Creative Series III: The Creative Writer

So, why develop a blog about how to write creatively?

puzzlementSome of us DO have problems writing creatively (or thinking of what or how we want to express ourselves) at times. How do I know? Probably because I have been a professional trainer for the better part of 40-odd years. (Yes, I started as a student, teaching other students how to write, when I was in high school. So yes, I know what I’m talking about.) For some of us the writing process, especially writing when you don’t “feel” like writing is really hard. Some of us feel that it is so difficult that we will downright procrastinate when we set ourselves down to write, or we may even “throw in the towel”, convinced that we can’t write creatively. We may even be feeling ill, perhaps we are feeling emotional about something happening in our lives or just feeling “plain, old, lazy”. So as a writer, what do you do?

The way to set your mind straight.

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If you are a person who has ever held a position in a company for a period of years, how were you so successful in doing so? How about if you are a mechanic, who gets up at 5 A.M. and doesn’t stop until 9 A.M.? Or if you work in an office? You arise at 5 or 6 A.M. to get ready to go to the office to start work at 8 A.M. or 9 A.M. and you stay at the office until 5 P.M., get in your car or wait for the bus to return home so that you can start the process all over again in just a few hours. If you think about writing as a business (YOUR business), you are setting your mind along a specific path to success as a creative writer. The difference is that you are self-employed, so as a result, you answer to…you. Write like you are going to the office:

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  1. Set your alarm
  2. Take a shower
  3. Fix yourself up, put on some clothes (no underwear or pajamas)
  4. Eat your breakfast
  5. Go into your office or travel to a location where you can write undisturbed
  6. Look around you for a moment and pick up where you left off

I don’t know where to start, or I don’t know what is next.

mind_map

As a writer, I always map out everything before I write. It’s known as an outline. Would you like an example? Okay. Here is an example of me in with “my writing pants on”.

Creative Writing Exercise

I am looking at a magazine on the rack in my local Barnes & Noble Booksellers (isn’t having a local bookstore to visit, rather than depend on a website, marvelous?) I happen to look at a sports magazine today, seeing a picture of an island getaway on the cover. Let’s take an island in the Caribbean that we have always wanted to go to for a visit. Let’s go to Turks & Caicos, located in the Atlantic Ocean. Do me a favor, go to the link that I gave you and look at the island.

TurksAndCaicos

Look at the history of Turks & Caicos islands.

Just where exactly is Turks & Caicos in the Atlantic Ocean? Is it next to some hot spot country with all kinds of problems that you read about in the news? Here is what I do, I grab the CIA Factbook online for answers. At the very bottom of the CIA Factbook, are any problems that might be occurring in that country or island. Is it a spot that is not written about, except in travel journals? I have a character who is visiting the islands for a vacation. Can you see what is going on in your mind? Picture the person getting off the plane, not in an airport, but stepping off of a runway ladder into a brilliant sunny day. Our character can see the ocean from the top of the runway ladder.

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What is our character going to do in Turks & Caicos?

As a creative writer, I was always taught to get my character in trouble, and to do it at a moment when I personally, least expect it. So, I put myself in my character’s shoes. What can happen to our character, as soon as our character gets off the plane? Are you seeing where I am going with this example? Click on the links that I gave you prior to this sentence, they are links to real life dramas that unfolded on vacation islands. I am giving you an example which required no thought, no real outline at first, but now that I am seeing a video in my head about my character, now I can start mapping out my story.

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So, now that I have you thinking about Turks & Caicos, what can happen?

Let’s start an outline…a very brief outline of our character and our story. I’ll make it easy for you. Follow the link that I gave you from Writer’s Digest, download and print out what they give you for your story and start getting an idea for this story. If our story going to be a drama, mystery or comedy? Is the island we are on filled with corruption?

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Take lessons from history.

There are all kinds of things that could happen to our character. Think of everything we could do with this character, not to mention the plot or story. We could start in our time, even go backward in time to…perhaps…the days of the pirates, when Turk and Caicos was beautiful and very, very dangerous. So, our story could shift from being a murder mystery to a fantasy time travel sort of story. What kind of fun could you have with that kind of story?

