I went to the Black Hills Writers Group tonight. I've wanted to attend for a year now and finally made it happen. The group is a collection of writers of all types simply helping each other out. I heard some great writing and heard all kinds of reasons for writing and not writing. Many of the excuses for not writing are quite familiar. I had a good time. I remember way back when I would've stayed in my car in the parking lot, travel to a local pub for a few, went home and made excuses on why the group is not for me. I have another obligation on Tuesdays which has made it difficult to make the first meeting of the writer's group. I'm glad I finally had the opportunity and hope to become a member. It's worth every penny at only $24 a year.
The writing is cruising along despite yet another visit from the brother-in-law. It appears that he joined the military during the Ford Administration. Apparently they let anybody in during that time. it was right after the Vietnam War when the military wasn't exactly popular. Anyway, Gene always plays Tiger Woods on the golf game and finally I get to say I beat Tiger. For any man who has played at least one round of golf that is a dream come true. We didn't get to eat the almost cardboard pizza but Tammy and Malia both got to play. We also hit the links and played a REAL round of golf. All of us had much different results on the course than we did on the game. lets just say none of us are packing our bags to join the tour.
I have been thinking about 'story' a lot lately. One of the best books I've read on the subject is, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell. This book is a study of a hero's journey and reveals how all mythologies have basically one archetypal hero. The book is eye opening and a great road map for anyone writing a book. I always have it in mind when I'm thinking about how to get my hero to do this or that or what will compel him to act or not to act. Is he refusing the 'call' in the story and if so how do I, as the author, force him to do it anyway. What does his return to home look like? In my story the return is more internal since his home can longer be the home he remembers from childhood. I've already used the ideas in Campbell's book to force my main character to do something he normally wouldn't do... leave his life of being comfortably miserable. He is on the adventure I set him on because it is impossible for him to return to his old life. Thank you Campbell.
For anyone who reads The Hero With A Thousand Faces it will forever change the movie Star Wars. No matter if you're a big fan of the movies or really could care less this book puts the first three episodes (or really Episode IV, V, and VI) into a different category of classic films. What Lucas did (and he studied under Joseph Campbell) was pure magic. I thought that as a child but now as an adult, seeing the story through the hero's journey, I find it even more powerful. It ranks up there with The Iliad or Les Miserables; two of my absolute favorites. The blueprint discovered by Campbell is followed almost to a tee (had to use a golf analogy here) in the original Star Wars trilogy.
I travel next week to Watertown to celebrate my mother-in-laws 80th birthday. This means another challenge to my writing schedule and being surrounded by a group of people related to Gene. God help me. Nothing says 'smooth sailing' like a bunch of adult children planning a party for a parent. What could possibly go wrong here???
until next time... God Bless!
No matter how difficult some days can be writing this book, or cups of coffee it takes to overcome the early morning writers block; at least no one has caught me in an outfit like our dog Baxter has been forced to wear (I think he secretly likes it).
Thirty thousand words. That is the number I passed this morning. It feels pretty good especially since I cut out over six thousand words of the original draft last week. I had written a chapter last year that no longer fits since I went back and added additional scenes. I might be able to use some of it when I reach that section of the novel but it will need some heavy rewrites. What I have is much better.
Last Friday was the only day I didn't write. My brother-in-law was in town from the other side of the state. I had every intention of writing; I sat down with my cup of coffee, put in my earphones, blasted my "Collection of 80s hits and them some" music list from Amazon Cloud Player and began to type. My brother-in-law, who my wife calls her G.I. Joe, has been in the military since the Eisenhower Administration. Okay, maybe it was the Reagan or Carter Administration but some of you weren't even born when Gene graduated boot camp. Anyway, he sat down next to me, "What are you writing?" he asked. He's been told about the book I'm writing, but, well, I think amnesia runs in the family (not you honey). I told him. He grunted. I wrote about 12 words and off he went. No... not away, I mean he began to talk... and talk... and talk... and... well, you get the idea! I stopped and listened to the tragic story of an over 50 victim of fate. I stole that last line from Jimmy Buffet; just have to give credit where credit is due. Plus, I think that was the last song I listened to during my 'wordfest' last Friday. Gene is the female version of my wife which is, well, I'm not sure you can even imagine what that's like. It makes for a ton of laughs when I get the two of them together. I give him a really hard time whenever I get the chance and he just usually threatens my life (while he laughs and uses those certain 'military' words). I closed my computer for the day and Gene, Malia and I had a great time. We watched a bit of the United States Open golf tournament followed by obsessing on Tiger Woods Masters Golf game on PS3 (That's Playstation 3 for those of you over forty; I just recently learned it could be abbreviated). We ate really bad pizza that I believe is just one molecule away from cardboard while Malia kept our foul language in check. We were golfing, what did you expect? It ended up being a great day and I really enjoyed hanging with Gene... only... don't tell him.
