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How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide: Step 10 Celebrate your accomplishments

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps on May 5, 2013 at 8:03 pm

fireworks

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it’s taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  This is the last step I used when I wrote my book

Ok here is step ten: celebrate!

Yep.  Writing is a lonely business.  It is not a group activity.  It is you and the paper or the screen staring back at you.  I know writers that will not even share their work with a person until well after they are finished.  I couldn’t do this.  I had after some scenes and even some chapters read it.  I needed the feedback.  I needed to know if people could see what I saw in my head.  Was I able to translate the pictures and voices of fictional worlds and characters from my mind into the mind of my reader.  Heck I needed that encouragement.

But let’s face it.  When you write it is a struggle sometimes.  It is an uphill battle to add character development, plot twists, seal plot holes, endure writers block.  Then after you have gone through all that.  You look back after x period and by God you are done.  You look at your work after so many pages and you realize that you have created something.  Celebrate that.

I remember when I finished my novel.  It was July 4th 2012.  I sat there looking at my computer screen.  I had reached the point where I could put the words the end on my work.  I knew I was done.  There was a part of me that was ecstatic, another part of me that was sad.  Me and this book had labored under much toil together and our journey and now taken a dramatic turn.  Oh yeah it needed polishing…at lot actually.  But it was done.

So when you get to your word count for the day. Celebrate.  When you complete that chapter.  Celebrate.  When you figure out that plot twist.  Celebrate.  And when you finish and get to the end…celebrate.

You did it.

Reward yourself at every opportunity when you achieve a bit of success.  Use whatever motivation you have to keep going.  Do not give up.  It is worth it.  I have learned so much.  But all my learning has shown how much more I have to go.

Take some time out to sit back, and celebrate.  Ya did good kid.

D

How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 9: Get some beta readers!

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps, On writing on April 30, 2013 at 5:35 am

edited-manuscript

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it’s taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  During the next 10 weeks I’m going to provide you with the actual and specific tools that have used.  I am going to put them up on this blog for you to see, and I am going to give them away to you for free!  Yes, free because I want you to be successful! I know that they will work for you  some of you are more computer literate than others, so my tools are going to help you no matter what level of proficiency you have in software or hardware.  All you need is a desire to learn, and a willingness to implement the steps.

Ok here is step nine: get some beta readers.

A beta reader (or betareader, or beta) is a person who reads a work of fiction with a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the public.

Another way to think of a beta reader is as a product development tester.  Essentially, you have someone who represents a sample demographic of the market for your book to gauge consumer reaction.

I like the idea personally of a beta reader being more than someone who checks for grammar, spelling and the like.  But thinking of this person(s) as representative of your selling demographic will really tell you if your writing is connecting with your audience, and what you might need to do to improve.

Where can you find beta readers?

Well there are various areas that you can look.  A few of the best I’ll just list out and link for you.

  1. Family/Friends
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Good Reads         http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/50920-beta-reader-group
  4. absolutewrite.com             http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=30

What are the basic steps?

  1. Send out your manuscript.
  2. Get back the replies.
  3. Go through the replies, and thank each person by email phone or a mailed note.
  4. Follow up and see if they are willing to look at further work
  5. Determine if their input warrants changes to your draft.

Things to watch out for

People who don’t respond!  Yep you might have some that say will do it, you provide them with the information but they simply don’t follow up, or through for whatever reason.  This is why you want more than just a couple of readers.

Secondly be very clear on what you’re looking for from a reader.  Having a reader tell you the story was good.  Or it was awful wont help you become a better writer.  What was awful?  Why?  The more you can help focus your reader on monitoring how they are interfacing with your work the better off you will be.

Thirdly, you have to decide how much of your work you want to give out.  Will it be a couple of pages?  A scene of work?  A chapter?  The whole novel?

My recommendation is that you give out based on do you trust the person to not ‘steal your work, and are they providing feedback?