When I was in the service, my ship had docked at St. Thomas for about a week.

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I remember one of our guys was attacked, leaving a taxi. He was so drunk that his attackers had no problem surprising him, beating him down with baseball bats and taking his wallet. He had 17 stitches into his skull the next day. How do I know? Because I was the person assigned to escort him to a neighboring ship, so that the ship’s doctor could suture his injuries. Our next port was about 4 weeks later. The shipmate who was attacked had been received his new paycheck, with a new ID card, so that he could get off the ship. He went out much wiser that night, not drinking so much, but became involved in an incident, because he “wanted some payback”.

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Is our character male or female?

In our day and age, is gender THAT important? Yes! Gender is still an important issue today. When it comes to sales, it can sometimes make a huge difference. We (the world) are still in the center of controversy, when it comes to the differences between men and women. Your story could reflect those differences. A strong female character could mean a crucial difference between selling 500 copies and 50,000 copies or more. If you are a male and writing about a female, you better do your homework. If you are a female and writing about a male, use a fantasy you have about how a male should be.

Why am I saying this?

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Even Randy Pausch had to tell his students, “No shooting violence and no pornography. Not that I’m opposed to those in particular…but that’s been done in VR. All right? (Laughter from the room.)” Randy then added, “And you would be amazed at how many 19 year-old boys are completely out of ideas, when you take those off the table.”  Men rarely grow up. So, if you are a male…and you ONLY want to write to a MALE audience…or if you want to stay in a particular type of genre, I suggest that you try something different.

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Is our character someone who will fight back if provoked?

We want to get our character in trouble and keep getting our character in trouble. Or as one might say, “Out of the frying pan and into the fire”. Many travelers can get caught up in trouble. Trouble may come in the form of animal attacks as well. What about diving off the coast of the island, maybe a tour…and our character is involved in a shark attack. We could have our character survive a natural calamity, based on a theory that methane bubbles could have been a cause of the Bermuda Triangle.

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All you need is a little research.

Now, let your imagination run wild!

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Next in our series: Breaking it down: How to Breathe Life Into Your Character.

The Monster Awakens…

3 - CopyOkay, I have started the engine for 5Artz.

My partner feels that we are ready to start and that I am being too obsessive about wanting to ensure we have a perfect or near perfect website before we get started.

I will confer with Bill Guthrie, but I am sure he will agree.

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I have been sitting on this too long.

So here is the plan.

I am starting with a fundraiser campaign and free membership, so that you can keep your eye on me. I will begin advertising on Facebook, this Saturday, the 29th of April to begin data collection.

If I am successful in raising funds to make 5Artz legitimate, I will switch this from a partnership to a corporation. Once the legal stuff is in place, I will begin refining work on two 5Artz stores:

  1. The mobile app store will only be available for paying members to sell short work.
  2. The 5Artz website will feature its own store for members to sell their completed work: Books, CD’s, DVD’s, etc. We’re not an Etsy clone, we are all about the five creative disciplines: Art, Writing (creative, how to’s, etc.), Music, Photography and Performing Arts (Podcast CD’s, etc.)

file000370626123My reasoning for the above is this: We are going to have a mixed bag of members. We will probably have novices through experts.

The site is geared for novices.

I want people who consider themselves “C-listers”, “D-listers” and “F-listers”, whether they are or not.

I want our members to have the opportunity to grow.

blue big lightbulb shining surrounded by group of people
concept for teamwork, imagination, creativity and idea generation as a group or team

I am not overlooking members who are semi-pros and pros. I’d like to get member pros into another area of the 5Artz world – sharing what they know for a price that members can afford. I see pros offering classes for $800.00, $1,500.00…I want my members to be able to afford the lessons. I don’t know right now…maybe create six month’s content.

That means learning how to develop curriculum (if you don’t know how) at $7.99 or $10.99 a month.

file0001326995371By creating dripped content memberships from experts, members will have access to material that will help them in their endeavors. Heck, we could even create “finishing schools” by our expert members for members who can afford it. (You can’t gouge someone who doesn’t have the cash to spend.) Besides, if we get to the point where we have tens of thousands of members, that could mean a lot of money in the long run for our experts. We’ll need money to pay the coders to revamp the website, so that credit for courses is immediately converted to cold, hard cash for the teacher or we devise some system that is specific to its course developer.