It was great to realize that since I was keeping up with my writing that having life change my plans for one day was not a big deal. My attitude could've really went south had I chosen to take days off before last Friday to watch Batman or Le Mis for the 200th time.
Until next time.. God Bless!
What a wild week since I last posted. As you can see I have made some changes to the website since I think I had some sort of attack that made it impossible to login to my account. I wanted to post yesterday after I was done writing in the morning but ran into a host of problems. I have deactivated, trashed, and rewritten my blog twice since we last met. It is a good thing I was able to save what I had written over the past couple of weeks. If you registered before you will need to register again (sorry) due to the evil blog demons... or something. If you have not registered please do so. I am hoping to have cured the problem and do not anticipate any further problems. I found it quite interesting that even though I spent the morning worried about my blog that I was able to write a good deal. And what I have written I am excited about (like I said I am not going back and reading it until it is finished but I know what a good day feels like). The picture this week is what my writing area looked like after I finished writing on Monday. Yes, a full pot of coffee worked its way through that coffee cup. Pictures of family and characters and writings are there to inspire (or sometimes yell at).
First, I must tell you about what happened to me last week. On Thursday Tammy and I traveled to Sioux Falls to elect a new Bishop. No, that was NOT a typo, we were asked by our church to represent them for the ELCA Synod. The day started out by learning that Reverend Padilla was from Chicago. Right away I thought I had it figured out: vote early and vote often! Quickly I was corrected by the Bishop (who wanted to be reelected) in the New Membership Orientation that I get only ONE vote. There was another pastor who apparently is in love with the Psalms and read one each time we had to vote... I'll just say thank God there is no shortage of passages. When it came to voting for a Bishop our pastor received three votes and "claims" he didn't vote for himself (it just goes to show you that we need to pray for our clergy as well). On Sunday I didn't want to embarrass him so I decided not to mention how we caught him sleeping a few times and out "getting another cup of coffee" more than once. It was at this time that he wanted me to answer questions about some budget and something about why I wasn't listening I'm really not sure since I wasn't paying attention. But I digress.. Overall it was a wonderful experience and all kidding aside our pastor's daughter was recognized for serving in Mexico. We pray for her in our household and are proud of what she is doing down south. After four ballots Bishop David Zellmer was reelected in a process that was humbling to be a part of. Reverend Doctor Madsen gave some Bible studies that were the highlight of the weekend and her life was more than an inspiration.
This was my first test of writing under 'not ideal' circumstances. I decided to write on the car ride down to Sioux Falls and really wondered if that would work at all. It worked well and I was able to write even more than my target of 1000 words. I was a the event all day on Friday and used Saturday to make up that writing on the trip home. The change of location ended up being a positive. I read in the book, Plot and Structure, one of the many books in the Write Great Fiction series, that a change of location (coffee shop, park, different room) might help the creative process. Remembering reading this allowed me to calm down and just go with the flow of changing my routine. Each day, even the ones I have NO desire to get out of bed and write, give me a little more confidence that I can do what I set out to do... Finish what I started!
Comments are welcomed!
Today is my daughter’s ninth birthday. This past weekend we had a party a Chuck E. Cheese where she entered the ticket blaster (shown above) and scored enough points to get a lava lamp. Her grandma (lovingly known as “Grammies”) was here from California and we had a great weekend filled with consuming large quantities of food and chocolate. It doesn’t get any better than eating bad pizza and popping the grand prize playing skeet ball. I tell you all this because, well, she’s my daughter and she means everything to me, but she is also the inspiration for the novel.
