As I move through the routine of recasting from a story from The Order of the Phoenix to one of my own in my X-Division Assignment series, I have the options of renaming characters, changing the plot, changing the setting, and more. Or, I can do a wholesale restart, from the ground up, so to speak.
Well, as practiced as I am at using my software (I did this once, after all, for TOOTP), I’ve also encountered the astonishing mess that can come from wholesale changes. For sanity’s sake, let’s step away from massive shifts toward slight modifications of the characters supplied in the distribution of An Author’s Inspiration.
One at a time, I add my own characters and run An Author’s Inspiration to test how the new character fits into the generated outline. If all goes well, I add another. Repeating this process brings in a new cast who has yet to be integrated into the plot, but I am safe with my characters, as far as they go (possibly because they were cut and pastes over duplicates of the Harry Potter characters).
So, for those that need clear directions: copy (duplicate) one of the The Order of the Phoenix characters into a new character file. For instance, if your heroine is called Francesca, take Harry.character and copy it to Francesca.character. That alone is sufficient for your first move. Leave Harry.character alone (it will be removed later). From there, second and following moves all go to editing the contents of Francesca.character to match the characteristics you think Francesca exhibits (or hides).
Repeat the paragraph above for each of your other characters. Feel free to re-brand Harry Potter character files with your own characters as that seems natural. In time, and through your editing of them, these original characters will fade away to leave the flower of your creation to blossom.
The next step is to put those characters into story.plot, a configurable file that the writer edits to describe setting and plot points across 29 beats.
For those that need clear directions: edit story.plot so that it contains your character names (replace Harry Potter character names with your character names). That alone is sufficient for your first move with this file. At this time, ignore all other entries—leave them alone for now. Run An Author’s Inspiration to test how the new story.plot fits into the generated outline.
These steps alone are sufficient to turn the ship of The Order of the Phoenix onto a new course toward my X-Division Assignment series’ destination. The outline generated by An Author’s Inspiration still reveals many of the Harry Potter characters and plot situations, but like a suntan in late September, that will fade as we progress through owning the final outline.
Those refinements, and the strategies involved will follow.