Writing A Novel: What I Like….

Apr 25, 2014 by

Writing A Novel : What I Like….

This is a series offered by DaddyClaxton.com and ClaxtonCreative.com about the process of preparing and writing a novel.

Just a few examples of things I like, written out weeks ago in planning for my novel work and self-discovery.

Just a few examples of things I like, written out weeks ago in planning for my novel work and self-discovery.

Presently, we are engaged in initial and exhaustive exercises designed first as a self-study following the logic that if one is going to invent characters to go inside a work of literature, one probably needs to do some self-study about oneself beforehand.

That’s what’s being done and proposed in today’s exercise. The task is simple. I suggest getting out a fresh stack of notecards and creating a long list. Atop of each card, write the name of the exercise subject, as in today’s — What Do I Like? — and then put a number 1 at the top right corner. When you fill up the first card, you can make one, two or three columns, start a new card and at the top of the second write WDIL and a 2 on it, and so on as you build a list. (I always put the date somewhere on these 4.25.14. Someday, that might have extra meaning–legally or personally.)

The premise for doing these cards is simple: when you want to bring a character to life and you’re looking for unique or fun things about them, or even bad things from other cards, it should prove helpful to be able to go back to today’s exercise and find a gem or many to apply.

This exercise, and the other ones being posted, also are designed to help a person dive deep inside their heart and find do some self discovery. If one can identify things they do like and then begin to ponder why it’s been a month, six months or two decades since the last time it was done or enjoyed, well, maybe that might move you to change something in your life or, maybe even discard it because you like it too much.  And you know, that might really turn out to be a life-changing event whether you’re writing a novel or not….

EXERCISE – 5

Take out your notecards and begin to make a list of answers to today’s topic. We suggest you use 3 x 5 cards and label each card with the nature of the question and number them. You are encouraged to do more than one card, but if you can encompass the whole realm one one card, then that’s all you can do….. Enjoy.

What do I like?

Enhanced by Zemanta
read more

Related Posts

Tags

Share This

Writing A Novel: What I Do NOT Want To Be Remembered For

Apr 24, 2014 by

Writing A Novel: What I Do NOT Want To Be Remembered For

Welcome to my series about writing a novel. We are in the beginning stages of a self-study designed to help one whether writing a novel or just interested in identifying ways to learn more about oneself.

Today's exercise: Things you do NOT want to be remembered for....

Today’s exercise: Things you do NOT want to be remembered for….

If you’ve not read the previous posts associated with this thread here on DaddyClaxton.com, I encourage you to jump back to the beginning on Monday, April 21, 2014.

Regardless, today’s exercise is designed to help tickle thoughts about oneself that hopefully can be beneficial.

There are no right or wrong answers here and one need not post their thoughts anywhere. In fact, this is a highly private exercise series.

To take part, I’ve been encouraging people to use 3 x 5 blank notecards, a good pen and their imaginations to do the daily exercise.  Start by writing the day’s question at the top of the card and number them as you go. It’s okay to just put one column or two or three, depending on how big you write. But the point is, to be honest with yourself. Today’s question is a legacy question, one we all must ask ourselves from time-to-time throughout life. This can be a motivational question or it can be a bucket list type question, particularly today.  Spinoffs from this card series today are perfectly fine and even expected and hoped for. If you can identify things you’ve done in the past that you don’t want to be remembered for, maybe you start a list of things you can do to ensure that doesn’t happen or the impact of what was done is outweighed by something more positive or beneficial to others.

The premise for these cards for those writing a novel is to keep an inventory of characteristics that can be projected onto fictional characters once a writer begins the process of writing a novel. But honestly, they can be just as positive or beneficial to someone who just wants to enjoy more about what this life has to offer.

You don’t have to post your list below. If you’d like to share, that’s perfectly fine. But this really is designed for a personal study and reflection.

EXERCISE

What I DO NOT wanted to be remembered for?

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
read more

Writing A Novel: A Self-Study

Apr 23, 2014 by

Writing A Novel: A Self Study Of Me…

Go buy several stacks of 3 x 5 notecards and keep them with you where ever you go.

Go buy several stacks of 3 x 5 notecards and keep them with you where ever you go.

At the suggestion of Robert McKee from his book, STORY, for more than a month now I have been carrying around stacks of plain, white 3 x 5 notecards and writing nearly everything I can think about on them. That is as it pertains to the process of penning my first novel.

For several years now I have made it a regular practice to carry with me a sketchpad. Some day my daughters and dear friend, the former Ms. Julie Nelson, are going to find them tucked a way and find out more about dad than they ever realized was going on in this head of mine. Actually, that will probably fill in a lot of gaps with them as to where my brain was when they said I wasn’t talking so much and seemed like I was somewhere else.

But for the past month, I’ve converted over to the stack of notecards and various rubberbands sectioning off a pile associated with this, that and whatever else it is I’ve uncovered, realized or thought about either in the form of research, “What if…” exercises, and plot ideas.