Register with the copyright office. The best way to protect yourself legally from any copying is by registering your material with the US copyright office (www.copyright.gov). While each and every material produced by you is automatically copyrighted upon publishing, registering with the Copyright office will give you more extensive legal rights. In the event that someone publishes material that is exactly the same or similar to yours, having a formal copyright will make it easier for you to prove first instance, which means that you are the first author of the work.

Send any correspondence via email. The email provides documentation that you are the source of the material.

Typical Beta reader questions

Interest:  Does the story hold your attention

Were you ever bored during the story?

Was your mind ever wandering?

Can you tell me in the story where it happened?  Where do you remember losing interest?

World creation: is more detail needed?

Was there ever an occasion during the story where it seemed not “believable”?

Was there a point where you said, “Oh come on!” or where they any “logical fallacies” which you noticed?

Exposition: How was it handled?

Where in the story were you confused?

Was there anything you had to read twice?

Are there characters you found you didn’t care about?

Did you like the character(s)?

Did you hate the character(s)?

Did you keep forgetting who the characters were?

Was there any plot questions left unresolved for you?

Tension: Are the plot lines resolved?

What do you think will happen next?

What are you still wondering about?

Remember  the reader is reporting on their experience of what they are reading…their opinions are not wrong.  They are helping you to acquire great clues on how a reader is interfacing with your writing.

Again always make sure you tell your readers thank you!

D

How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 8: Revise, revise, and revise again.

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps on April 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm
Revision doesn't have to be hard.

Revision doesn’t have to be hard.

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it’s taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  During the next 10 weeks I’m going to provide you with the actual and specific tools that have used.  I am going to put them up on this blog for you to see, and I am going to give them away to you for free!  Yes, free because I want you to be successful! I know that they will work for you  some of you are more computer literate than others, so my tools are going to help you no matter what level of proficiency you have in software or hardware.  All you need is a desire to learn, and a willingness to implement the steps.

Ok here is step eight: Revise.

Revision

When do you start revision?  Some have a tendency to revise as they write.  I do this a bit, but the reality is if you do; it slows down your writing and you are leaving the ‘flow’ of your streaming consciousness that is giving you scenes to write.  Therefore, revision should be its own step.  Do it after you get the thoughts out on paper.

How to revise you ask?  Well I’m glad you asked that question!

There are several steps that have helped me.  Essentially, I go from a larger view of the novel until I zero in to the smaller aspects of it.  When I hit the center of the bull’s eye, I start over until I feel there is no more revision left to do.

So using the image of a bull’s-eye (concentric circles) I do mine like so.

Revise the plot: are there plot holes or anything that is not tied together in the novel?  Unanswered questions.  Frayed edges?

Revise the scenes.  Do you need to rearrange them?  Does some need to be deleted?  Added?

Revise Characters:  Are there too many? Can some be combined? Are the descriptions there?

Revise Dialogue: Does the dialogue of the characters sound unique to that character? Does it need to be shortened, lengthened?

Revise for grammar and spelling.  Some word processors will do this as you type the manuscript out.  This is last step for me.

csg_writing-the-revision-process-tone

I don’t profess that these are all the steps.  What I do profess is that the method will work if you work it.  If in using this method, you need to add another ring in your concentric circle.  Do so.  However, always move from larger issues with the novel to smaller issues.

Lastly, when should you revise?  Well I would say wait at least 4 weeks after you have done your first draft.  Then start revising.

4 weeks!  Yep, I know you’re excited but let me tell you after you start revising after a while you will get tired of reading what you wrote over and over.  Revising is taxing work.  I emphasize the work piece.  It is not fun.  Think of it like this.  You are essentially going to be cutting things like a movie editor.  Remember in the DVD all those deleted scenes?  Well that’s how your novel is going to be.  Slimmer than the original in all probability.  You are cutting the dross away.  In addition you need to give yourself space from the work to get perspective.  It will help to read it with fresh eyes.

Remember those attachments you have to scenes, and characters, and all that while you wrote.  Well in this stage you have to let that go, and ask yourself the crucial question, does it move the story forward?

A film editor for example is a mechanic who removes the unneeded and fits pieces of film together to make a finished movie. He is a collaborator who works with cinematographers and sound editors to bring sight and sound together. And he is an artist who captures a director’s vision and tells a compelling story.