The story idea for the novel came to me in a dream. I usually don’t remember my dreams but this night I did. I saw my daughter, in her twenties, on some television show called, Welcome to Utopia. She was being forced to swear allegiance to the government after spending years in a reeducation center for those who had a thinking disorder. It had a game show feel to it where the “contestants” went through an interview process at the beginning claiming to be cured. She started to tow the line of the evil totalitarian government but continued to have flashbacks of a resistance she was a part of with her father who was killed in front of her. She escapes in my dream and walks out of the studio back to the resistance and becoming its new leader. The story developed into a father/daughter story where she continues to fight for what her dad believed in. The story of our founders are a strong influence on the original as well as the new story. The female character was going to be the main character and the leader of the resistance. She is still the leader but the focus is now on a man named Lazarus Parker. I named her Abigail Payne.
She was named after Abigail Adams, the wife of our second President John Adams, both by me as the author and her father in the story. Abigail was a strong woman who probably kept John Adams from destroying himself with his temper. She is considered by many to be the start of the woman’s movement and told her husband in a letter that women would eventually demand the same rights our founders were demanding from England. The letters between John and Abigail are legendary and show a very strong bond and love between them. The Adams were not rich and worked their own land. In fact, Abigail did most of the work herself since her husband was away so often working to build a new nation. She was tough. She had a strong faith in God. She worked hard and raised her children without regret. She back
ed her husband’s play not for her own gain but because she believed it was inspired by God. She lived in a time where freedom didn’t exist anywhere or for anyone. She is a vital part of our history and should be remembered. My book is as much about remembering where we came from as it is a warning of what could happen.
The book, Abigail Adams: A Biography, by Phyllis Lee Levin is a great read for those interested in learning more about her.
The writing is still on target so far…
Happy Birthday Malia… I love you
Until next time-God Bless
Hi all. I would like to start off by saying thank you to all who have given me words of encouragement. I knew going public would motivate me. I wrote over 1000 words on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I must admit there were times I thought perhaps I could take today off since I did go over my limit. But I didn’t. In fact, today I was nine words shy of 2000. The possible distraction of the internet, phone, and reading other books can be overwhelming when I find myself stuck. I battled through it and made myself a promise that I am not allowed to do anything until AFTER I have written my minimum.
I am taking the advice of a couple of authors. Both of them said just write and don’t be the editor until you have completed the first draft. This is not easy for a writer like me. I am soooooo dying to go back and read what I have written so I can ‘fix’ it. My wife has been, as Stephen King calls it, my IR (Ideal Reader), she has made some notes on areas of confusion or where I might have used the wrong word. Overall I think this plan of just writing is working well for me. It keeps me in the creative area instead of trying to jump from editor, to critic, to writer.
I must give mention a couple of books here that have been magical this week: Elizabeth Sims’, You’ve Got a Book in You, and The Emotions Thesaurus, by Ackerman and Puglisi. The ability to use this type of thesaurus has been invaluable. When I am looking to show what the character is feeling rather than just tell the reader this has been huge in getting those creative juices flowing. Sims book is just a good old fashion motivator. It reminds me of how I felt when reading King’s book On Writing minus feeling inadequate since I can’t pump out a bestseller every other week. Still, I love reading Stephen King and this is a must read for anyone who is a fan.
My workstation is not cluttered enough to leave you with a new picture of it. Even I can’t make that big of a mess in a week. I just love George Washington and leave you with one of my happy places, Mt. Rushmore.
I finished a new Chapter Four this week. My novel now consists of over 20,000 words. The scenes that take place in what was once Los Angeles are now complete. The main character and his new companions are entering unknown territory on the outskirts of the once great city. My wife read it and didn’t know what was coming – that made me feel good. It is so easy to fall into the trap of creating a plot that is predictable.
More to come, more to write…
Anthony D. Flores loves to spend his summers writing fiction. His strong Christian faith and love for this great country find its way into his fiction. His work is also available on Amazon by Clicking Here.