I’ve got all kinds of plans for 5Artz, but I can’t do it without community support.

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That means eventually paying customer service people to respond to complaints, suggestions, personality issues, you name it. I can probably outsource it for a while, but that will become a financial nightmare very quickly, as well as an inability to control our service in-house.

I’d like to add a voice chat server to 5Artz as well.

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Voice chat could be an effective way of dealing with issues, as well as a really cool community component…for the community. If anyone wants to be a pain, one can always mute them. If the member is really bad, we can always issue a time out for a while. We can reinstate the member to try them out again.

There are all kinds of things we can do with this monster.

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I DO call it a monster, because it will become a monster. I’m willing to get this started, though. My dream is to create a community that could eventually become self-sustaining, with its own governing body. Something that could outlast myself, my family, your family, your family’s family…a community that might one day encompass the entire world, always developing or enhancing the culture that already exists, while its members are able to sustain themselves as creative individuals.

Peeved At Neighbors On Peeve

We love our neighbors, right?

What about the times that we don’t? What is it that really ticks us off about our neighbors sometimes? What is there that pushes us over the edge to wish we had a bazooka, point it at their house and pull the trigger? Well, that is what we are going to discuss.

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Just click on the linkto see the latest Peeve!

Creative Series II: The Pitfalls and Perils of Punctuation

If you’re like me, you might sometimes have problems with punctuation.

Let’s talk about punctuation first, and what it is for. Punctuation has a historical reason for being a part of our written language. The history of punctuation is actually quite fascinating, as presented by the BBC in an online article. A Wikipedia search shows us a number of reasons why punctuation has become such an important part of many written languages in our world today. “In written English, punctuation is vital to disambiguate the meaning of sentences. For example: “woman, without her man, is nothing” (emphasizing the importance of men), and “woman: without her, man is nothing” (emphasizing the importance of women) have very different meanings; as do “eats shoots and leaves” (which means the subject consumes plant growths) and “eats, shoots, and leaves” (which means the subject eats first, then fires a weapon, and then leaves the scene).[3] The sharp differences in meaning are produced by the simple variations in punctuation within the example pairs, especially the latter.”

Reading a bit further in the Wikipedia example shows us: “The oldest known document using punctuation is the Mesha Stele (9th century BC). This employs points between the words and horizontal strokes between the sense section as punctuation.[6]” There is a lot of really cool content on the web today about the history of punctuation. I hope that you find a few moments to do some research about just why we use punctuation.

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So, what if we don’t use punctuation?

Did you know that the old Greeks recorded dialogues on parchment? There was a problem however, EVERYTHINGTHEYWROTEHADNOSPACINGANDWASWRITTENINUPPERCASELETTERS. Imagine even attempting to “decode” something that a scribe had written down for posterity. What a chore that would be! As a result, rules were created by Aristophanes of Bysantium to handle this increasing problem in Greek literature by adding spaces and accents to help people understand what they were reading.

Did you have ever read Chaucer or Shakespeare in high school?

If you are now, or remember how confusing or frustrating it could be to read and understand what many of us call archaic script, you would agree with me in saying that reading very old texts can be quite frustrating.

How about an example? I am going to use some material from Harvard’s The Geoffrey Chaucer Page, that was erected for just this purpose. Here is a direct copy from that site:

The opening lines of the Canterbury Tales constitute a learned version of the “reverdi,” a simple lyric celebrating the return of Spring after the harshness of winter, a common form of medieval French lyric. It became widespread in English as well. widespread in English as well. The most famous example in is the “Cuckoo song,” which dates from the twelfth century:

Sumer is i-comen in.
Groweth seed and bloweth meed
And springth the wude nu.
Sing cuccu!

I suppose that little songs like this go back to earliest antiquity — the reassuring return of vegetation and fertility, and of the sun — especially in Northern Europe – – after the cold and dark winter.