You are the film editor for your story.  You have to ask yourself is this needed?  Why.

Once you can do that and follow the steps involved, you will be well on your way to revising.

Have fun!

D

How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 7: Write!

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps, On writing, Uncategorized on April 14, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Image

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it’s taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  During the next 10 weeks I’m going to provide you with the actual and specific tools that have used.  I’m going to put them up on this blog for you to see, and I’m going to give them away to you for free!  Yes, free because I want you to be successful! I know that they will work for you  some of you are more computer literate than others, so my tools are going to help you no matter what level of proficiency you have in software or hardware.  All you need is a desire to learn, and a willingness to implement the steps.

Ok here is step Seven: Write.

You have your inspiration, you established some world creation, you have an outline.  You have your materials.  Stop loafing and get to writing.

It doesn’t matter what you have.  If you don’t write nothing will ever be produced.  It’s not enough that the idea and world and characters are in your head.  They must be released from the prison of your mind to live on paper.  Only then can the purpose of your novel be realized.  That being for others to enjoy.

Write.  Just do it.  Try to write 1000 words a day.  Yep.  Keep a limit.  Shoot for a 1k a day in words.  Move it.  Get off your butt.  Start writing!

I do not care how much you read about writing.  It is NOT writing.  Only writing is writing.  Outlining is not writing.  Character creation is not writing.  Marketing, is not writing.

Only writing is writing.  So get to it.  Push out words.  Write the images that come to your mind.  Just get them out.  Connect them later.  But write the images or scenes that are in your head.

Pick a time when others know you are not to be disturbed.  But write.  If you need to do it in the morning, or in the evening write.  If you don’t get to 1000 words still write.

Write daily.  Make it a priority.  But write.  Do a lil something daily.  But write.

Only writing will make you better.  Only writing will see your vision materialized: only writing counts.

It does not matter how much of the previous steps you did if you do not write you have been active but not productive.  You have missed the mark if you do everything but write.

So write.  Write as if your life depended on it

Some say you should not worry about grammar and spelling as you write.  I say do what you want.  Just do not get bogged down.  Correcting already generated text is NOT writing.  It is revision.  Write.  Generate new text…new words.  Leave the revision for after you have finished writing.

This step out of all the others is the most important.  This step is the only one that will create your masterpiece.  Your work.  Nothing else.  Everything else is star stuff.  Writing is where the planet is formed. Where the rubber hits the road.  That which separates those who do from those who try.  Nothing else matters.  In the words of the company Nike.

Just do it.

D

How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 6: Outlining

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps, On writing on April 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Three-Act-Structure-Sep-18-2012-9-39-AM

Image attributed to Arvel Chappell III

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it has taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  During the next 10 weeks I’m going to provide you with the actual and specific tools that have used.  I’m going to put them up on this blog for you to see, and I’m going to give them away to you for free!  Yes, free because I want you to be successful! I know that they will work for you  some of you are more computer literate than others, so my tools are going to help you no matter what level of proficiency you have in software or hardware.  All you need is a desire to learn, and a willingness to implement the steps.

Ok here is step six: Outline your story.

This step is key.  It’s been said that writers block is merely you not knowing where to go next in the story.  Regardless of if you agree with this not, outlining the structure of your story will go a long ways to helping you understand what you want to tell your reader.

There’s a simple way to do this and more complicated ways.

Three Act Structure

Here are a few pics that visually explain 3-act structure.  Also reference the main pic in the heading of the blog.

Figure

Figure 1

Essentially, there is a beginning, a middle and end.  With you escalating tension, or conflict for your character (the put them through hell phases I call it.) from approximately near the ‘end’ of the beginning until you hit the climax at the end.  Then you drop off quickly with the resolution of the story and fade to black. (Sorry the cinematographer in me is coming out.)

Easy, peezy, lemon squeezee huh?

Well as fine and dandy as that is.  I just didn’t do it that way.

This is what I did to outline my story.

