Saturday, September 19, 2015

Road to Writing - Outline

Hi All,

The journey continues in preparing a story.  We've done some work so far in what our characters should look like, where the location of our story will take place and what some of the buildings may look like.

Now it's time to outline or plan some of the things we'd like to happen in our story.  Think about your plot, think about sub-plots and specific scenes or conversations you'd like characters to have.

There is no right or wrong way to organize your story.  You can use folders for each of the items you have or you can enter it onto one sheet.  I like to use a word document to lay things out. I like to break the document into sections: Plot, Secondary Story Lines, Specific Scenes and Other.

I don't always write up this document. I sometimes will use colored sheets of paper and cut them with ideas or write what I want to do with my story in a journal book.  My advice is to use a technical that works best for you. 

That's the key to writing your story, using the tools you have and using them the best way possible to create your story.

Today I'm leaving you with a video by Sirenia - The Path to Decay.  Enjoy!

Rock on!
~Maynard

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Road to Writing - Character Appearances

Hi All,

Well, it's time to move along with our characters.  If you have character names then you might have an idea what your character(s) might look like.  By now you might have an idea of their appearance and the clothes they might wear.

What your character looks like is just as important as to what they wear.  What they wear helps shape your character and in trying to determine what your characters should wear, go to clothing websites or any website that sells clothing and start looking at clothes for your characters.

As an example, I recently went on a women's clothing website to find an outfit for the lead character in a story I'm working on.  My character is in her 20's and I envisioned her to look a certain way, that her clothes needed to reflect that she's an introvert and depressed. 

Her clothes need to reflect the darkness that she has about herself.  I found a nice jacket I wanted her to wear and a scarf to go with.  By finding the clothes I wanted her to wear and having pictures of the clothing it helped me describe the clothing better in my story.  My character went from wearing a wool short coat to wearing a black double-breasted wool short coat with a cotton teal scarf. 

If it's helpful, get sheets of paper out and create your character appearance on them so that when you write it's in front of you.  You can do this electronically too by creating files for each of your characters.

By doing this, you can see how your characters fit together.  Think of a play or a Broadway show and how the cast is complimentary to each other regarding their wardrobe.  Essentially this is what you are doing.  You're creating a character appearance palette.

This can be a fun thing to do and obviously how much you put into it is up to you.  It's not a requirement or something that many people do but with anything it's another tool to help you along.

Typically, I leave you with a music video but today I am leaving you with a commercial starring former Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Sharp which fits into today's theme.  Enjoy the chuckle.

Rock on!
~Maynard





Sunday, June 28, 2015

Road to Writing - Main Character

Hi All,

Apologies for the hiatus but I had a chance to take a software testing class and so I went for it. Now that I am done with that, I hope to be back here writing posts more often.

In my last post, I gave you homework in writing down names to potentially use for your characters. Do add to your list, let it grow to 10 pages if that's where it takes you. Your list of names is very important and you'll go back to it over and over.

Today, we're going to concentrate on a supporting or main character.  You may not know exactly the role the character is going to play in your story and that's okay.  What we're going to do is jot down some basic things about your character.

In your journal book, on index cards or in a computer file, start on a blank page or card and write an attribute about your character.  If you already know the name of your character, write it at the top of the page or card. I have listed an example of the list you want to create for your character.

*Name
*Gender
*Eye Color
*Hair Color
*Physical Attributes
*Hobbies
*Occupation
*Special Skills

Now, this is just an example and you may have many more items to add about your character.  Adding more or using the basic list above is fine.  There is no right or wrong answer as you begin to construct your character.

Once you do one of your characters, try another, and another.  You'll find that you'll be able to write about your characters more easily and really flesh out who they are.  If there is a photo of a model or various people who make up the appearance of your character, cut their photos out and use those to inspire you when you write your character.

The characters in my most recent book were based on people that have been in my life at one point or another.  I've changed them drastically from the people I knew but their foundations are based on real people.  I have characters that are based on random strangers too. Plain people who I've passed walking down the street.

The world is filled with characters and many of them reside right in your own head.

Okay, that's it for me today.  Start writing about your characters and give them names if you are ready to.