The standard love lyric builds upon this return of spring song by adding human love. Spring brings a great outburst of energy in nature, the birds begin to sing again, and nature stirs its creatures to love:

Western wind, when wilt thou blow,
The small rain down can rain?
Christ, if my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!

When Spring arrives, love comes with it. Here is a typical opening of a lover’s complaint:

When the nightingale singes
The wodes waxen grene,
Leaf and gras and blossom springes
In Averil, I wene,
And love is to min herte gon
With a spere so keen.

And on then into the story of his love.

How did you feel when you were reading the passages? Were you able to understand what Chaucer was saying?

If you have ever read any passages from Ovid, a roman poet who lived from 43 BC to 17 AD, you will find text that is very graphic in nature. More like reading something that might have been written by Stephen King:

P. Ovidius Naso, Metamorphoses
Brookes More, Ed.

And Phorbas the descendant of Methion.
Who hailed from far Syene, with his friend
Amphimedon of Libya, in their haste
to join the battle, slipped up in the blood
and fell together: just as they arose
that glittering sword was driven through the throat
of Phorbas into the ribs of his companion.

What I am pasting is very tame, in comparison to the rest of Ovid’s story.

What I would like to point out however, is the punctuation that is being used. Would Ovid’s punctuation be corrected by an editor? Would you have been the editor?

Did you know, there are many sources available for guidance in using punctuation?

My favorite is right next to me. I always keep it next to my keyboard.

There are many scholars who claim that our modern punctuation started in the 16th century. Other scholars claim that the punctuation we use today began much earlier. Whomever is correct, the fact that modern punctuation has become so critical to our daily writing lives means that facing the challenge of punctuation’s sometimes massive role in our writing, is privy to how our readers judge us and our ability to write.

Punctuation

I recommend using Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.

I keep Elements of Style next to my keyboard. If it is not, I have my source online where I can reach it at any time. If you take a look at the link I provided, you’ll find that you too, can have it at your fingertips. There are countless other sources that you can use to ensure that your punctuation is correct. Here are just a few that you can use:

Are just a few of the invaluable books, available as sources that you can add to your collection of tips and tricks to being a better writer.

Writing is fun for me. It has been a constant source of learning the art and craft of writing. I hope that you have as much enjoyment and reward from writing as I have through the years.

Next in my Creative Series III: How to Start Writing

Newest Posting on Peeve

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If you didn’t catch it, I posted my newest Peeve: Peeved about going to work.

Different from my prior Peeve posts, it’s more upbeat. I personally don’t have a lot of Peeves about work, simply because I love what I do as a part time job and enjoy the people I come into contact with.

I also love what I am doing as a new full time job: Writing.

As I explain in the post, there was a point in time when I was very unhappy with what I was doing. I tend to be very positive about work. I am one of those people who works hard at not looking back on the negative and focusing on the positive aspects of what I have learned. Over the past few decades, I have had the opportunity to reap all kinds of personal rewards from the work that I have done. If you’ve never had the opportunity to do so, helping people is work that fills your heart. I have no complaints. I always recommend volunteering time to help others. There is no currency to match the feeling you get, when you are able to solve a problem for someone or fix something that they can’t fix.

I apologize for that.

This was a difficult post for me to write about. If you have your own Peeve about work, I would love to see your Peeve. You can always add to any Peeve by posting your comments here, on the site or wherever you are seeing this message.

The best medicine for negative thought is change.

If you are one of those people who is not satisfied with what you do, I recommend looking into either changing yourself, changing your personal life (which could be affecting the way you work) or better yet, changing what you do for a living. Going back to school and learning is always preferable to attempts at escaping by playing a game, drowning your sorrows or looking back at what you never did. If you can’t afford school, finding a mentor is another avenue you can take.

Jobs are always a part of our lives that we can change.

