Friday, November 29, 2013

The Borrowers

Good morning! I hope life is treating you kindly. It's Black Friday 2013 and I'm sitting at my desk thinking. I finished the rough draft of a novel at 12:43 p.m. Monday, Nov. 25. How did I perform this miraculous feat? I bought a pretty journal with lined pages and wrote until every line was filled. Well except for about 10 lines on the last page. As I hand wrote this rough draft (why do I keep thinking "red"?) I also made notes of things that were related to the ideas I was using in my story so I can use this rough draft journal as an outline for my novel.

The novel is about a "mature" woman who has resisted change for a long time. She doesn't know why she has stayed in her situation for so long...Loyalty? Fear? Love? She deserves nothing better than she has right now? She is on a journey to discover the answers to her life's purpose.

So, I've begun to reread the rough draft journal written mostly in blue ink with notes to refer to in red. And I am making notes as I go...thinking about related things, scenes to write, and whatever else comes to mind in the process of my discussions with my muse. Does this mean I should be rewriting as I go? Well, I didn't have another journal at hand to rewrite in so I am using a one subject spiral notebook. Again, I am writing with one color ink (blue or black) and making notes in red.

The most huge challenge is very common, let the reader understand. It is hard to apply the behind to the seat of the chair and write. It is not easy, though, to dig deep inside of ourselves to look at the ways of the world and consider our perceptions of these the ways of the world have affected us or may affect us in the future. But it must be done. Why?

I have read that writer/philosophers don't write to educate others. That's a by-product of the real reasons for our work: informing/educating ourselves. We learn, we have to write it and share it to get it out of the way so we can move onto the next experience of learning and writing and sharing and getting it out of the way so we can move onto the next...

William Shakespeare didn't originate all of those tales. He "borrowed" from those who went before. We all do this, for there is no new story to tell. They have all been told before. But we find new ways of telling the story. Example: How many times has The Hobbit been remade in film versions? It's the same story time after time, but the creators apparently have a more impacting version, better technology.

Go and write. Write well. Practice makes perfect. Practice, practice, practice.

(c) 2013 Cathy Thomas Brownfield ~ All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Reading and truth-seeking

I am reading the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, punctuated with other books like Toads, and the Women Who Kiss Them and Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic 1789-1815 and Fifty Shades of Grey and Descartes writings on reason and truth-seeking philosophy.

I am expanding my knowledge base, not just from my reading, but from experiences: conceal-to-carry class and process, watercolor painting, taking myself out of my “safe” place to a more worldly place outside my comfort zone—resisting the urges to take the path of least resistance, raising the bar of challenge on myself.

Writers write about what they know.

Writers teach and share what they have learned.

Writers take pieces and parts of life and fit them together to prove a truth about what they have learned. We learn through observation and scientific method (aka good old trial and error.)

Stephen King wrote in On Writing that reading is essential to writing. He carries a book with him everywhere he goes, he says, explaining that, although it may be interpreted as rude and offensive, what we write will offend someone somewhere along the way anyway. But, then, he also said he sometimes just says things because he’s expected to answer the questions that are put to him.
Writing is thinking on paper. Exposure to new things is important to developing new thoughts and enhancing the writer’s toolbox.

What are you thinking about today? Are you ready to put pen to paper?

©2013 Cathy Thomas Brownfield ~ All Rights Reserved.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Reading...and writing

How is your writing coming?

I made the 9-hour or so trip to see my youngest daughter and stayed with her for 15 days. Did I do much writing? No, but I did some reading. Stephen King, in On Writing, advises that reading is as important to writing as writing is. Look how much he has written! I guess he would have a pretty good idea about that.

I’m in the middle of Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series…The Pillars of Creation. It’s actually book seven of 12, I think. He tells a good story. And I keep trying to figure out things like:

·         Is he telling the story of Ancient Greece?

·         Is the Keep actually the Bible? The U.S. Constitution?

·         Is this about paganism and the development of the patriarchal religions?

·         Or is it just a good story?

·         Is this what William Shakespeare did? Wrote his version of events in history?

·         How can I make these ideas work for me?

·         What happens if you read about an historical moment and using “what if” questions, set that story in a different time and place? Using poetic license what can happen on the page?

We can only try and see how it works. Let me know what happens with your experiment. Your comments are invited and welcome.

© 2013 Cathy Thomas Brownfield ~ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pass it on

My daughter (#3 of 4) has begun to plot a novel. It’s not her first. But with every story we start, we learn a little more about the process of writing. That’s what I’ve found, anyway, so I learn by trial and error. It is helpful when someone ahead of us on the writing path can help us along with their wisdom and knowledge that comes from their writerly journey.

So, I gave my daughter the benefit of what I know for certain: Write the entire rough draft before you think about editing. It’s tempting to edit as you go, but since I learned that the human brain is not wired to multi-task efficiently, I am now writing the complete first draft so I have a beginning, a middle and an end. I know a lot will change when I revise it. My first concern is a start-to-finish first/rough draft.

I like to immerse myself in the genre I want to write in to get a feel for what the publishers are looking for, what the readers enjoy most and what I most want to write. 

So, there is the beginning point. Just write. 

My current WIP (work in progress): the first draft is written. I am beginning revisions, referencing the notes to myself as I wrote the draft, questions that came to me as I wrote that draft. I’m building up my characters (development) as I create a stronger story line. I’m letting my characters speak and using my knowledge and skill to write the story, just as I used to write the stories of the people I interviewed in my print journalism days. I was the conduit that got their spoken words translated into newsprint and ink. I find the best way I can to present their stories.

Go ahead. Give it a go!

©2013 ~ Cathy Thomas Brownfield ~ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Writing today...

The story is writing itself.

I let the heroine tell the story.

I try to keep my forceful hand out of her way.

I constantly am alert to her surroundings, the events that mold her.

I make notes on the page with red ink so I can go back later and flesh in parts of it.

I write and I don’t stop until the passage is finished.

I will heed the words of Stephen King that the worst thing a writer can do is stop writing because the process is too hard. That thought reminds me of advice from a local businessman, Vance Adams, 14 years ago: The person who fails gave up too soon.”

So, even if I am sitting here writing garbage, maybe it isn’t really garbage. I won’t know if I don’t follow through and finish what I have started.

How is your follow-through on your projects? Have you finished that rough draft yet? Are you working on revisions? Have you submitted? 

What are you waiting for?

(C) 2013 Cathy Thomas Brownfield ~ All Rights Reserved