More importantly, there’s also been stacks of cards associated with WHO I AM. Whether I was writing this book or not, those would be invaluable to me.

Back in 2008 or so on a plane ride to somewhere up east I did a similar exercise and listed out all the roles I was playing in life, things like son, husband, brother, father, writer, painter, blogger, etc. (See yesterday’s post for this exercise.)

But through my own devices and hints from McKee, I’ve come to realize that in order to write a convincing story, I’m going to have to dig deep into research, and not just research into the technical nature of places and things that are going to be in my story, but most importantly, I’m going to have to dig down deep and find out what’s inside of me.

EXERCISE

So here’s what I did and what I encourage you to do, whether you’re reading the blog to see what I’m up to or if you’re on a similar journey to write a novel, short story, novella, play, movie script, whatever. You need to find out first and foremost who you are.

On separate 3 x 5 notecards, write out the answers to the following two questions:

Who am I? 

What do I want to be remembered for?

This exercise from today and the ones to follow should take you DAYS to work through and there are dozens of other questions I’d suggest you spin off from these. If you’re serious about writing, if you’re serious about doing something positive and helpful for yourself, I suggest you go to Walmart and buy three or four packs of black 3 x 5 notecards. (They’re like $0.84 at Walmart and $1.99 for the same thing at Albertsons.)

When you get home, out on the porch, are sitting in the middle of Chick Fil A, Cracker Barrel, Panera Bread, Firehouse Subs, or where ever it is you go to perch, (I don’t drink coffee, so I took Starbucks off the initial suggestions list but if you do, put it back on) take out some blank cards, make sure you’ve brought a good writing pen–my favorites are ones from bedside at hotels–and write the question at the top of the card and start writing what comes to mind on the card. When you fill up the front of the card, start a second with initials of the question on the top of the second, with a number 2 and keep answering the question. And keep going and going and going card after card after card.

Remember, this is a journey, not a sprint. This isn’t a one afternoon activity and it’s time to start writing something. So don’t rush this. Whether you ever get to the point of starting a book about an adventure you want to share with the world or not, just doing this introspection will tell you things about yourself you do not realize right now.

Seriously.

Enhanced by Zemanta
read more

Who Am I? The Self-Discovery Caused From Writing A Novel

Apr 22, 2014 by

Who Am I? The Self-Discovery Caused From Writing A Novel

Traverse-Adeventure-514-198x300

My childhood window, upstairs and down. I used to sit at these windows and write when I was in elementary school at KI Sawyer AFB in Michigan and we lived at 208 Fortress.

Somewhere back in time at 208 Fortress Street in base housing of the former Strategic Air Command’s K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I would sit at a kidney bean family heirloom desk with a children’s red type writer and “write.” I would sit in front of the lower window you see in the photo to the right and I would write.

A few years later in Mrs. Reid’s eighth-grade journalism class at Mitchell Sr. Elementary School in Atwater, CA circa 1979-80, I received the worst grade I’ve ever received on a writing project–an F, for refusing to write a short, fictional story. Note, it was a journalism class.

During my senior year of college at Auburn University at Montgomery, in 1987, I received one of my best writing grades–an A, in Nancy Anderson’s Advanced Expository Writing class. Mrs. Anderson, who went by the self-proclaimed nickname “the Dragon Lady,” almost never awarded works with such grades, but I am proud to say, I am one of the few. During that quarter I was taking 24 hours of classes, working on the school newspaper and working at a local department store to help pay for school.

Writing, and principled writing, has been a part of my life since I can remember.

But I am learning at age 48 there still is much I have to learn about writing.

My late maternal grandmother, Joyce Sheptak, used to always to encourage me to “write what I know,” the oft used cliche nearly every writer knows. She always used to cite “I Remember Momma” as her impetus for the suggestion.

During the past month or so since I began this new novel writing practice, I’ve studied much about what I know and come to the conclusion that my writing shouldn’t be as much about “what I know” but about “who I am.”

And that’s led to some amazing self-discovery and analysis. My counselor, friend and web client, Dr. Harold Duncan of Dallas, Texas says right now I’m actually doing something that almost 95 percent of the population, or more, never will do, whether writing a novel or not.

I’m trying to really find out who I am.

WHO AM I?

That’s been an amazing question to ponder. Dr. Duncan says that at age 48 it’s about time I started asking myself such questions. As he has explained, you can’t do what I’m doing in your teens, 20s, 30s or even really in one’s early 40s. In life, we’re just not ready. Our perspectives on such an exercise would be highly skewed.

Think about that for a moment. In our teens, we clearly have no clue about what life is about. We think we do. Many parents have done much to help get us ready to leave and cleave by age 18 and graduation from high school, but even as the eldest of five children, I can honestly assert, I wasn’t ready for that.

