Tag Archive: poets


Some authors can write the beginning of a book, short story or chapter off of the cuff. They like to see where the story goes without drawing a map to the final destination. I’ve done this myself a time or two, but I find that my work comes out best if I write my ideas out, look at them and arrange them into a story. No matter what school of thought you subscribe to, sitting down to write a map of where you intend to go with your story does have its advantages.

I like to write my stories a bit like TV shows, where each chapter is an episode and each book can be considered a season. In TV shows, the writers always get together and have a writers meeting to discuss where they are in the season, what the next episode is going to be about, which characters and what story lines will be included in the episode and how the episode they’re currently writing will impact the future of the show. I like to do the same thing whenever I outline the next chapter of a novel or a short story.

I’m currently working on finishing up my second novel. My first attempt at writing a novel is actually going to be the third novel in the series. I was halfway through when I realized that my characters have a backstory that I had yet to fully explore in order to do the novel and the series justice. At first I thought I could do that with just one novel, but it turned out that I actually needed two. In order to figure out the backstories of my characters, I had to get to know them. In order to do that, I had to sit down and “interview” them, see who they were before I met them, what they liked, who their family was, what clothes they liked to wear and what kind of music they listened to. Outlining is a great way to not only discover every facet of your story, but to also figure out who your characters are.

I admit that there is a thrill to simply diving into a story to see where it will take me. The act of raw creation brings a certain sense of urgency and an unpolished refinement that you just can’t get when you outline. Rather than sitting down and interviewing your characters, you allow them to possess you and tell the story purely from their point of view. It’s a bit like listening to the elegance of orchestral music versus the unbridled ferocity of heavy metal. One is very structured, very outlined and the other is undiluted and restrained. Yet both have their target audiences.

So when it comes to the question of outlining, I think it’s best to try your hand at both. If you’re used to outlining, you might want to try writing a poem to exercise those creative mental muscles. Poetry is another one of those raw forms of creation. Rarely do you hear of a poet, rapper, MC, musician or singer who outlines their material. Often they have the music, the verse or the song inside of them and they simply sit down and let it out, allowing it to write itself as they go. After the muse has passed, they go back and clean it up, much like a writer edits their work. If you’re more used to writing off of the cuff and would like to outline more, a suggestion to make the transition is to write out character histories or make up a character and write out their backstory. This will allow your mind to focus, discover and think before putting pen to pad or finger to key.

Take care out there.

Which do you prefer? Outlining or writing off of the cuff? Any particular reason why?  

Advertisements

Why I Write What I Write

 

I don’t remember exactly when it was that I fell in love with fiction and fantasy. But I do remember there was an allure in exploring possibilities and impossibilities. Maybe it was growing up in Alabama where nothing ever happened that drove me to immerse myself in worlds where adventure was a part of everyday life, magic occurred as naturally as the wind and traveling in a spaceship was a standard practice. Reality was too bland, too boring for me, and reading was an escape from that. But reading fantasy was like dreaming while still awake. I guess fantasy and sci-fi were my Inception.

I’ve always had a vivid imagination and I’ve always been a daydreamer. I think you’d probably have to visit me in a psychiatric ward if it weren’t for a creative outlet like writing. And maybe that’s all that writers, artists, poets and other creative types are, functioning psychotics. Rather than allowing our insanity to consume us and drive us insane, we channel it and work with it to creative something…more, something beyond what we see and experience in everyday life.

I know that the world we live in holds much splendor and wonder, but sometimes all of that magnificence needs to be magnified times a thousand. I don’t want to travel in an airplane, I want to lift my arms and fly under my own will. I don’t want to simply travel to different states and nations, I want to travel to different dimensions. I want to live in the worlds I see in games like Final Fantasy, see what it would be like to have actual superpowers and have a vampire for a roommate.

For a while now I’ve been on a superhero kick. There’s just something about exploring the idea of how having superpowers changes who you are, either in a small way or a big way. Would the world be a better place if Captain America really existed? How different would the world be if it had a Captain Japan or a Captain Africa? What if the Avengers were villains instead of heroes? What if there was one person with the power to solve all of the world’s problems but they decided not to? I hope to write comic book scripts as well as novels someday, and maybe even a video game script or two. Even though I’m not up to date on the latest happenings in the comic book/graphic novel world, I’ll always be a proud comic book nerd.

When it comes to fantasy, I’m enamored with the idea of creating a new world, new rules, new races, new technology and new ideas. I believe that fantasy and sci-fi are the purest forms of creation. The genres force authors to dig deep, unravel thoughts and ideas that they’ve had since they were old enough to comprehend in order to make manifest a new universe where those thoughts and ideas don’t mean a thing. I have one idea for a fantasy story that’s been in my head for years. I dabble with it every now and then, and I’m just now starting to feel “old” enough to make an honest effort of writing it. If I do, I think I’ll have to pull  a George R.R. Martin and spend a few years on it.

As much as I love brazen, in-your-face fantasy and fiction, I also love the subtle nuances of a fiction or thriller. These are the kinds of stories that can keep me up at night wondering if the events and characters pressed between the pages of a book could actually exist. Movies like Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy make us believe that there could be a real life Bruce Wayne out there somewhere. While  characters like the Joker and Bane may not exist, the characteristics of those characters most certainly do. That is the type of fiction that I hold closest to my heart, the kind that really makes you sit down and examine your life, the world you live in and how you fit in it.

Fiction, sometimes it’s closer to the truth than reality itself.

Take care out there.

What are some of your favorite genres and why? 

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my serial DARK ON THE ROCK on JukePop Serials! Vote for it if you like it, and be sure to check back this Friday for Episode Three.

Artists have to be some of the bravest and most vulnerable people on Earth. To go on stage and perform a poem, showcase your artwork, sing an original song or allow someone to read your work takes great courage. It’s akin to undressing your soul and allowing others to gaze upon your naked spiritual flesh, every scar, every burn, every curve, every freckle, mole, wrinkle, stretch mark, every part of yourself. They are the brave and the bold, fighting for our freedom to be more than human. And I am proud to be among their ranks.