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

Writing a Novel: The project has initiated on DaddyClaxton.com

Apr 21, 2014 by

Writing a Novel: The project has initiated on DaddyClaxton.com

Today on my companion website, DaddyClaxton.com, I’ve begun with announcement. I’ve been working several months now to begin the process of writing a novel. Actually, it really began sometime last year when I began with a print copy of Robert McKee’s book, Story, and spending untold hours with it and an ink pen making active notes throughout the work.

That has spring boarded from a desire as a publisher of online books to an itch to become an author as well. The Beginning Of Writing A Novel

And an even better discovery has happened along the way. I’ve found that in order to be a good novel writer/play write/novella writers, etc. one has to be in very good touch with himself. That has led to a massive self-study effort that you will find reflected in the posts that are to come on DaddyClaxton.com and here on ClaxtonCreative.com.

This is by no means meant to be a week or two-week series. It’s already survived longer than that pre-announcement.

I encourage you to bookmark this site and check back often for new information. Check out DaddyClaxton.com, too.

My friend, mentor and digital book colleague Ron Rose has cautioned me about the enormity of the effort I’ve begun.  I’ve responded in saying that I get it, but in all likelihood, I can’t possibly “get it” until I have completely weathered the task.

If you have tips and ideas along the way, I encourage you to share them.  I don’t believe for a second I will have all right answers and suggestions from those of you at various places in the process will be most helpful.

So here we go. Onward…..

Enhanced by Zemanta
read more

Guy Kawaskai’s Enchantment A Road Map For Success

Mar 7, 2011 by

Guy Kawasaki, American venture capitalist and ...

Image via Wikipedia

We’ve read several of the former Apple evangelist and business guru Guy Kawasaki’s books through the years.  Usually, they require the addition of an ink pen in order to mark up the brilliant insights and ideas that come from reading them.

This month he has released a tenth book entitled, Enchantment–The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions.

At 189 pages, it’s a good read, a good mix of photos, abbreviated notes and bullet points, and and anecdotal references to be, well, enchanting.

Why and What is Enchantment?

We will not play spoiler here on Kawasaki’s perspectives, (that’s what the book is for) but the essence of his writings fall back on some of the most ancient and proven means of doing business or living since the beginning of time–the inclusion of an enchanting story to move others into your corner, to as Kawasaki says, “transform(s) situations and relationships.  It converts hostility into civility.  It reshapes civility into affinity.  It changes skeptics and cynics into believers.”

There are a host of books that play on the themes expressed by Kawasaki: Story, by Robert McKee, The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith, The New Rules of Marketing & Pr by David Meerman Scott, All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin, and the 1999 book, Rules for Revolutionaries, by Mr. Kawasaki himself, but Enchantment takes a reader through the entire process, identifies how to launch it, how to overcome resistance to change, and quite beneficially, “How to use push technology,” like email and Twitter, (Please give us a follow) and “How to use pull technology,” like Websites, blogs, Facebook, (Please like our FB page while you’re here) LinkedIn, (Connect with us here) YouTube (Subscribe to us while you’re here) and cleverly, how to “Think Japanese.” (This goes beyond the Vipers’ song.)

Enchanting Stories We Can Tell

Terry Abbott

Terry Abbott, now the president of Drive West Communications in Houston, is doing quite well on his own in the school public relations business nationwide.  He’s constantly on the road meeting with superintendents and communications departments suggesting ways to stay in the good fight with the local press each day to tell positive and enchanting stories about their respective districts.

We’ve worked with Abbott since June of 1988.  In those days, the Governor’s Press Office in Alabama had just purchased a fax machine.  It was a thermal paper machine and one had to pick up the headset to dial the number and then ask the person on the other line to “Switch me to their fax machine.”  In those days, Abbott, who formerly had been a UPI reporter, understood the need to get news releases, (Not press releases) out to the news media as fast as possible. He called the fax machine, “Our own little wire service.”  And that’s how it was used.  And when an announcement was coming down that say the former U.S. Senator Howell Heflin likely was trying to announce at the same time, we really got into wire service mode because we wanted our release on reporters’ desks first before the senator could get his there.

A few years later after reading in the Birmingham Post-Herald about how the rap singer Ice T had released his album Body Count with the horrid song  “Cop Killer,” our owner made a recommendation to Abbott saying, “We should ask every record store in the state to stop selling this.” The next day, Gov. Guy Hunt made national news for taking a stand and by the end of the day, the big record store chains in Alabama were removing it from their shelves. (We did this two weeks before Vice President Dan Quayle and President George W. Bush jumped in.) By the end of a month’s time, the record company was taking it off the record/disc.  At the end of that day, we were quite pleased at the success of our effort to do the right thing.  Abbott said, “It’s nice to so something good for a change.” That month, Gov. Hunt was on the front page of Billboard magazine.  But that wasn’t why we did it.  We believed then and still do, that selling a record that enchants others to think about killing police officers has no place in our world.

Veronica Galaviz

One of our most enchanting clients to date is Veronica Galaviz.  Her Website and budding charity is called Living To Share.

The venture is appropriately named.  After going through the proper legal channels beginning in Nov. 2009 and on into April of 2010, Galaviz was trying to divorce her husband.  She was in an abusive relationship and had even filed court documents that restrained his presence around her.  He violated the court’s orders multiple times and Galaviz reported the matters to her local police department.  But each time they said they didn’t have enough evidence to make an arrest.  Even with surveillance video from in front of her house showing him slash the rear right tires of a car in her driveway, the Rowlett, Texas Police Department failed to act.

On the night of April 21, 2010 about about 1:30 a.m., her husband broke into her home, tried to shoot her with a shotgun, and after she had escaped the house, he set it on fire and then shot himself.

She’s now on a mission to help others dealing with abusive relationships and trying to bring about changes in the laws of Texas.  The rest of America is next.

Galaviz is operating on one single enchanting premise: She’s Living To Share because she firmly believes God kept her alive to carry out her mission of raising awareness about the problems of enforcement of protective orders and domestic violence.

Enchantment

It’s these types of stories that make a difference, not only in marketing terms, but in real, practical ways of life.

This is why our company is different from any other PR firm here in Dallas and in many other cities across America.  At age 21, our owner was still in college and through a still unnamed police officer, was given a list of 17 people living in Montgomery, AL in Sept 1987 who were said to be “Known AIDS Victims.” No other news outlet in media market 112 ever was able to obtain the same information and it became a national news story.  The point then was that everyone should be treated alike, and two, the list allegedly maintained by the Montgomery Police Department, wasn’t as well secured as they thought it was.

We understand the importance of not just putting out a press release and sending it out on PR Newswire and letting our clients bask in the glow of a 8-pound clip book at year’s end and use that as a measure of our success.  That’s neither enchanting nor accurate.

Summary

Kawasaki’s book Enchantment now is on sale.  We strongly recommend you buy a copy and read it cover to cover.  Mark it up as you go along.  Then re-read it.  Write notes in the margins, write notes to yourself in your daily journal of the things you want to come back to.  That’s what we’ve done.  We seek to be enchanting as well.  Otherwise we’d just be like the other PR Firms in Dallas and there are enough of those already.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
read more

Pin It on Pinterest