While I'm still trying to put the final touches on another wire sculpture, I'm studying hard to prepare myself for the big one: writing my first book, uh, comic book that is. As I've always found in the past, when you're engaged in some sort of organized program, it's a lot easier to produce. Whether it was school or work, the structure, process, and deadlines, always made me better at whatever I wanted to do. Of course, when you're out on your own, outside of all organization, creating becomes, at least for me, more challenging.

As I've been reading consistently about art and writing, one thing comes through loud and clear. And, in a way, it proves my theory. The demands of a structured environment accomplish what is THE difference between publishing a book and only wishing you did. That structure (dedication, sacrifice, commitment) puts your butt in front of a keyboard and demands that you produce. A lesson I frequently share is that whatever you want to do or be, you have to spend all of your time do or being that thing. Painters paint, singers sing, chefs, cook; authors write

So in order to prepare myself and create the structure I know I'll need to keep my butt in front of a monitor, I'm pulling together some structure from a couple of books to create a writing process. The first resource I'm using is from Elizabeth George's "Write Away", she calls it a character prompt sheet. This bullet point list of attributes help create a in-depth character analysis, which George considers one of the fundamental pre-writing activities. I've also read this ideal from other authors; building a rich character helps you ultimately know what a character will do when you put them into a what-if scenario.

Here's a few triggers that I need to answer so I can bring Dopeman to life:

  • What is Dopeman's real name?

  • How old is Dopeman?

  • How tall is Dopeman?

  • What is Dopeman's weight/build?

  • Where was Dopeman's born?

  • What color are Dopeman's hair and eyes?

  • Does Dopeman have any physical peculiarities?

  • What is Dopeman's educational background?

  • What is Dopeman's sexuality?

  • Who is Dopeman's best friend?

  • Who are Dopeman's enemies?

  • Who are Dopeman's family (mother, father, siblings,etc.)?

  • What is Dopeman's core need?

  • Does Dopeman have a pathological maneuver?

  • What is Dopeman's ambition in life?

  • Does Dopeman make any gestures when he's talking?

  • How is Dopeman's gait?

  • What is Dopeman's strongest character trait?

  • What is Dopeman's weakest character trait?

  • What does Dopeman laugh or jeer at?

  • What is Dopeman's philosophy?

  • What is Dopeman's political leaning?

  • Does Dopeman have any hobbies?

  • What do others notice first about Dopeman?

  • What does Dopeman do when he's alone?

  • Will the reader like or dislike Dopeman?

  • What event significantly molded Dopeman's character?

  • What event illustrates Dopeman's personality?

  • What super powers does Dopeman have?

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons: Jakob Montrasio