I imagined each ‘scene’ in my head.  Every fight scene, the ending, sometimes I could connect each scene to another and sometimes I could not.  However, in the end I had some scenes in my head.  If your not clear about what I’m saying.  If you have ever played a DVD when you go to the main menu of the movie it will ask you what chapter or what scene do you want to directly skip too.  Well when I write, I see in my head all these various scenes.  EXCEPT they are not laid out in the order of which the story is to be told.

I use Microsoft excel to lay out my outline.  Here’s some screen shots

Ok in this first screen shot, what I do is write out every scene I can think of, then I move them up or down on the spread sheet.  Over time I get a get a scene by scene outline of my story  (Ive changed the font as this is a prelim outline for my next novel)

Figure 2

Figure 2

Notice I created at the bottom tabs.  There is a tab for each chapter.  So each chapter has all the scenes associated with it.

I use the comments ability in Excel to add detail if I need to.

Notice that a green box is next to one of the scenes. (its green because its been written)

You can color code all the scenes for example that deal with a particular characters story arch.  Thus keeping track of where he/she is in the novel if you have multiple characters.

On Fig 2 notice at the top that I have cells to show the chapter title.  The scene, whose point of view is being shown and what happens, and how many pages the scene covers.

Figure 2

Figure 2

Excel (if you’re a lil savvy) is a great way to lay out and outline your book

I hope this tip help!

D

How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 5: World Creation

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps, On writing on April 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Image

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it’s taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  During the next 10 weeks I’m going to provide you with the actual and specific tools that have used.  I’m going to put them up on this blog for you to see, and I’m going to give them away to you for free!  Yes, free because I want you to be successful! I know that they will work for you  some of you are more computer literate than others, so my tools are going to help you no matter what level of proficiency you have in software or hardware.  All you need is a desire to learn, and a willingness to implement the steps.

Ok here is step five: create the world.

I personally love this step.  Its very involved but lets start out with how I did it.

Draw a rough map on a blank sheet of paper.  Do your standard north, south, east, and west.

Draw some mountains, rivers; decide where forests are going to be.

It is amazing what you can learn from computer games.  SimCity for example has a world generator.  If you have, the game use it to help make your world.  Then take a screenshot and print it out. Viola!

What languages will be used?  What influences will be there?  Asian, English, African, Old English?  Something totally new?

What are the physical laws that govern your world? Are there magical, religious, or other powers that govern your world? Are there celestial phenomena that occur with regular periods?  Lunar eclipses, comets.  Aliens who visit?

One of the things that George R. R. Martin has used in his novels are seasons.  He has taken winter, summer, and used the idea of simple seasons to great effect in his novels.  Instead of making winter and summer last a couple of months, he made them last for generations.  Creating a world where winter is seriously dreaded.

What types of animals populate your world?  Are there mythical creatures, like dragons and the like?  How are the animals of your world impacted by the planet? (think James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’.)

Are there mammoth mountains, supernatural phenomena, lands where the trees walk?  Again, get creative!

What is the level of technology?  (Here are some links to think about this.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TechnologyLevels

What videogames, movies, and or novels, best represent the world that you are trying to create?

Are all the people the same racial and ethnic makeup?

What are the geo political structures? Who is in allegiance to whom?  Who is hostile to whom?  Why? For how long?

Here is a link to think about government structures in your world. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government)

What is the hierarchy of leadership in your main characters culture?  Is there a chieftain,  a mentor and apprentice?  Guilds?

How are women, children and men treated in the culture?

Once you determine the level of technology, that will give you an idea of the economics, and professions within your world.

What cataclysmic events have affected the world?  Does your world have a version of the Atlantis story?  A Mt. Vesuvius, A 911?  What is your world’s creation story?  Are there Gods?

Take the time to make the world, do not rush this step and you will find that your novel will have more color, and depth than you will have ever imagined.

How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 4: Characterization

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps, On writing on March 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm
Famous star wars characters

Famous Star Wars characters

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it’s taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  During the next 10 weeks I’m going to provide you with the actual and specific tools that have used.  I’m going to put them up on this blog for you to see, and I’m going to give them away to you for free!  Yes, free because I want you to be successful! I know that they will work for you  some of you are more computer literate than others, so my tools are going to help you no matter what level of proficiency you have in software or hardware.  All you need is a desire to learn, and a willingness to implement the steps.

