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BYOCD: Putting RWTs to Work for You

Friday, November 3, 2006

(There are lots of links in this segment. You may want to right-click on them and choose to open them in a new window so you don’t have to keep navigating back to this page.)

Once you have cast your characters and begun the process of collecting images, you may find yourself thinking of scenes inspired by the images you see. Just like there are two ways to cast characters (see BYOCD: Introduction), I employ two methods of collecting images—those that seem to fit with the actions or emotions of scenes I’ve already written, and those that generate ideas for potential scenes.

A few weeks ago, when I was blocked with my writing but wanted to spend time in that world and with those characters, I started creating chapter-by-chapter storyboards, utilizing images of characters and settings to give a snapshot of each major scene in the chapter. With minor secondary characters, I stuck with their primary “headshot” image. For Julia, William, Sir Edward, Lady Witherington, and—to a lesser extent—Susan and Collin, I sought out images (or screen captured them from DVD) that conveyed the major driving emotion of the scene. Here is the post where I linked to the first three chapters’ storyboards with a brief synopsis of the chapter. (Side benefit to this exercise: a skeleton chapter-by-chapter synopsis ready to be filled in with a little more detail should an editor request it!)

Brainstorming with RWTs
It isn’t just after the fact that I put my RWTs to work for me. When I first started brainstorming this story and collecting images of Paul McGann for William, I came across two expressions that I screen capped. They became the inspiration for the first scene of the novel where William is introduced, simply from the subtle shift in his expression from one image to the other. By examining the RWT’s facial expression, I began wondering what William would be thinking if he wore that expression. Click here to see the images and read the results.

(This is really much easier to do in a classroom environment, but hopefully you’ll stick with me!)

Let’s look at some images I haven’t used but that have given me ideas and possibilities of emotion or action I can use.

Next time . . . a guided brainstorming session using RWTs.

  1. Carol Collett permalink
    Saturday, November 4, 2006 5:24 pm

    Kaye, this is a great study. I’ve gone through the Tennessean today cutting out images for a story board. I have my main character-11 yr old Meg and her mean middle school principal, Mrs. Mann. I also have a picture of the ultra modern loft where Meg lives with her parents. The home section has some great pitures of homes as well as some floor plans I can use too.


  2. GeorgianaD permalink
    Monday, November 6, 2006 11:17 am

    What a great way to get unstuck and still get something accomplished. Did it help you get jumpstarted into your scene again? Do you have an example of what a storyboard looks like? (I think you may have posted about storyboards before, but not sure.)


  3. Kaye Dacus permalink
    Monday, November 6, 2006 11:52 am

    The storyboard examples are here:


  4. Anonymous permalink
    Monday, November 6, 2006 3:50 pm

    I’m finding this study very helpful. I’ve never scrutinized a supporting cast quite as hard before. I find myself looking at the clothing, mannerisms and presence of tv/movie characters in a whole new way. I can see how this would be a great brainstorming technique. Watching classic movies with a pen and paper. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this with us.



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