If you feel trapped in your present job, I recommend that you look and see if there are any positive options you can take to make your working life better. Professionally, I was in a job that did not suit me, and I did it for 20 years. I don’t recommend taking that path. There are things that can be learned from wiser people than ourselves. I look to mentors who may be gone from this earth, but have left us with all kinds of options to mull over. Take someone like Siddhārtha Gautama, otherwise known as Buddha for example. He was a real person who lived a very interesting life, who set out on a course of study that not a lot of us would take. He was an observer, who saw a lot of suffering. He came up with the Four Noble Truths (suffering, its origin, how to end it, and the eightfold path or the path leading to the extinction of suffering – Ancient History Encyclopedia).

I’m not suggesting that we all convert to Buddhism, mind you.

What I am suggesting is to look at what others who came before us had to offer. Heck, you have other really wise people like: Plato, Socrates, St. Thomas Aquinas, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Son Tzu, Abraham Lincoln, etc. Take your pick. I’m just rattling off names that are plopping into my brain. There are tens of thousands that you can pick from, based upon your own personal ethos. My whole point here, is that if you are in a personal place, where you are not finding satisfaction with what you are doing, I highly recommend that you make plans to find something that you love doing.

Keep yourself happy by doing what you love to do.

If money is your concern, my personal opinion is that you find work that aligns itself with the direction you want to move. Don’t take out your frustrations on the people that you work with. Stay positive. Life will take care of itself.

Next Peeve that I don’t have a problem writing about: Neighbors.

Creative Series II: The Foundation of Grammar

For those of you who are into Easter, Happy Easter!

Today, we are talking grammar.

Grammar is the foundation that writing is built on. If it were not for grammar, how we speak and what we write would be a chaotic soup of nonsense. In fact, we could be walking, talking and acting like the characters in “Idiocracy“. There are some in the world, who feel that our society as a whole has already chosen to follow this debilitating spiral.

The “stuff” that grammar is made of, is in every fabric of our lives.

You may be thinking that grammar consists of the ABC’s of school that you either liked or hated to learn about. Not true. Grammar is not just nouns, pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, subject, predicate, conjugation first person, second person, third person or any of the other fancy-shmancy words that may come to mind. Nope, grammar is all about learning how to keep the words within your sentence making sense. So, how do we do that? Well, we can write using the same kinds of pauses, stops and accelerations that we use when we speak.

The punctuation marks of grammar, give us a certain rythymn in our writing.

Grammar is a combination of commas, periods or punctuarion marks that we use to create a kind of rythymn when we are writing for our readers. Did you know that some songwriters develop their songs to a metronome? Think of punctuation as a kind of metronome that keeps time to associate our reader with ideas similar to ours when we write. Think of a comma as a pause or taking in a breath. If a comma is a pause or breath, the period is a longer silence. Maybe one or two seconds of silence in our writing. Punctuation marks work like metres to keep the tempo of our writing  in sync (synchronously) with our presentation of ideas while we write.

Creative writers learn how to use grammar to present  a kind of “visual” prose.

file0001673731860When a writer puts pen to paper with the intention of creating something that the reader can see in their mind, they are using a kind of “visual” form of writing. For example, if I describe a small stream of water, trickling down the face of a small hill that leads into a river and ends in a waterfall without saying anything else, what comes to your mind? What do you imagine?

What if I write the sentence differently?

file0002102036533It was a small trail of water, formed from the melting snows of far mountaintops. The water gained momentum as it trickled down the steep mountainsides of greens and browns. Stunted, twisted lichen-encrusted trees littered leaves and branches into the water. Flowing, ever-flowing, the trail of water joined with other trickles to form brooks and streams, moving faster and faster, collecting more and more leaves and branches, coalescing into a tumultuous river of brown.

Becoming an animal of seething fury, the river wound around boulders and past branches as it continued its descent. Trapped in the current of raging water, more and more flotsam became lost in savage whirlpools that collected in various dips close to the shoreline, swallowed into unfathomable chasms of black, only to become visible once again, in the grasp of the river’s current.

Following a twisted course of bends and turns, the water ended in a hurried rush to leap from its banks and shorelines into the air, cascading in a roar that spewed mist for miles, a waterfall that fell hundreds of feet into an abysmal, turqouise pool that sank into an endless oblivion of black. Skeletons of branches and leaves that survived, collected into half-visible islands lost travelers that meandered slowly and auspiciously into a wide, slow river that led into a lush, green valley.

