donovanmneal

Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

It’s Inspiration Tuesday!

In It's Inspiration Tuesday! on April 9, 2013 at 1:03 am

Because I know music makes your braver. Today’s inspirational song is a piece from the Fringe Element Series by David Edwards.

It starts in a majestic introduction that lifts you up in a spirit of royalty, and or sweeps you into a mood of tragedy where onlookers view vast destruction. Slowly it ramps as the female vocal echos as a ghost in the background. Its continued march to the same melody crescendos until it hits its peak when at the end. The reveal is finally complete.

It’s a sweeping, beautiful epic piece.

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

It’s Inspiration Tuesday!

In It's Inspiration Tuesday! on April 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm

OK today for inspiration Tuesday I want to do something a little different.  The video is the trailer for the video game Mass Effect 3.  The final game in a space trilogy that was released for the Xbox 360 last year.  I’ve played this game and to talk about how immersive an experience it was would be an understatement.  I WAS commander Shepherd and I was saving the freaking galaxy!

For the purposes of our blog today, I want you to take a look at each scene in the video.  Each is actual footage or a rendered scene from the game.  Now imagine these as scenes in your novel.  Listen to the video again, this time without the music.  Does it have the same impact for you?  Probably not.  Because music moves us on a level that images do not.

Take any given scene, and write several paragraphs describing what you see.  Now add one paragraph that takes the story in any direction you want.

Note the variety in all the scenes, there’s love making, death, alien armadas, ground action.  Does your novel contain such scenes.  Listen to the dialogue.  Someone had to write it for the video game.  What dialogue would you change?  What would you add to each snippet of action you see?

It’s inspiration Tuesday ladies and gentlemen, and this is how we roll.

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.

It’s Inspiration Tuesday!

In It's Inspiration Tuesday! on March 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Because I know music makes your braver.  Today’s inspirational song is a piece by Audiomachine, that evokes, sheer power.  From the violins in the begining, to the pounding of the drums, and choir vocals.  It beats power, a sense of epic battle, and triumph and victory.

It starts with rushing violins, which are soon locked in raced only to be followed with a powerful drum beat. The meoldy then crescendos into a higher pitch until it pulses with pounding horns of annunciation   It grabs you, and does not let go.

Listen, write…and do not stop until you have conquered every jot and title, never yielding until each character is splayed before you fallen to the muse of your spirit and your paper bleeds with imagined Heroes, worlds and evil slain.

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!

It’s Inspiration Tuesday!

In It's Inspiration Tuesday! on March 12, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Because I know that music makes you braver, and evokes emotion in a person. I will weekly list a track that moves me. I’m going to ask you to do the same. What music moves you to write, evokes emotion? Inspires you…to write. Create.

This sweeping, powerful melody, beckons one to take up arms, to grasp for the dream that seemed so formerly out of touch. With a female vocal, it quickly inspires you to stand and fight, it calls you to rise up and in the face of fear, know that nothing is impossible and that our time of freedom has come!

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!

 

Inspiration Tuesday

In It's Inspiration Tuesday! on March 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Because I know that music makes you braver, and evokes emotion in a person. I will weekly list a track that moves me. I’m going to ask you to do the same. What music moves you to write, evokes emotion? Inspires you…to write. Create.

Here is a piece that has inspired me to write a Novel about a young man and his tribe in a African/ desert nation.

Literally I kept listening to this song, and the ‘star stuff’ gathered. I have a basic plot, names and histories of families formed, and the physical layout of the world map all materialized.

It’s a sweeping, beautiful epic piece.

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!