Our lust for future comfort…

…is the biggest thief of life.  We waste so many days waiting for the weekend, so many nights wanting morning,

Not sure who said it, but it rings true.

Another way to look at it is asking yourself…

What gives me juice?  

What kicks me in the butt and gets me moving?  

What is my source of energy for that extra mile?

I have my own feeling about this.  If you look outside of you for juice, inspiration, the extra breath…you will always be looking outside yourself.  Instead…

create your own juice.  

You have everything inside you now to begin… it’s in your hands.

Now go create something and make yourself feel like nothing on the outside has the power to.

Onward.

J

It’s a mess, and it should be…

The creation of a story from start to finish isn’t some clean, linear process that moves along like a train.  If you write you already know this.

If you’re going to write, you will learn it.

What’s my point?  The mess is not just part of the process, it is the process.  The only way you’re going to flesh out the thread of the story and make it interesting to others is to create chaos, wreak havoc, have papers with notes in the margins all over the desk, quick memos on your phone app, and a few hastily written chapters on your PC that end up being a montage of scenes with no coherent thread.

It is only by entering this realm will you find what’s been there all along…the story.

The muse shows up when and only when you sit down to write.  Wait for her and never write a word…start creating chaos and a mess, she’ll feel welcome and teach you a thing or two.

So get your mess started, it’s the only way, we all do it, and really…isn’t this why you write in the first place?  To create madness?

Onward,

J

Ignore the 3 act structure…

…at your peril.

When you first come across it in your aspiration to write, it sounds like a rule, a boundary, chains meant to be broken.

It’s all of those, yet it still exists.

Whether non-fiction or a story made up in your head… we have an opening, a journey taken by a hero, and a climax…oh, and along the way…obstacles, conflict, hurdles, twists, setbacks.

Sounds like life doesn’t it?

It is.

So make sure you are aware of how this structure works, what each act has in it, how each act sets up the next one.  If you do this, the inherent structure gives you all the freedom you need to break all the rules.  If you ignore it, you have scene after scene after scene leading to…what?

Reinvent the wheel?  Or build something on a solid foundation that has lasted centuries.

Onward.

J

 

Character or plot…?

A lot of us go with plot…after all aren’t the things that happen in a story, the plot turns, twists and pursuits, why we read or watch a film in the first place?  Sounds legit.

Until…

We get some back story on a character, especially the hero or villain.

Then tumblers fall into place, wheels start to spin, and the chase is on.

To get more granular… we now are starting to get why the character does what they do, why they respond to events the way they do, and the more we watch and read, the more we see that this character will not stop short of the ultimate act that the story requires.

This person ultimately defines the meaning of everything else in the novel.  It’s not the plot that reigns in the protagonist; it’s the other way around. (Hat tip to Lisa Cron’s Book Story Genius for this insight).

So sure, develop the plot, the structure, the three acts, etc.  But the characters…they will take your plot and run with it…treat them with respect.

 

Onward,

 

Jon

It’s not so much the doing…

or even the finishing, or even the flow in the middle.

All of these require one thing, they won’t occur without it…

Beginning.

Feeling a lack of motive? No drive or inspiration?

Guess what…   nobody does.

Until they start.

You can sit in a turbocharged vehicle all day, but until you turn the key nothing happens. You are sitting there, pretending.

Turn the key, get it started, tell me how you feel then.

Even if it’s just a “pretend start” as a defense mechanism…once you really do start…

…it’s real.

Onward,

 

Jon

 

Look Behind You….

This has become the working title of the sequel to Run for the Money.  Originally I had Go for the Dough as sort of a follow on title but it doesn’t ring true- doesn’t come off the tongue quite the way I want it to.

A working title is important, even if you end up using something else…you need a theme to write to, an image, a poster for what’s in your head to get out on the screen.  In a later post I’ll put up the cover image I’m using – I keep this image up in the corner of the monitor as I write, and it centers me, I find myself looking at it from time to time as a guidepost.

The pros tell us to have a one sentence theme that is the driver of your story taped to your monitor….sometimes, there’s nothing like a picture of what’s in your head to make you peck the keyboard a little longer.

Onward,

Jon