What do you see, when you read the second example?

THAT is grammar. I am not just using words to describe what I am seeing in my mind, but literally straining to create an emotional experience. Look back at the first sentence. Look where I am placing my commas. Read the sentence to yourself, using the commas as pauses. If you need to, read the sentence out loud. I’m skipping a lot of detail. For example, green and brown…what? Grass? Leaves? Trees? But, do I need to describe that much in detail? I can skip over a few areas of description for your imagination, so that I am allowing you, the reader to envision your own picture of this mountainside I am describing.

Can you feel the tempo of the prose changing as you read?

Do you have an urge to read the paragraph faster? Why? What is causing you to read any faster than you are? How about looking at the second sentence, when I actually was not in tempo, but in a kind of syncopation. I’m throwing you off-beat, almost from the start of the sentence, only to keep this new tempo at a faster pace, using words that are virtually composed of single or double syllables, words that you would use yourself in an average conversation, ending in a kind of pause, when I use the word “tumultuous”.

Using descriptive words in a sentence can emphasize an emotional kind of feeling.

In the third sentence, notice how I open the my description by comparing water with an animal. Not just any kind of animal, mind you, but a furious animal…a raging animal. I am making use of a metaphor; the “raging animal”. The sentence that follows animates branches and leaves, as they are caught in the pull of the river. It is as if the descriptive paragraph gives you a kind of foreboding emotion as you are pulled along with the current of this river. Like a musical passage, my goal is to build my paragraph to a crescendo, only to end on a softer note, smoothing out the rollercoaster ride I trapped you on.

Our use of language is not heading uphill, it is going in the opposite direction.

When my wife and I are out of the house, she is constantly shushing me. In fact, there are times when she questions her decision to allow me in public. Why? The best example I can think of is when we go out to a restaurant and the server tells us, “Enjoy”. Enjoy…what??? What the Hell is this person telling me to enjoy? If it’s the food, then how about using a complete sentence? If I didn’t know any better, I would say that we are a society and culture that has learned to use incomplete sentences, expecting those who listen to us to “magically” or “internally” understand what we are saying. What is wrong with saying, “Enjoy your meal, or enjoy your food?”

Here is another example…a dictionary sample that has been “legitimized” by the Cambridge Dictionary. We’re going to have to up the tempo (=work faster) if we want to finish on time. “Up” the tempo??? If we were back in the 70’s or even the 60’s, we’d get a strange look from our audience. “You mean…increase or raise the tempo, right? It seems that the incontrovertible evidence that the English language is going to hell in a handbasket is true. Sadly, this example is indicative of our brilliant march – backward. We are slowly losing the ability to speak our own language. It is as if the quality of thinking in a way that allows the language to allow for a flowing current…like a “river”, is more like a bunch of small streams leading into a quagmire.

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It is time for my to end this part of my series and for you to write something for yourself.

Next week: Punctuation

Peeved #2: When We Go Out

 

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Click Here!!! The NEW LINK is HERE! Peeved when we go out!!!

 

Sorry I’m late.

I have a very good excuse. Honest. I was working with a good friend on a website that he wants to set up. He is a very busy man. Busier than I am and with a more important job.

I hope the excuse is valid enough for me to get this one out.

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Ever feel like you’re looking down into some bottomless pit?

Creative Series II: The Importance of Editing Your Work

I had the opportunity to talk to my mentor Bill Guthrie about editing  last week.

I asked Bill how important it is to edit your own work. Bill’s response was akin to that of a writer who just gave him a stupid question. He didn’t come out and respond with that kind of tone, but he reiterated how important it is to get more than one set of eyes on your written work, if possible. Bill continued to state how important it is for a writer, in fact anyone writing alone, to proofread their work after they have finished with the editing process. Please notice that I have provided many different links (one after the other from a Google search) that focus on the writing process.

Editing is all about accuracy.

