When I start a new novel, it’s because I am on an obscene level of excitement. The characters, the story, the plot, the world the characters live in, everything about the novel has brought excitement. The longer all these elements stay around, morphing in the process, and the more excited I become as result, the more likely it is I will write it. Once the novel has been green lighted, that’s it. It’s a done deal.
So the writing begins. Everything starts off fine. The novel progresses fairly easily. There are the occasional hiccups and so a little fine tuning is employed along the way. BUT THEN comes the feeling that maybe this project wasn’t for me. Did I jump the gun on this one??
That has been a question that I have asked myself on a few occasions. By then I am already partially into the book. Or sometimes I’m halfway through it. For some reason there’s some kind of uneasiness with some aspect of the novel that doesn’t seem to fit. Then there are times when I’m just not sure about the whole thing. It’s at those moments I think maybe I should scrap it. This was a common thing when I was a child and I was just starting to experiment with writing novels. Back then the reason for scraping was because I’d start two or three, then get the storylines mixed up or have plot holes, or I just didn’t like how it was developing. Things have changed since then.
These days I don’t like to scrap novels. Instead, once the level of excitement reaches beyond the point of no return, I sit down to develop it more. This helps a lot. Fine tuning the parts that I want to include or should include serves as kind of a map. It also lets me be creative during the process. Even with this I can still feel like I should start over or start something else altogether. So, I try to zero in on what it is that’s not sitting well and define whether or not I can work with it. Usually, I can. Sometimes I’m not sure if I like it as much as I thought I did. So what’s not to like and can I change it to satisfactory status are questions that I have to ask myself. This means having to write through the rough patch.
Writing through the rough patch for me means trying to find plausible ways to fix whatever might be causing the issue. The reason for this isn’t because I don’t know when to let a project go. For me it’s about not giving up just because progressing through the novel isn’t going the way I want it or the way I think it should be going. I’ve learned that just as it’s necessary to brainstorm through easy progression, it’s just as important to brainstorm through hard progression.
-Be blessed. Peace.
When I was younger I did doodles and drawings. I was okay. If I looked at something like a picture of my favorite cartoon character, I could draw it without tracing. This was during my really young years, before I started writing stories. Before I even thought about writing stories. Anyway, like I said, I was okay. Drawing something from my mind, like from scratch, that was another story and the end result varied.
Recently I’ve had the idea that maybe dabbling in the arts, such as painting, would be a good way to do something different with my creativity. Just to see what flows, how it flows, and what other creativity there is to still be discovered. Currently, my writing has spread into other writing forms, like screenwriting. But creative writing isn’t the only and have never been the only art form.
Not only is it about doing something different. It’s also about helping my writing process. I think channeling creativity in another art form may help with my writing. I have found that just between poetry, short stories, and novels, the skill set required for one translates well to enrich another. And writing poetry while listening to music has always been a well of inspiration for me. Maybe the same will happen from a different flow in a different medium.
-Be blessed. Peace.
We Were Paper Planes
By Te’Kia Miller
We were paper planes launching
Gliding in childish whimsy
Fantastical windfalls trying to shred
Our flimsy wings could not avail
We sailed all the higher through invisible clouds
Towards the bright horizon and beyond
To places our eyes saw
To places only spoken about in reveries
Gleeful little hearts of children
Believes in anything
Yes, that all of it is possible
We were paper planes unleashed
Flying free to the land others thought
Make-believe, to bring back hope’s vision
But somehow we flew wayward
Mesmerized into the fireplace, we burned
into ghosts of what might have been
So. A few weeks ago I finished the third installment of what became a triology. It was never supposed to be a triology. It was never supposed to be a sequel. I can say that I have learned a few things about writing a sequel/triology but that is for another day, another post.
While I have great joy in having finished the novel, there was another thing I also found in my habit. It’s something that I just realized was an actual thing. What I am talking about is a juggling act. But it’s not the typical juggling of two or three novels ( I am notorious for starting like three novels at a time, not even joking. I literally have two in the process right now).
But (sorry English teachers 😦 ) what I am talking about is juggling different types of projects. In particular, poetry and story writing. In the past there have been times when I would have lull periods of poetic inspiration independent of writing stories. These were usually times when writer’s block in the poetic realm was in full swing. Most recently though the lull in poetic expression has occured while I am writing a story.
There were times when I wanted to write poetry and I felt it there bubbling if I could just be still long enough. It was always that story pulling me away though. Whenever I am writing on a story, it’s like this rabbit dog thing where I have to finish it even if it’s taking me a while to get through it. During these times though poetry can fall a little to the wayside. Not that I am complaining or sad about it. I think that this is just something that happens as a result of switching tracks. I do find it hard to get cuddled with my muse though in these particular times. I don’t want to take for granted take that my muse will always be there, especially in juggling times.
I do cycle through poetry, novels, and short stories. The short story is what I am trying to get back into but I am also developing a movie script (my first ever!! It’s just really fun learning and writing). So that’s another ball in the air. I guess I drop one here and there depending on which project I am laser focused on.
