Writing A Novel – Characteristics of People I Like

Apr 29, 2014 by

Writing A Novel – Characteristics of People I Like

An essential part of a good story is being able to add good qualities and flavor into the lives of your characters. You want to create empathy between them and your readers.  Even your antagonist needs to have a soft spot so your readers/viewers can relate to him/her in some way.  It just makes for a better story.

And so today we continue on with our self-study exploration questions that hopefully will help make it much easier to come up with good things about your characters based on this series of exercises.

The good thing about these exercises is that they also can be helpful and beneficial to someone who just wants to learn a little more about themselves.

Last week we began this series and did some exercises. Saturday’s was to get a stack of 3 x 5 notecards and write about things you like. Yesterday’s was things you do NOT like.

Today we’re going to analyze that a little deeper.

To do the exercise, just fill out the top of a card with a heading, in the case of today’s exercise–Characteristics of people who I have liked–and then number the card in the top right corner. I also like to add the date somewhere so that two or three years from now when I come back to these, I’ll have a better frame of reference as to what was going through my head now versus then. When you fill up a card, start a second, third … as many as it takes.

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.

And if you’re doing these exercises for the benefit of your future characters, think about exposition you will do and even dialogue you will write where this will add an extra dimension to your characters.

Okay, so here’s today’s exercise.

EXERCISE

What are characteristics of people I do like? Is it just superficial as in the way they dress, or look or can you probe deeper and really see somethings. Are they like how you want to be seen?  Are they how you are seen?  What do they do you do not?  What do they do that’s similar?  Keep probing, there’s a lot of good that can come from this.

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Writing a Novel – What Do I Dislike?

Apr 28, 2014 by

Writing a Novel – What Do I Dislike? 

An essential part of a good story is being able to add conflict into the lives of your characters. I’m finding that’s much easier to come up with based on this series of exercises about ME.

Now as I have been saying, these exercises could be helpful to people writing books and all, but as importantly, they might also can be helpful and beneficial to someone who just wants to learn a little more about themselves.

Last week we began this series and did some exercises. Saturday’s was to get a stack of 3 x 5 notecards and write about things you like.

To do the exercise, just fill out the top of a card with a heading, in the case of today’s exercise–Things I Dislike–and then number the card in the top right corner. I also like to add the date somewhere so that two or three years from now when I come back to these, I’ll have a better frame of reference as to what was going through my head now versus then. When you fill up a card, start a second, third … as many as it takes.

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.

And if you’re doing these exercises for the benefit of your future characters, think about situations they might need to get in where they have to face these aspects. If you’re writing about something you don’t like, chances are your characters won’t either, but more importantly, chances are your READERS won’t like them either, and then you have the opportunity to either have your character address the issue or run from it, both good story lines….

Okay, so here’s today’s exercise. Later in the day there’ll be a post about Netflix’ House of Cards and the characters in that series….

EXERCISE

What do I dislike?

Collaborative writing exercises—such as the cl...

Collaborative writing exercises—such as the clustering shown here—can be used for development of ideas. Colored tabs of paper—attached to the large page—are used in a collaborative voting exercise to gain consensus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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It’s Saturday – Time For A Mental Break

Apr 26, 2014 by

It’s Saturday – Time For A Mental Break

My three girls, Reagan, 14, Chandler, 17, and Haley, 14. Yes, that makes R&H twins....

My three girls, Reagan, 14, Chandler, 17, and Haley, 14. Yes, that makes R&H twins….

Since Monday, I’ve made a daily post on the aspects I’ve been using to begin writing a novel. Today is Saturday and I’m going to take a mental break–at least here on the blog.  If you’ve been doing the exercises, you probably should take one, too. (If you’re too tied to it, the next exercise is the opposite of the one from yesterday–things you don’t like….)

Following these exercises has put me on a rewarding and interesting road to self-discovery.  This week I’ve heard from friends on Facebook who have said they’ve enjoyed the exercises and have even gone out and bought 3 x 5 blank notecards to follow in stride. That’s satisfying and invigorating. It gets back to my ClaxtonCreative.com mantra of “telling stories with purpose.”  I’m fulfilling my purpose that I feel God put me here to do.

When God Redefines The Possible

To find inspiration, breakfast and the comfort of chaos, I tend to float around a coffee shops, etc. to feel connected and more importantly, to get my butt out of this chair. It gets quite uncomfy after a while. Yesterday morning, I had another pleasant turn that only God could have engineered. Fate is much less cunning to be able to match this feat.

I met a waitress who is on fire for God in a way one seldom meets in this life. When she was introduced to me through my “regular,” Jessica, and she found out what I was doing, she, too, said she was working on her own novel and was about a year ahead of me. She’s writing a Christian novel and from the fire in her heart, one can only know good things will come from her words. There can be no other possibility. Like I have done so many times before, I shared with her about Dr. John Ed Mathison’s book, When God Redefines The Possible.

Good things have always happened in my life when I’ve been associated with that piece of work, so I’m hoping this young lady, clearly half my age, will find some power and inspiration in John Ed’s work to be able to help her in her own walk and in her own write. It is amazing how God bumps us into the right people at the right time.

I said Monday in my first post about writing that I was on an adventure journey. And like the best of them, you run into people you did not anticipate and learn things you did not know before. Aspects that make life and adventures all that much more rewarding. She said she’s veered off of using an outline to write with and though she didn’t use the term, is being a “pantser.”  (We’ll get into what all this means in coming posts.)

Okay, had a late night. My eldest went to her prom and my twins came over to help get her ready and pose for pics.  This picture sums up what my life is all about–telling stories with purpose, God’s purpose, for the benefit of Him, and the benefit of these three angels–(L to R: Reagan, Chandler and Haley.)

A post about Netflix’s series, House of Cards, is slated for Monday as well as new exercises.  Thanks for reading. It’s time for a mental break.

God bless.

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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?

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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?

 

 

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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.

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