Writing A Novel: Loves Of Life

May 22, 2014 by

Writing A Novel: Loves Of Life

Today’s exercise in the process of writing a novel is another notecard project. This time, the question requires you to probe deep inside to fond times in life. It should be a good exercise.  If you’re not in the process of writing, maybe this will help, too, in the process of self-discovery and reflection.

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.

The question is simple:

Who have you been in love with and how did they affect your life?

I’ve been asking readers to take out a stack of 4′ x 6′ notecards in doing these exercises and write down thoughts that come to mind. I’m in the process of writing a novel and these lists, like the ones we’ve been working on the past month, are going to hopefully come in helpful when I get to a point where I’m doing character sketches and needing to add meat to the bones of my characters so they’re realistic, life like and sincere.

At heart, I’ve always been a romantic and hopeful for true love. Unfortunately, throughout much of life, I’ve had a hard time finding it for one reason or another. Moving because my dad was in the air force didn’t help. We moved from one place to another and back again constantly, meaning I got good at getting to know people and starting relationships, but not getting to fulfill them or engage in them long term.  Yeah, that has made for a lot of later pain in my life. But it seems the more the days pass I find that those who didn’t move as much as I did have had their own share of similar issues, so maybe that really isn’t it.

But back to the exercise of the day.  Who have you been in love with? How did they affect your life?  You can add another set of cards for defining what love means to you.  That should take you through several days of reflection.  And remember, this isn’t something you need to do for five minutes and be done with. Each of these cards and questions for them are something one can do over time and will be much more helpful and powerful if it’s done that way.  Remember, life is a marathon, and so is writing a novel. They don’t just pop up out of no where and write themselves. It takes lots of time, effort and thought. Story is a metaphor for life, says Robert McKee. And so goes this exercise.

 

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Writing A Novel – Self-Reflection Questions

May 20, 2014 by

The past few weeks I’ve been covered up with notecards. I’ve not been doing this series of exercises as regular, having moved on to plotting, but these still are important.

I also realized I’ve been saying 3″ x 5″ card when I’m really using blank 4″ x 6″ cards. They have more space obviously and one can get them at Walmart for $0.84 per 100.

TODAY’S EXERCISE

So with your notecards, I suggest you do this study.  It can be good for you if you’re developing characters for a novel, or just trying to get a handle of what’s going/gone on in your life.

So here are four important questions to ponder:

If I could go back in time and fix this, what would it be?

Who has had the greatest impact on you? Why?

What was your darkest hour and how did you survive it?

Suggestions about plotting out a story are coming soon. There still are more important questions to be pondering in self-reflection before we get there. Remember, if you are indeed writing a novel or major work, this isn’t meant to be something you just dive into and it’s done over the weekend. If you want to write a serious, logical piece of work, it’s going to take time, research, and of course, a lot of self-reflection, because most likely, you’re going to find a lot of you meshed into the lives of your characters.

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Writing A Novel: The 10 Best & Worst Things That Have Happened To Me

May 9, 2014 by

Writing A Novel: The 10 Best & Worst Things That Have Happened To Me

Today is Friday, May 9, 2014 and things are wrapping up for the big Mother’s Day weekend here in America.

So as we’re reflecting about life and the sacrifices Mom has made in your life, here’s today’s writing exercise.

The recommendation is to write these out on 3″ x 5″ notecards, but really, any place you want to write them out and think about them is fine.

The idea behind this exercise, those previously mention, and those to come is to help give you a wealth of material to consider if you’re writing a novel, or, if you’re just in a reflective mood about your life in general.

TODAY’S EXERCISE

So take out a sheet of paper, notecards, even your Notes feature on iPad, iPhone or Mac, etc. and think about these next two questions.  It calls for 10. Maybe that’s enough.  Maybe you can/need to do more than that. Either way.  I encourage you to do these exercise in quiet reflection. There are no right or wrong answers. And no one has to see them. This is for you. Did you know that according to mental health experts, most people among us never sit down and do anything like this at any point in their lives? Here’s your chance to do something few others will ever do.

What are the 10 worst things that ever have happened to me?
What are the 10 best things that ever happened to me?

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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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