Right now I am putting together a collection of poetry. It was an idea from a couple years ago if I remember correctly. I just never started on it. I didn’t actually think about it until after I noticed several poems I’d recently written over the last several months (and even last year) all had the same, similar or concurrent running theme. I thought these will be perfect for that collection. All I needed were some more pieces to complete the collection. So over the last few weeks I have been trying to write a poem a day to make up the difference. It’s been coming along nicely. I am actually almost finished. I just need to get some progress on that script ;-).
So if I rate my juggling act, it is not perfect lol. Probably far from it in fact. But it’s fun. I do find that novels take more energy out of me so I need a little down time aftwards before I go to revisions/editing. I am very meticulous during that stage of writing. It’s a habit from my childhood that has served me well, I must say.
What about you? Are you someone who must strike a balance in writing projects? How would you rate your juggling act?
-Be blessed. Peace.
In The Final Breath of Embers
By Te’Kia Miller
Struck with the spear of reality
This paradise is broken from fantasy
Shattered pieces of imitation Eden scream
In the void
The undone seams of desirous eyes
Shut from the horror of cracked horizons
And left us to heartbreak in the red of dawn
Poets and Romantics were not mistaken
In verse or in chorus
Only, we unduly lovers deceived
By lustful vision did see a right
But now here lie what remains
Of these sublime seclusions
Held in the final breath of embers
A Beauty’s Escape from A Beast
By Te’Kia Miller
The beast from his slumber
Has awakened again
His thunder rumbles after her
Trolling through the house
Lightning strikes twice
And again upon her cheeks
For some unseen offense
And from her desperate eyes streams
The flow of pain
Disturbing the façade
Through which new crops
Of splotchy purple-blues reveal
Secrets her power will not
Stand for any longer
Tonight, the beast will sleep on
And midnight will hide her escape
The Amber Footsteps of the Sun
By Te’Kia Miller
We step in the amber footprints of the sun
Caught in smoke colored haze
The ocean on fire
Burns to a pure and starry daze
We slip beyond the world’s horizon
Life with fretting heart will seek us for a season
While we indulge each other from within
Pleasure and solace found in this paradise
Merely a fantasy reality thought impossible
But Time has shown us mercy in this space
When we step in the amber footsteps of the sun
By Te’Kia Miller
I used to see you in night visions
You insinuated into my mindscapes
Nevertheless a welcome presence
Conjured from some invisible place
Alighting upon the twilight mind
Where beauty blossoms
From enchanted lips
Caressing the attentive ear
And a touch of radiant aura
Swaddles my infant soul
Into the embrace of a love
Often tossed between flows
So, as ya’ll know I have been piddling around with screenwriting. Not to worry, I am still writing in my usual medium. However, there is a similarity I have noticed between novel writing and screenwriting. Acting. This is not your typical full blown script reading scene mind you. What I’m talking about is minor compared to real acting. It’s more like re-enactments and only on a much smaller scale.
Over the years in my experience of writing, there have been times (and still very much to this day) when I’ve actually gotten up from the computer to re-enact or play out a particular scene. Most of the time it’s because I’m in the middle of a fight scene and there are different orientations happening. Sometimes it helps if I envision the scene being around me and I’m one or more of the characters in the scene. Who’s punching who, where, when, and how. I do this to try to get as close as possible to what’s happening in the novel or story. I can only hope that it helps in the end.
This little ‘acting’ also extends to reading dialogue out loud. This is because I want my characters to sound as natural as possible for the way that THEY talk with each other. I’ve read some pieces where authors should take cues from natural dialogue we experience everyday. I agree. However, I believe that if characters are particular, then their dialogue should be equally particular. One character might overuse slang because that is their nature, their story as a character. Another character might not use slang at all or use a different type of slang. So the dialogue must read natural to the character and their background. This is something I and every other author (in my belief) tries to accommodate. One way I do this is by reading their dialogue out loud. If is feels unnatural to me, it’s probably unnatural to the character (although that is not always the case since characters are not us and we are not our characters. At least, not entirely).
‘Acting’ out scenes when screenwriting is something I’ve noticed I’m doing more and more. When I first started this type of writing, I’d only done it when I felt the line was cliché or sounded corny. I don’t like for my dialogue or even my metaphors to come off as cliché and/or corny. I like for both to be unique to the characters as much as possible. In doing this ‘acting’ though, I find that it brings another level of fun to the process.
When I was a kid, all I wanted to be was an author. I never thought about writing a screenplay. As I got older, however, I began to think about how cool it would be to write the screenplay for one of my novels! I must say I have not been disappointed. Although it is a learning experience and I still have a quite bit to learn, so far it’s been a joy. Creative writing is always a joy for me but still. To do it differently is an even bigger joy.
-Peace. Be blessed.
Memories of A Dead Dream
By Te’Kia Miller
Broken, tattered, battered
Here lie the remains of dreams scattered
In the rains they flow through gutters
Into puddles full of scorned stars
For these wings will never see flight
Dipped, clipped, and
From life’s rough hands
They did not handle with care
So why care
For what could have been the present?
That would have been a gift then
But here and now is settled
In the memories of a dead dream