Do you use notepads to plot out your stories?
When I was young, I could always be found wedged between my bed and the radiator with a notepad and pen in hand. As writers, we are always creating something, whether that’s a scene, new idea, character bio, or even a poem/story.
I loved writing and as soon as I was old enough to hold a pencil I started creating little stories and filling page after page of notes. When my parents moved house recently I was given the obligatory ‘box of
crap memories from your childhood’ that every parent keeps in the loft.
Mine contained old school reports (apparently I talked too much!!), my vinyl records, and a collection of school books/notepads.
Most of the stories were written back in 1982 when I was a bright-eyed ten-year-old, and they were highly entertaining to re-read. The memories of long forgotten ideas, recollections of ‘camp’, and my horrific attempts at poetry (and illustration), had been preserved for the future generation, however, my kids – that future generation I was talking about – could only fall about laughing at the wallpaper I’d used to cover my hand-made notebook!
The other week I was jotting notes for my current WIP, curled up in my favourite chair while my thirteen-year-old daughter sat opposite me tapping away on her phone.
“Why don’t you ever write any stories?” I asked her, remembering the brief year when she filled a small journal with micro tales and a beautiful poem she called my mum’s biscuits.
“I am writing one, mum.”
She proceeded to wave her mobile phone in the air and I rolled my eyes (something the future generation taught me how to do so eloquently).
“Snap chat doesn’t count as story writing!” I told her.
“It’s a story app,” she announced, climbing onto the chair beside me.
I was amazed to see that she was indeed writing a story using a nifty little app called Plotagon.
Designed for iPhone and PC, Plotagon is an award-winning educational app that allows you to create instant, animated videos just by writing. You create your characters in a SIMS kind of way, deciding on hair colour, size, sex, and age, and then you write the story to fit a scenario (restaurant, airplane, etc.). The app offers you various options.
The fun aspect of this app was that upon completion you hit ‘play’ and the little cartoon images act out your written words. You have a choice to use the slightly wooden automated voice over effect, or record your own voice. The idea is highly creative and certainly engaged my daughter in her story writing because she could watch her idea come to life.
The app is free to download and you receive a certain amount of generic scenes to work from, however, there is an option to purchase more advanced settings such as fantasy backgrounds.
There is a specific page dedicated to teachers who might wish to introduce the app into the classroom and engage students in dialogue, character building, and script writing.
So, would I opt for a more modern way of story writing? Absolutely not! Give me a notepad and pen any day, but if this app gets the youth of today writing stories and building creative skills then maybe technology isn’t all bad after all.
Do you use any kind of app to help build your characters or stories? Would you be tempted to try this kind of feature in the future?