What does accuracy really mean during this process? Well, many schools and organizations focus on steps involved in writing. In one of my previous posts, I included a video excerpt from “Finding Forrester“. The character Forrester (I personally felt), advises his apprentice (Rob Brown as “Jamal Wallace” who did a brilliant job in playing the part) to simply start typing. The technique that Forrester displays is one that has been used by many teachers and mentors for ages.

With so many sources to access for help on writing or editing, which one is correct?

I have been using Writer’s Digest as my major source of information, tips and advice for decades. If you don’t know anything about Writer’s Digest, you’ll find that the organization has been around for more than 90 years. I took a photo that illustrates part of my writing library, that has survived thousands of miles of travel.

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Over half of the books that I own, were due to the influence that Writer’s Digest had on me over 30 years ago. I still use every one of those books that you see on that shelf to this day. I use those books as a reference point during my editing process. Yes, that includes “Star Trek and Philosophy“. I use Elements of Style as my Bible. In fact, it (Elements of Style) has been made readily available online by Bartleby.com as a resource form (I personally prefer having the book.) I just purchased the Elements of Editing by Arthur Plotnik for the fourth time, last week. (I noticed that I had pages missing and the cover had become ripped and torn). I, for example, like to have a period outside parentheses, simply because it looks aesthetically correct to me.

Editing takes a lot of focus.

I prefer the quiet of my office when I am editing. It allows me to not only think about what I have written, but also to exchange ideas with my wife who has a degree in journalism. Unlike many writers, I have had the luxury of consulting a “live-in” editor. Her willing (and unwilling) assistance, being my “second set of eyes” has become invaluable to me over the decades.

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I hope that this short blog post might help you in your editing process.

Editing is your vision. This process goes hand-in-hand with other processes when you are writing. This process in not necessary when you are in your first draft stage. Yet, you and I see countless examples of profesional writers who are obviously blindly posting a first draft they have composed every day.

Perhaps the art of writing is locked into the mechanics of editing.

It is part of learning how to clearly impart our thoughts into understandable, intelligible prose. We as humans often find ourselves as “chaotic creatives“. First, the idea occurs within countless other conclusions. If you don’t believe me, search your thoughts right now. If your thinking lines up into logical, harmonious thought that occurs in a linear fashion to a logical conclusion, then how are you arriving at your conclusion? When you dream, are you dreaming in a logical, progressive order? Or are your dreams more random in nature? I don’t want to get locked up into a psychological or psychiatric diatribe about your thought processes over mine. I DO want to express how editing within the context of writing follows a process-driven methodology. It (editing) is mechanical, opposed to writing, which (at first) may not be mechanical. What is important, is that following the editing process in writing is a good guarantee that what you write will make sense and that your creative ability as a writer can be aligned into prose that blooms like a rose in spring.

Next in the series: The Importance of Grammar.

“Making it”, Creatively

(Note: I am posting this now, since I noticed that three people have already viewed the blog, obviously to see what new material I have posted today. Unfortunately, I was working at the bookstore all day today. I know, I know…that is NO excuse. So, I am posting this excerpt from my old blog right now. I will still post my new material on editing today. I am also in talks with my mentor (Bill Guthrie), to begin adding fresh material about writing very soon to this blog, UNDER HIS NAME. Bill was a journalist for over 40 years. At one point in his career, he was one of the editors of the Las Vegas Review Journal. Bill is expecting to release his new book, “The Boy Who Met the Babe” very soon. When that occurs, I would like to focus on other material that I have been just itching to discuss.) In the meantime, this excerpt was when I was hosting a writing group, here in Las Vegas, almost 6 years ago. I have gone to the trouble to add links to this post that you can follow, that were not part of the original work, so many years ago. I personally recommend that you follow the links that I have provided, in that many of them are excellent references for creative intellectuals that many of us chose as mentors long ago. The other sites that I linked, I felt are pretty darn cool, when looking for insight into hobbies or future creative businesses that you may be interested in pursuing one day.

Survival as a Creative Soul

The Tough Reality of Creativity

Since the time of Renoir and Plato, it’s been tough to get a job as a creative individual.

