An Author’s Inspiration, Characters

An Author’s Inspiration, announced earlier, proceeds.

My expectations for this software design is to produce character profiles, and describe character interactions within an A.I. generated outline.

To achieve this my design will take in files written by the author for integration into a structured format.  My design will then produce a text file that presents a full novel or screenplay in a schematic three act style with smaller substructures much like scenes (but called beats).

At the lowest level of utility to an author, this will give a perspective of the complete work within one unified file that offers instruction as to where plot points are located.  To achieve a more distinct outline, An Author’s Inspiration requires that the author create character files.  Within those files are going to be specific characteristics of each character.

Characters are described in their own file.  In that file, a text file, the author enters the following characteristics:

  • called name,
  • age,
  • hardiness,
  • role,
  • shadow,
  • and so on.

These terms deserve attention because the author’s entries for these characteristics are limited to specific terms, or numbers to within certain limitations.  So, my prospective design will look for something with this criteria:

  • called name: a single word such as “Jack” or “Jill.”
  • age: a number as simple as 10 (as in 10 years old).
  • hardiness: a number (integer) between -3 and +3, where negative numbers inform of a low hardiness for this character.
  • role: one of 18 specific archetypes choices (e.g. innocent, warrior, lover, demi-god, demon, ghost, ruler…).  The sense of this entry for the author is for the author to think of their character’s positive persona.
  • shadow: again, one of 18 specific archetypes choices (e.g. innocent, warrior, lover, demi-god, demon, ghost, ruler…).  The sense of this entry for the author is for the author to think of their character’s negative persona.
  • and so on.

As a user of An Author’s Inspiration, the author will probably stumble (or simply experiment) with the concept of archetypes that are invested in their character’s role and shadow.  Experimentation with character files will reveal how changing these entries impacts their character’s responses to plot challenges.

An Author’s Inspiration

I am about to embark on a five novel series I call X-Division Assignments.  I have another series I have been writing, but the time it took to write each novel seemed to take too long.  While reading Charles Willeford’s The Woman Chaser, I was inspired by his protagonist’s commitment to direct a movie.  But first his protagonist, to be professional, had to write a treatment.

It was then that I took this as a sign that I needed to write a treatment of my series.

For fiction (not movies), this meant more about me writing an outline…but treatments I understand too.  I have degrees in both English and Cinema.  However, with a career in engineering, I considered automating the process.  With some experience in design in A.I. (which, in this specific case, relates to artificial intelligence), I have set my sights on using the computer language of prolog.

An Author’s Inspiration will be my software design of an outline generator.  My design will read character descriptions, settings, plot points, and produce an outline based on the three act play format, also known as beats in the film industry.

In future posts I will describe this software tool, and relate the progress of my design work.