Tristan Bancks | Australian Children's & Teen Author | Kids' & YA Books: Two Wolves / On the Run Vision Board

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Two Wolves / On the Run Vision Board


Pre-visualisation has always been my favourite part of the storytelling process. It's all about imagining the possibilities for the story. You gather visual references and build a look and feel and you discover the best way to tell the story. It forces you to rely on emotion and instinct. At first you don't know what you want but when you see it you know it's right.

I learnt to pre-visualise by making projects for film and television but it's very useful in the novel-writing process, too. Here are some of the visual and aural references that I gathered while writing my book Two Wolves (known as On the Run in the US). (Apologies to copyright-holders in these images. Please let me know if it's yours and I can credit you!)

This post is the second in a series on that book in the lead-up to Children's Book Week. Here is last week's post: 5 Things I Learned While Writing Two Wolves.

These images capture the mood and tone of the story for me, even though the kid in the image is younger than Ben Silver.

I think this is from an Xbox or Playstation campaign and the fear and secrecy and loneliness in the kid's eyes really captured something of the predicament facing my characters in Two Wolves.
My wolves are metaphorical but the stillness and honesty in this wolf's face is what I wanted to capture in my approach to telling the story.
I loved making movies with friends as a teenager. This is an image of Stephen Spielberg on the set of one of his teen films. Ben Silver in Two Wolves, is on the run with his parents who have committed a crime, a highly unusual situation, so making Ben a filmmaker gave me a 'way in' to him and allowed me to write him as honestly as I could.

This is the rough plan for one of our dodgy films as teens. I gave the title Within the Woods to the film that Ben Silver is making in Two Wolves. The sketch above gave me the idea for the plot of the scene that Ben is working on when his life is turned upside down.
Stand By Me is one of my favourite films of all-time. It's based on Stephen King's The Body. This image, for me, captures the melancholy mood of Two Wolves and the loneliness, possibility and adventure in the story.

This album was my constant companion throughout the writing process. I will blog the entire book soundtrack in coming weeks. I like the timelessness of this image and the music.

This is Band of Horses. I can't grow a beard this thick and I do not have an impressive, long-legged bird on the roof of my pickup truck (nor do I have a pickup truck) but the earthiness of these guys, the honesty of their music, dared me to be more honest. Plus, the guy at the front looks like he'd make an excellent cup of coffee.
Keane is another band I listened to throughout the writing period. This song dropped me right down into the feeling of Two Wolves and it has an energy that would get me going on days when I just didn't feel like writing.

I gather images off the Web when I'm vision-boarding / pre-visualising, but I also take shots on my phone. This was a cabin I found in the bush in the Blue Mountains and it became the model for the cabin that Ben and his little sister Olive are taken to in Two Wolves (I made a few modifications).

As well as visual and aural materials, an outline emerges and evolves as the book grows. I write first, outline later, then write another draft. It's a messier, juicier way to write for me, rather than outlining up-front. The first step outline for Two Wolves happened around draft three.
I first jotted the idea for Two Wolves after watching news stories about kids who had actually been taken on the run by their criminal parents and I tried to make the story feel as real as I possibly could. When I made the book trailer I decided to take the story full-circle and return to the TV news format.



Here is the Story Scrapbook for Two Wolves, created after the book was published but using some of the images and maps and music that inspired the writing. You can explore and click and swipe and play with the elements in the Scrapbook and you can use our site www.storyscrapbook.com as a pre-visualisation tool for your own story.


Next week, I'll dive into another aspect of the story. And here is a post with my views on Creativity, published today on Damien Madden's blog.

Cheers. Love to hear your thoughts on pre-visualisation and vision-boarding in comments below. :)

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7 comments

Pat Loughlin said...

A really interesting insight into your writing process. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely have to pick up a copy of Two Wolves now for sure. Some of my students have told me it is excellent. I may have to listen to Band of Horses as well.

Tristan Bancks said...

Thanks Pat. 'Band of Horses' well worth a listen. Love to hear your thoughts on TWO WOLVES. ;) Tristan.

KathW-P said...

Just finished reading Two Wolves....WOW!!! had many things on my agenda for Saturday, none of which came to fruition as I was glued to your book and couldn't put it down. Absolutely LOVED it. Kept thinking of the wails of NOOOOOO!! DONT STOP!! that will invariably emanate from my grade 5/6 students at the end of reading out loud sessions. Love your style and am looking forward to hunting down more of your books. Loved My Side of the Mountain and The Hatchet also and have developed units of work based on them that the kids loved. So looking forward to sharing your work with the kids! Thanks so much for a very entertaining Saturday! Kath

KathW-P said...

Just finished reading Two Wolves....WOW!!! had many things on my agenda for Saturday, none of which came to fruition as I was glued to your book and couldn't put it down. Absolutely LOVED it. Kept thinking of the wails of NOOOOOO!! DONT STOP!! that will invariably emanate from my grade 5/6 students at the end of reading out loud sessions. Love your style and am looking forward to hunting down more of your books. Loved My Side of the Mountain and The Hatchet also and have developed units of work based on them that the kids loved. So looking forward to sharing your work with the kids! Thanks so much for a very entertaining Saturday! Kath

Tristan Bancks said...

Hi Kath
That is such a nice message to receive, not only that you enjoyed the book, but that you're going to share it with your students. There are great teaching materials clickable from the TWO WOLVES page on my site.

Best,

Tristan.

Michele Micallef said...

Hi Tristan,
I'm in the process of reading Two Wolves to my Grade 5/6's. The focus in term three is 'creating a memorable and enjoyable reading experience' and I've invited my kids to bring snacks, pillows, slippers, hot chocolate, blankets...into their library lessons to listen to me read your novel. We are absolutely loving uncovering Ben's story together as I've deliberately not read it previously so I can share in the experience with my very enthusiastic students. Can't wait to see what happens next!
Michele Micallef

Tristan Bancks said...

Hi Michelle. This sounds so good. I want to don my slippers, drag over a beanbag and listen to you read it, too. I might find out something new.

I'm enjoying working on my new book so hopefully it won't be too long before you have another.

Thanks for sharing the book.

;)

T

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