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It takes a lot of belief in yourself, and your ability to weather homelessness, poverty, and even loneliness while you market your wares as an artist.  It makes no difference whether you are a photographer, writer, painter, dancer, podcaster, singer, actor, actress, or whatever.  Life is tough if you are determined to chase your creative side.  You must have income (either stashed away, or established as retirement) to support yourself or you will go hungry.

The bottom line is: How far you are willing to look to find your muse?

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Are you good enough to find your niche as a writer, singer, dancer, actor, etc.?  That is the question, isn’t it?  Are you good enough?  I meet very talented people every day.  Some decide only to pursue their talent as a hobby, others finally give in to the storm of emotion that wells up from their heart to make the change from average working stiff to artist.

We all have our reasons.

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I am so very proud to say that our very own Darcy is now actively writing for Suite 101, and getting paid for her efforts, while still pursuing other lucrative writing assignments.  Stan is also getting his next poetry book published by a publisher — perhaps as a textbook.  I myself, am now involved in talking to an agent regarding my forthcoming series, which could be very lucrative for me as well.  But, only time will tell.

I have two quotes in closing.

5The first from Pierre-Auguste Renoir himself, “The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself and carry you away. It is how the artist conveys his passion. It is the current which he puts forth, which sweeps you along in his passion.” The second from Isaac Asimov, “I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die. “ If life is your art, then live it until you can’t.

New Post on Peeve: Driving

Well, I just finished the post regarding driving on Peeve.

 

 

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Click on this picture to access Peeve.

 

I included quite a few videos from YouTube that you may find interesting in this post. I believe that you will find that no matter where you are in the world, you will find people, places or events that will affect you to the point where you become sorely annoyed. Yes, it could be the other way around, but what you will find is that Peeve is all about you…and myself. This is more about you, though. What we discuss may not be morally right, or morally wrong. You and I are all entitled to get angry, it is what makes us human. What separates us from the rest of the animals in the world though, is that we learn to approach what affects us calmly or noncommittally.

Sharing problems.

Once upon a time, long ago, I had a good friend who gave me strange advice. He said, “When you have a problem, or problem with someone, tell everyone the problem. Pretty soon, no more problem.” Peeve is all about sharing those problems that happen to all of us, no matter where we are or what we are doing. Peeve is about letting loose or sharing our victories, no matter how trivial we think they may be.

Peeve is about looking at our pet peeves.

Sure, your input could be negative. I am banking on the fact that something, probably some stranger has at one time or another “stepped on your toes”. Heck, it could even be me. (Nope, you’re NOT going to stop the blog). Peeve is all about sharing our experiences. Peeve is about getting past the “idiocy of the world” that sometimes creeps into our personal lives, so that we can move on with the logic and normalcy of our own.

Peeve will be a weekly blog.

I will be updating the blog every Monday. Now, this does not account for time zone changes, so perhaps I should be clearer. I will be updating Peeve every Monday afternoon/evening Pacific Standard Time (PST). I’ve come up with a long list of peeves that affect all of us. Here is a hint of what you will find in the coming months:

Future Peeves

Out Anywhere

People cutting you off for a choice parking spot you have been waiting for
People not watching when they are backing up
People jostling you, no excuse me…
Rude customers
Rude customer service
A huge group of people cutting you off in the only cashier line
Parents who keep their screaming child in the store
People who bring their dog, cat, parakeet or whatever into the store
People at the cash register who can’t seem to make up their mind
People in the drive thru who take forever
Employees in the drive thru who don’t give you what you ordered

Work

Butthead managers
Butthead employees
Butthead customers

Neighbors

Neighbors playing loud music at night
Neighbors parking in your parking spot
Neighbors stomping above you in an apartment complex
Neighbors blocking your way when you need to get to work
Parents bullshitting with the bus driver when the rest of us need to get to work
Neighbors with kids who get into all your shit
Neighbors with dogs or cats who poop all over your yard
Neighbors who don’t respect the boundaries of your property
Neighbors who throw loud parties
Couples who fight all of the time
Families with children who knock on your door trying to sell you worthless shit

Problems with Relatives

Problems with Kids/Stepkids

Problems with Spouses

Problems with Weather