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creating worlds

How do you write?

notebook or macI have written stories for many years and most of those stories were never intended to be read by anyone other than me. I wrote not with the intention of creating a novel but more percisely to exercise my mind and think differently if even for only a short while. Since the finished product was of no consequence back in the day, my organizational habits were of very little consequence. Saying that I had any organizational habits is being extremely generous as many a character and short story were scrawled on the back of a sheet of paper or the last page of a notebook. I wrote this way all through high school and college simply discarding them later. In truth, I don’t know if I ever knowingly discarded the scribbled papers they just got sucked up into the tornado that was my room.

A few years ago, I dug a little further into my pocket and purchased my first moleskine notebook. An interesting thing happened. When those stories went into a notebook instead of on the back of a cereal box. I started keeping them. It was a whole new experience to get to read some of those thoughts that had to be written down and story excerpts that hit me in the middle of the night.

At this point I have filled up many of those little notebooks and my girls have started buying me a larger leather journal each year for Father’s Day. I write in those books from the very first page to the edge of the very last page or back cover. Now that some of the ideas were hanging around for a while they started evolving into more complete stories.

As with all other things, my writing process has matured. It is only recently that I have started doing a larger percentage of my writing on the laptop. I probably do 85-90% of my writing in electronic form now. It is neat and organized and not at all what it originally did for me.While my MacBook is super efficient it just doesn’t have the same emotional appeal of frantically scrawling a fresh idea into a notebook dug out of my back pocket.

My compromise for that is to primarily go to the MacBook and use a great program called Scrivener that is great for organizing, spell checking, creating outlines and character sketches. I also still keep a notebook and pen handy for when inspiration strikes. It is interesting that even though I have had far more success, at least in terms of completing stories, using the MacBook I don’t think I will ever get past the nostalgic feel of pen to paper.

 

Do you have a preferred style of writing? If so, do you do it exclusively?

I want to be a different type of author.

I want to be a different type of author. What type of author? Well, I’m glad you asked. I don’t view the role of author as a person that crafts a story and then sends out a finished product only to wonder how his characters were received and understood. I don’t want my only measure of success to be in how many people purchased my books. While making money from a craft you love is a pleasing prospect, that can’t be all there is to it. Book sales don’t even tell me how many people read the book.

I want to know who read the book cover to cover. I want to know who stopped half way through and why? I want to know which character readers hoped that I would or would not kill off. Is this all just wishful thinking or is there a way to accomplish this very task? Can the chasm between storyteller and readers be lessened or bridged?

I believe it can and as I delve in to the world of creative fiction I am going to try. There are a few events that I have witnessed that make me hopeful that I am not just another loon trying to change an industry. While not a rare event, I attended a book signing by one of my favorite authors Kevin Hearne in which he hung out and had a discussion about his most recent book. We as readers were enthraled by his ideas behind the book and insights into future adventures for the characters. He achieved buy-in from every person in the room. I have also had conversations with smaller independent authors through their social media pages. When I say conversation, I don’t mean I posted something about one of their new books and they “Liked It”. I mean to say that I asked a question about writing and they responded to me like a person. We sent some communication back and forth and again I felt like I had made a personal connection with the very person that has ultimate control over some of my favorite characters.

One more thing that factors into my ideal author’s world is collaboration. Authors don’t have to be a mystical figure on some mountain top or secreted away behind a cabin door never to see the light of day. That illusion is over and the we have seen behind the curtain. If you consider yourself a fan of any particular genre, imagine for a moment that a very minor character shows up in the pages of a completely different author. I’m not talking about Harry Potter selling a magic ring to Frodo. More like Harry Potter’s cousin who works at the GAP being served lunch by Frodo’s next door neighbor. I am not in search of campy crossovers to boost ratings. What I would love to see is true collaboration between authors in order to enhance their worlds for the fans.

This just scratches the surface of the things that I believe a new breed of writer can do to fully engage in his craft. What if it were a team of writers? What would you as a reader do to be involved in a brainstorming session with your favorite writer? I don’t want to produce literary widgets, I want to share in ghost stories around a digital campfire. I intend the revisit and develop this issue throughout this blog.

NaNoWriMo 2015: Getting an early start

nanowrimo 2015

For those of you not familiar with NaNoWriMo, go check it out. For those of you that are familiar, you are probably thinking why is he talking about this now, its only July. Well, the easy answer is that I’m trying to plan ahead. I have competed in NaNoWriMo for a few years now and on each previous attempt I waited until November 1 to start writing. Yes, that is what you are supposed to do – write 50,000 words during the month of November with no editing.

This year however I am going play around with a few ideas ahead of time. One of the things I really like about writing is world building and character creation. With that in mind, I’m going to start playing around with my characters inside the new universe I’m creating for November. The best part of all of this is that none of it is final. If I don’t like how a character is progressing, I can completely change them or even kill them off. I know that sounds a little sadistic but it’s my world (literally).

I might even post some short stories involving these characters as they develop. I guess we will see. Since I first wrote this post I have taken another step. I created this blog as a spinoff from our main family blog. Now I have a place that is solely dedicated to my writing projects.

I have not decided if I will blog directly my work from the upcoming NaNoWriMo or just post excerpts. I admit I like the idea of having an entire website/blog dedicated to my efforts in November.

Hello world!

Normally, the obligatory “Hello World” post is deleted when you start a new blog. However, considering the fact that I will be using this site for world creation, I think I’m just going to leave it. Hello world! it is. I will go into more detail about the worlds I am creating on the about section of this blog in case someone tries to make sense of the wild lands that are my brain. For now I will just keep this simple and say welcome, float around, and see what you can find. If you find anything helpful that’s great. If you find it infuriating or insane, please reach out and connect. If you are one of “those creative types” you know that even the most off the wall comment sometimes sparks a new character, storyline, or even world.

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