Our 20s are spent trying to find a vibrant career and in large part, mine were also spent thinking I needed to find a spouse to start a family. God had other plans.

Our 30s are spent in family and work mode.

Our 40s leap up fast and we think we have become experts about what this life is about and all of a sudden someone pulls a rug out from under you and everything that once was up is down and what was down is now up.

And at least for me, after enduring that mid-40s upsetting of what I thought was going to be a smooth sail to the finish line, I can honestly sit here and pen this. I have some new perspectives on life I didn’t have before.

So who am I? I’m not the person I was at any other point in my life. When I was younger I held the perspective that I probably couldn’t write fiction because ultimately, I hated to see the travesties of life inflicted on my characters. I wanted and thought and longed for a smooth life. I thought that was still possible. After being wronged, cheated and having lost nearly every element of normalcy to my life I once held as dear, I finally feel like I can skewer a character or two of my own in my stories.

More about me to follow. This is, after all, a journey. We’re not going all the way in one or two posts.

 EXERCISE

Time to step away from the computer for a bit, take out a piece of paper and a pen and think about yourself.  Do this exercise:

1) Write down one or two words that describe each of the various roles you currently play in your life.

Fill up the page. Do two or three. That’s fine, there are no right or wrong answers, so long as you’re being honest with yourself. This isn’t for anyone else to see, so be brutally honest with yourself. The more honest you are with you, the more you will get out of this activity, whether you’re going to write a novel or simply work on better defining who you are.

2) Once you’ve made a sizable list go back thru it. What roles are you in that are positive? Are there any that are negative? Do you need to change any of them?  If there are roles you think you need to change, I recommend getting out a 3 x 5 notecard and putting them on a separate list. We’ll come back to them later.

 

My Novel Project

The Beginning April 21, 2014

Enhanced by Zemanta
read more

Writing A Novel: A Guide And Record Of How I’m Going To Do It

Apr 21, 2014 by

Writing A Novel: A Guide And Record Of How I’m Going To Do It

It’s been about a month and a half now since I began an adventure and as yet, I’ve not really told many what I’m doing. As I sit here and type, I even have a hesitation, something akin to having had a few miscarriages previously and waiting to announce a pregnancy until it’s well enough along. Being a man, assuredly male, I can convincingly say I am not pregnant, but I have begun an exploratory effort to birth out something seemingly as difficult–I’ve begun to write my first novel.

The use of notecards is essential in design of a literary work. More on why in coming posts.

The use of notecards is essential in design of a literary work. More on why in coming posts.

That’s not saying I’ve actually begun writing anything. Nothing of what will be the book, provided I finish this process from beginning to end, has dare been written yet. In fact, everything I’ve read so far suggests I should not even begin typing “the book” for several more months, and some might even argue, YEARS.

What I intend to do in a series of posts is document this journey in hopes that others shall find peace, confidence, clues or helpful tips about what to and not to do in their own right/write.

It is my desire at this writing to supply information about how I:

  • Got interested in my topic
  • Did my research
  • Read about how to write a story
  • Went from idea to concept to premise and beyond
  • Wrote a fictional novel

So many factors will depend on my success or failure. Things like:

  • Available time when I should be doing work for clients
  • Available mental time
  • Available information
  • Available drive

Lots of things. And many more not on the above list.

Writing a novel, it appears, is not for the faint of heart. But after multiple sessions now with my counselors, my sister, and other confidants, the greatest thing that’s happening here is that I am mentally getting “unstuck.” I’m told I’m breaking free from the things in my life from the past four years and clicking things into another gear. That’s not me saying that, that’s the general observation. And if you read any of my past history, you will see that’s a big, big step.

THE PLAN

So what’s the plan? That’s a good question and one I’m going to seek to sum up here.

First of all, I’m going to type out a series of posts for the site(s) daddyclaxton.com and claxtoncreative.com and maybe another one to be announced later, and begin to include regular posts as I go throughout the process. I also will include information on Twitter @daddyclaxton and @claxtoncreative. I have some additional tips and ideas that shall come from that later.

In those posts, it is my intent as of  April 21, 2014, to begin providing regular information about the process. That will include reviews of the books I’ve read to get me into this mess, as well as ones I’ve bought and read word-for-word religiously once I left port. And I shall share other insights from reviews of existing literature.

Once I’ve established enough about the materials used to get into the process, I will begin to write ABOUT the actual process. Where does one begin? How does one begin? Where’s the middle? What’s the end?

I also shall write about the tools I’ve found to go through this process. That in and of itself has been a lesson.

There will be discoveries and set backs along the way, things I cannot forecast right now that I shall address as I come to them. This is, after all, a journey. And a journey in life isn’t any fun, nor decent, if it goes from start to finish exactly as expected?

So it’s time now to close this initial post. The seed has been planted. Water has been poured on the ground. It’s time to see if anything can break through to the surface.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
read more

Pin It on Pinterest