donovanmneal

Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

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

It’s Inspiration Tuesday!

In It's Inspiration Tuesday! on April 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Because I know music makes your braver. Today’s inspirational song is a piece from the Audiomachine’s Warlords.

A powerful piece, that invokes images of battle and shouts with the cries of combat. It stirs you to march towards that which you fear, or to purposes that will not to be denied.

If you need to muster up the courage to move forward. Take this song as your clarion call to action and know no fear.

Battle on warrior. Battle on, and know that nothing shall stop them that believe.

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

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!