Today's music treat is: Pink Floyd "Coming Back To Life"



Rock On!
~Maynard



Saturday, May 9, 2015

Road to Writing - Names

Hi All,

Today's adventure is all about  - names.

Naming your characters is an important thing.  Think of all the books you've read and which characters have stayed with you all these years.  Characters development is important and will get to that in another post but today I want to address names. 

The name you give your character is not always an easy thing.  There are characters I write and I know right away what their name will be other times I struggle to give a character a name. The name you choose for your characters should be appropriate and it should fit them.

If you are writing a period piece and you have a name you wish to give a character, do research to make sure that particular name existed during that time period.  The reverse can be said if you are writing a modern piece. 

Your assignment is to write down a list of names you like.  Watch the credits of your favorite TV show to see if a name jumps out at you, whether it's the first or last name. Look through a book of baby names, magazines, movies, names are all around so write down the ones you like.

If you come up with a name that is unique or a variation of one, put it in its own column. What I mean by that is for instance, in my recent book, my main character Azlyn, her name is a variation of the name Aslan which I saw as someones last name. I saw this name in the credits of a TV show I watch.  Azlyn is an unusual name and so I set it aside so I wouldn't forget it.

Always have a list of names you like and keep adding to it.  Don't dismiss a name thinking it can only be used as a first name or a last name.  I wrote a story once using the name Jepson which was someones last name but I found it to be a very suitable first name.

Go forth and have fun my friends.  Today's musical treat is Seth MacFarlane.

Rock on!
~Maynard









Friday, March 20, 2015

Keep That Creativity Going!

Hi All,

By now you should have found a journal book, written down a few quotes and taken notice of the things around you.

Today, I want to help move you forward in your adventure in writing by scanning a real estate website or a real estate magazine that you find at your local supermarket.  The goal is to find houses that get your attention or features of houses and buildings that you like.

When you find a few that you like, take a look at how the houses are described.  This will help you when you want to describe a house and help you learn the style of house you like. Is it a Ranch, a Cape Cod, Victorian, Modern, etc.

Keep track of the pictures you find. Place them in your journal or in a special folder that you are keeping your writing in. 

If you are feeling adventurous, try this:

Take one of your quotes and connect it to something you observed around you and then to the house you recently found.

Don't worry it you can't connect the items together smoothly.  Just do the best at writing a couple of paragraphs or how many you feel comfortable in writing.

Good luck!  Here is Gary Moore - Whiskey in the Jar.
~Maynard

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Road to Writing - Everyday Things

Hi All -

By now you have picked out a journal book and perhaps have gathered some quotes.  Well, the journey to opening your creativity and getting you to write continues with this weeks topic - Everyday Things.

Yes, everyday things.  The problem is you may not notice things because your face is buried in your phone.  So put the phone down.  Put it down!  Take a moment and look around you. Go outside if you're not there already and observe the world around you.  Take notice of the little cafe down the street with the colorful window display, the kid on the swing, the way the birds soar in the air, how about the dad walking with his kid?

See? When you put your phone down you notice stuff and also cut down on your chances of getting hit by a car or falling down a manhole because you're paying attention.

Stories are born from the things around us. They play a part in a story we wish to create. Yes, believe it or not the little everyday things around us play a part in writing.

Take for instance, the idea of a little cafe with a colorful window display. The cafe could be a popular town hang out. It might be where your characters always meet when they get together. The cafe could be part of a characters memory.  The little cafe can be anything.  It can be a major or minor part of a story.

You get to create the cafe. You get to pick the type of tables and chairs it has.  What color are the walls.  Is it a little mom and pop cafe or a an upscale kind of place.  This is where your imagination can be set free.

The great thing about being a writer is that you get to create and mold or destroy your creations.

This week I challenge you to put the phone away for 15 minutes a day and write down what you see around you.  Write down the things that grab your attention.  You don't have to go into great detail but write enough that you can work with it later.

Good luck is this little adventure.

Your musical treat this week is Kenny Wayne Shepherd - I Found Love When I Found You.

Rock on!
~Maynard




 




Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Road to Writing - Quotes

There are ways to get the creative juices flowing especially the writing kind.  For those that want to be better writers or are scared because they think they can't, as I stated before we all can write. It's just easier for some of us to whip out a pen and begin.

