Today I had the chance to go to a writers conference. One of the panels I went to was called creating a career. It was led by Jay Bonansinga (writer of the walking dead books), Jody Lynn Nye (prolific sci-fi and fantasy writer and author of The Dragonlover’s guide to Pern) and Keith Kappel (Freelancer for online content such as the Star Wars RPG). What I have written below is just a starting off point to do more research, please tell me if you want to hear more specifics on each topic!
Ok enough intros, here’s what I learned about breaking into the writing industry. Jay recommended taking any writing job you can, you’ll learn a lot about all different types of writing. Jody also recommended this suggesting that video games always need a few dialog lines for NPCs. She also suggested being reading the slush pile.
Let’s dive into that one a little bit more. The slush pile is all of the manuscripts that made it past the twenty-page test and need to be read all the way through to see if they are any good. This job is given to avid readers and you can be one. You would get paid $25-$100 per manuscript and network with the people who would be reading your book and judging how good it is. I hope you can see why this is a great opportunity.
And the last recommendation they told me about was upwork. I haven’t used it yet but I will try to give my feedback on this freelancing website soon.
One of the reasons why I stop writing is because I don’t feel connected to my characters. This makes it hard for me to see where the plot is going and thus why I’m writing. So today I thought I would tell you what I do to understand my characters more while still encouraging the creative process.
One of my favorite things to do is sketch how the character looks. Now don’t click away. You don’t need to be an artist at all. Try just drawing a couple stick figures whose body language represents your character. If you want something a little more challenging, draw the characters wardrobe, you’ll be surprised how much clothing can tell you about a person.
I’ve mentioned how much music influences my work before but this is a different take. Try coming up with a ‘theme song’ for each character. This doesn’t have to be an album, just a few notes you can hum or some finger drumming. Should it be fast paced or slow? Are the notes all over the scale? Feel free to steal from other songs too, just as long as it fits the person you are creating.
My last suggestion of the day is to make some part of your character 3D. This can be a clay sculpture of the character to paper folded into their house. It doesn’t need to be good as long as you know what you’re going for.
If you are still stumped or think your art is too bad, I do have one last thing I try. I pretend I am the character and make whatever they would. Sometimes it’s a paper airplane, sometimes it’s a little sketch of a snail, sometimes I even get out legos. The most important thing it to have fun!
(I’m pretending I didn’t disappear for such a long time).