Ok here is step four: Identify the characters.

Who is your protagonist and the antagonist?

Here is an outline to follow.  Answer the following questions. Do this for each of your main characters.

What is their name?  Does the name have a meaning? Who named them?  Do they have a nickname?  Names can have powerful images in your novel.

Give a one-sentence summary of your characters story line.

What is the characters motivation?  What does he/she want abstractly?

What is the characters conflict? What prevents him/her from reaching what they want?

What is the characters epiphany (what will he she learn, how will he/she change?)

Then write out a one-paragraph summary of the characters storyline

Note that you should do this for each character, and if there is an organization or group within your novel, the same should be done for them.  What you are doing here is part of the world creation. However, populating the world is more important than the world itself.

After you answer these basic questions, you can then address issues like attributes such as race, gender where do they live, language accents, tics, special powers etc.

To help you let me link you to a helpful resource that you can use to help you flesh out the characters of your novel.

I absolutely love this site.  It looks at various characters particularly in television, movies, and does an amazing job of helping to understand what makes them work or not work.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CharacterDevelopment

Let me know if any of these tips has helped you!

Oh and PS!

I want to hear from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment and link back to my blog, and mention my book The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? A guest blog appearance!  Yep I’ll feature you in my blog and help promote you!  How about that?

I will pick a winner once a monthSo at the end of March I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

Don’t forget to and check out my preview trailer for my new book, The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars coming out in a couple of months!

How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 3

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps, On writing on March 10, 2013 at 7:07 am

tools

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it’s taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  During the next 9 weeks I’m going to provide you with the actual and specific tools that have used.  I’m going to put them up on this blog for you to see, and I’m going to give them away to you for free!  Yes, free because I want you to be successful! I know that they will work for you  some of you are more computer literate than others, so my tools are going to help you no matter what level of proficiency you have in software or hardware.  All you need is a desire to learn, and a willingness to implement the steps.

How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 3

Ok here is step three: get your tools together.

By tools I mean all those necessities that you need to craft your story.  Here are some examples

Make sure you have your ‘buckets’ close by!

Dictionaries.  (Have more than one, or use the web)

Thesaurus ( I keep two at my desk, I don’t simply use the ones on the word processor.)

White noise generator/ Music if you like something in your background.  Whatever is needed to address your ability to concentrate.  Some like music some don’t.

Munchies/Drink (get the cheetos, candy, nuts, coffee, whatever so you’re not having to keep getting up.  Sometime when I’m in a flow I write past my hunger.

Grammar books.

Here are some internet sites I use as ‘online tools’.

http://thesaurus.com/

http://www.grammarly.com/ (warning its rather slow so have a good pc if you use it.)

I’ll talk more about this book in the next blog but for now you can use it as a reference to hone in on your characters temperament.

http://www.amazon.com/Please-Understand-Temperament-Character-Intelligence/dp/1885705026/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363552195&sr=8-1&keywords=keirsey+temperament

A site that gives you adjective to describe tone feeling and emotions

http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/parts-of-speech/adjectives/list-of-adjectives-to-describe-tone-feelings-emotions.html

How if you use MS Word to prepare your novel.

http://daiya.mvps.org/bookword.htm

Steps 2 and 3 are about preparation.  Next week’s steps will be about actualization.  I will tell you in advance that we will talk about your novels characters, and how to create them.  So keep coming back!  This is where the rubber really hits the road.  I’m going to give you a character template to help flesh out your characters so stay tuned!

Oh and PS!

I want to hear from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment and link back to my blog, and mention my book The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? A guest blog appearance!  Yep I’ll feature you in my blog and help promote you!  How about that?

I will pick a winner once a monthSo at the end of March I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

Don’t forget to and check out my preview trailer for my new book, The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars coming out in a couple of months!

 

How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide.