So to bridge the gap of "I can write" and "I can't write" I offer up something that is relatively easy to do.  Consider it this week's homework assignment or for that matter, this month's homework assignment and that is to write down quotes.

Our lives are surrounded by lyrics, memorable movie quotes and in general quotes in books or things we see on a board in a store window.  Write these things down because these quotes can lead to writing ideas or other creative adventures.  Plus, these quotes can be starting off points if you struggle to find the right words to start off a sentence.  Quotes can provide you with the right inspiration.  When you write down a quote, make sure you write down who said it or it's point of origin.  The more information you have about the quote the better it will help you.

Here a few of my favorite quotes:

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. E. L. Doctorow

Two hours of writing fiction leaves this writer completely drained. For those two hours he has been in a different place with totally different people.  Roald Dahl

Each writer is born with a repertory company in his head. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. … I have 10 or so, and that’s a lot. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them. - Gore Vidal

I almost always urge people to write in the first person. … Writing is an act of ego and you might as well admit it.  - William Zinsser

When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature. - Ernest Hemingway


Good luck in collecting your quotes!

Rock on!
~Maynard








 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Start the Road to Creativity

Hi All,

I mentioned in previous post that some people feel that they can't write. That it's something unattainable for them when in fact it's not.  Anyone can write, it's just that some feel they can't or don't know how to get started.  They want to journal write or attempt to write the novel in their head but are scared to do so.

Writing is like any other creative endeavor, it just needs to be nurtured so it can grow. It's a matter of finding the voice inside you and letting it out, to not be afraid of the words it speaks.  If anything, you must embrace the voice of creativity that lurks in  you.

Writing can take various forms - poetry, essay, short stories, and novels are just some examples of the things we can wield with a pen or a keyboard. Writing is more than communication, it's a voice that offers us insight and worlds unknown.  It is up to us to explore and share.

Over the years, I've been in discussions with people who are unsure how to get their creativity going and so today I offer a starting point to open the flood gates.  It's time to awaken the creative part of yourself!

The first part of this writing adventure is to get a journal book.  Any kind of book is fine but make sure it's one that will serve the purpose of your adventure. If you feel that you're more of a computer person then set up a folder for your writing to go in.  I would however recommend going the journal book route because your journal book is more organic in nature.  You can do things with it that you can't do with a computer.

To begin your adventure do the following:

1) Buy a journal book (or set up a special writing folder on your computer);
2) Make sure you have a good set of pens for writing;
3) Write down your writing goal(s) and write a brief description about it.

You're already on your way into the world of creativity.  Don't freak out about your writing goals.  You may not have any or maybe your goal is simply to try writing.

As always, I leave you with a musical treat.  Crank this up and get your groove on as Freddie King reminds us to "Let The Good Times Roll".

Rock on!
~Maynard





Saturday, January 3, 2015

The New Year Begins

Another year is in the books! The past year, 2014, flew by fast for me while I worked on my book and published it.  I started a new story in November which has the potential to be turned into my next published book if I choose or split into multiple books. 

The past year saw many creative projects for me besides writing and as 2015 starts I have plenty of creative projects I wish to accomplish this year.  One of those creative projects is working on a creative journal book.  I have made a rough copy of it. It's not meant to be a real book but the possibility is there.

Many people freeze up when it comes to writing or just trying to be creative.  The journal is more like a yearly planner but there are things to do per month like write down a quote that you connect with or go out and do a random act of kindness.  There is more to it but it is very simplistic.  Writing or being creative overwhelms people who normally are not in that mindset.  The journal is to help bridge that world.

I took up knitting again and hope to finish the scarf that I have begun.  I am using one of those looms you see in craft stores which makes it a bit easier than the traditional use of knitting needles.

I do want to make an attempt to take more photos.  I loved taking photos as a kid and while photos these days are digital it takes all the fun out of getting them developed and seeing what you get back.  I miss those days of submitting a roll of film.

Ah - the good ol' days.

I want to wish all of you a happy and wonderful 2015.  Now get creative!

~Maynard