, Poser. Poser is very easy to use and gives amazing results. Not only can you design unique and realistic characters, you can also render them in backgrounds that inspire your writing even further. The full version of Poser isn't cheap, but there is a scaled down version (Poser Artist, I think it's called) that might be a good entry-level program. I've got the latest version of the program and (no kidding) three DVD-R's worth of clothing, hair, props, etc. so there's a lot I can do with the program. I'm going to create images of all of the main characters for this story in Poser. Who knows, it may serve as an inspiration for whoever does the cover art for the book, should it ever sell. I don't have the first renders for the novel ready, but I thought I would post some panels from a webcomic idea I had a year or so ago. These don't include the lettering, so you can see all the artwork. I set the renderer to give a "comic book" feel to it, but you can also render images that are almost indistinguishable from a photo. It's pretty amazing!

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