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps, On writing on March 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Image

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it’s taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  During the next 10 weeks I’m going to provide you with the actual and specific tools that have used.  I’m going to put them up on this blog for you to see, and I’m going to give them away to you for free!  Yes, free because I want you to be successful! I know that they will work for you  some of you are more computer literate than others, so my tools are going to help you no matter what level of proficiency you have in software or hardware.  All you need is a desire to learn, and a willingness to implement the steps.

Ok here is step one: collect and surround yourself in inspiration.

In this first step, I want to explain what this is.  Why it is important, and how to do it.

What does this mean?  I mean it sounds so ethereal, so right brained.  It is.  As a Christian, I derive a lot of importance from the Bible.  Regardless of one’s faith, there is a passage that I think applies to us as writers period that speaks to this issue of surrounding ones self in inspiration..

Heb 11:3  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

The thing I want to focus on is the phrase, “the things which are seen were not made by the things which do appear.”  As an author, you are bringing the world you create from your mind into the real world.  Whether it’s to the printed page, or like George Lucas’s Star Wars to the big screen.  Your novel is the substance of something that no one has seen yet.  It’s just an idea a thought.  But it’s a powerful one.  It’s unseen, covered, hidden.  We need to begin the process of bringing it from your mind into the tangible world.  This process is similar to when storm clouds gather: the super cells are forming, winds are racing enough to create a storm, but it requires the right environment to do so.

Or imagine for example that you are in space: planets are formed by grabbing the dust and debris caught in their increasing gravitational pull until these individual elements gel, coalesce, and become dense enough that a planet is formed.  The planet itself then generates its own increasing influence on the space around it.  Likewise, your novel is the same.  In this case YOU are that raw piece of rock that’s spinning in the vastness of space; so fast that you know a book is in you waiting to get out.  But like that planet you need to reach out and grasp those other particles of dust and debris, and bring them into you to feed your completion to become the life giving planet that is forming.

You need to collect inspiration.  So collecting inspiration is the act of reaching out and feeding your imagination and the creative fire that fuels your imagination for your story.  It’s the act of gassing up the car of your writing.  I hope that gives an idea of what collecting or surrounding yourself in inspiration is.

Why is this step important?  Because without the fire, to bring the story out.  It will die.  You need fuel to do anything.  To live.  To work, to function in society, you need energy (I like the word fuel) to propel you, to motivate, and move you.  You need fuel to write your story.  If there is no fuel for the writing of your story.  You will not write it.  It is as simple as that.

Ok how to feed the imagination of your story?

Gather the ‘star dust’ of images, and music, words that resonate with you; anything that powers your imagination to help bring into reality your world  Think about the subject or theme of your book, then type into Google that subject area.  Let’s say its dystopia.  Then select the images and videos option and see what jumps out at you.

YouTube is a wonderful source of music and video that can inspire.  USE IT!  Find that music, that picture that ignites your mind to write your story.  It’s your star stuff, bring it ‘into you’ and let it fuel your imagination.  George Lucas for example was inspired by Flash Gordon. (http://www.moongadget.com/origins/flash.html)

If you take a look at the link you will notice how similar some of the ideas are.  Again for me a scripture comes to my mind that again affirms my point.

Ec 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

What’s ‘new’ is the fact that the world, the people, etc. are ‘new’ to US. They’ve not see the unique take we have on a story. Taking elements of the past and mixing them to come up with something tasty.  (you are a literary chef). That is your job as an author.  Gather the star stuff.

Use Pinterest.  Type in your ideas in the search engine and again see what images evoke emotion in you.  Write to capture that emotion, that image, the feeling that it conveys.  Keep these things with you.

I make CD’s of music that reminds me of my fictional world and listen to them in my car.  Keep images on your desktop, change your ringtones on your phone.  GATHER THE STAR STUFF!  Watch movies and read books that reflect what you want to create!

Next week we will be going over step 2.

Until then, gather the star stuff!

P.S.

Go back into my earlier Blogs about inspiration and about writing.  Keep checking back for more useful tips. https://donovanmneal.wordpress.com/category/on-writing/

and check out my preview trailer for my new book, The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars coming out in a couple of months!