Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#10) -- Developing Ideas

How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula? -- Andrea Judy

I never use a set formula, but I do pull from a similar group of tools. For example, I used to fill out questionnaires as my characters or answer a list of questions about them or even fill out a credit card application as the character (but never sent it in, of course), but I no longer have to do that because after a few years, those kind of things became internalized and a matter of habit when I pre-write.

I also listen for clues that might surprise me in songs and from other media. About two years ago I was listening to “The Beautiful Ones” from Prince’s Purple Rain soundtrack and it hit me what a cool comic book title that could be. From there, a sort of War of the Worlds meets Sex and the City plot entered my head and the characters naturally developed from there. Or there is the time I went to a comic book creator get-together wearing my Hot Rod Girl t-shirt with the art from the old movie. A guy asked me if Hot Rod Girl was the new comic book I was working on, and I thought for a moment, then said, “It is now!”