The concept of the story is the base of everything. Now we’re going to give it more life. Starting to your setting: the place and time, and also, your characters.
“Boo! This is all so childish. We already know this. We learned this from grade school. And it’s common sense anyway!” Now, now. Calm down, folks! I know this is too easy we don’t need to discuss this.
That is, if you’re doing your usual story writing here.
Come on, people! We’re not writing a short story here! We’re making a visual novel! And Kinetic or not, you’re definitely going to need this.
First of all, I’m assuming that you know the places in your story, the time of your story, and the characters. And I’m assuming that you already have them listed. First, let’s see your characters list:
Let’s say you only need two, so your list has two characters in it. This is what your character list looks like if your making your usual short story. But what if it’s a Visual Novel, or a Kinetic?
1.a Mica sad
1.b Mica happy
2.a Raven sad
2.b Raven happy
Now that’s what it looks like. It’s a Visual Novel! Taking the word ‘visual’, means that the reader needs to see something. In Visual Novels, your character sprites should have different emotions. (Unless all your characters are playing poker). Unlike with just a story in a book, the reader depends on your words and their imagination. Tell your readers that “Raven smiles when Mica kissed him”. That works if you’re just giving your readers text.
But in VNs, what we’re giving them are our words… and visuals. Tell your readers that “Raven smiles when Mica kissed him” with a poker-faced Raven might make your readers wonder. Is Raven really happy when Mica kissed him?
Now, you don’t need to draw your characters right away. You just need to list them for easy drawing in the near future. I had a bad experience with my Raven before. I kept forgetting about my character’s emotions. Like, there was a time when I forgot that one of my characters, Jonas, needed to have a bruised face when he was punched. So I spent wasted time, updating my character sprites. I could have saved time if I made all sprites completely with a guide list.
Some characters might change clothes. One of your character sprites might be a student. And yet, with the school in the background, your character’s still on his PJs! But take note of this. Character sprites that change clothes too many times is hell when it comes to coding/programming your game!!! But if you still insist, well… Why not?
Now, enough with the Visuals. Your characters need a story of their own! I just recently realized this. What’s your character’s deal? Why does he acts that way? Why does he have that phobia? That fetish? Why did that become his hobby? Give your characters some depth. Try to think of them as real human beings and not just some mere drawings in your VN.
But skip this part if you don’t have sprites in your VN.
Now, for the place and time. As you can see, sometimes the background changes. Time is another important factor here. Your dialogue says that it’s already evening, and yet you’re looking at a sunny beach in the afternoon!!! How ironic is that?
So you should take note of your backgrounds. Will there be a night scenario with this BG?
In my VN Raven, I put a clock in a background living room. And what a pain in the ass… I had to change the clock’s hand several times, just so it could work with my script. Well, yeah, I could have changed the script. Or maybe, just remove the clock after all. Saves more time. But a clock is included in the script and I thought I should stick with it. It’s for the better. Besides, it would be weird if the clock stays at 6:00 everytime the background is shown. Wouldn’t it mean that time stands still?
But skip this part if you don’t have any backgrounds (I doubt that, though). Or if you’re only using one background throughout the story.
And that’s it for the backgrounds and characters. Now you might think… “How can I list all the characters and backgrounds if I don’t have a solid guide as to when and where they show up? Don’t you think I should put more thoughts on my story’s events?” True.
There are times when I thought that all my characters are drawn and done, and when I’m already doing my script, I thought of a scene where a police should show up, but then that means that I wasn’t really successful with listing all my characters! So in the end, I didn’t make a character sprite for the police in Raven. But it’s not really a loss. Other VNs do things like this. They don’t make character sprites for minor characters.
This only happens when you want to add another thing to your story. Adding a new scenario, adding a new character etc. See what I told you about ideas? They attack you at the most random times. So beware. If you add another, that would mean a lot of changes to everything. Like in your visual novel script. One dialogue can change everything! That’s another week for us to discuss.
Anyway, another important thing in creating visual novels is making events that build the story. Sequence of events, as we call it. After all, the story won’t have an introduction, rising action, climax, and falling action, and denouement if we don’t work on the story’s events. Now I’m making it sound like elementary. But remember. We do this for a visual novel.
Listing your backgrounds and characters is one thing. But making the sequence treatment is another. You could work both on it at the same time. That’s how I usually do. But I’ll be making another post for the sequence of events ’till next week.
Now, if you don’t have any character sprites and backgrounds for your VN… Then skip the whole post! 😆 But I think it’s a little too late for that. 😛