Monday, July 21, 2008

"TheOtherSideofGlory"--July 21, 2008

On Friday night I finished typing the first draft to my Prologue for this second novel: The Other Side of Glory. I had to start typing this story over from page one, being the original "draft" from 2002 was destroyed. The only thing I had left of the original 18 chapters I discarded was a .PDF version of the Prologue and first two chapters I started re-typing in 2005, about the same time I transformed my 4,000 word short-story (the Cabin) into what is now my first novel: Proud Souls.

Trying to get back into character and follow a plot written years ago is hard--at least for me--so I started typing again, this time clearing my mind of any traces of Justin Bower or Tessa Jameson. On Monday the 14th, the first night of my re-write, I dreamt the opening scene to this story as clearly as you could see the imagery of a movie. In that dream I realized there were concepts missing in my written words--things such as smell, lighting and emotion. Don't ask me how I come about these things because honestly, I don't know. What I do know is this: Once I partake on a story and try to learn the characters, they reveal themselves to me in dreams while I sleep (when I can sleep) and in sounds and images that distort my vision while I am awake.

On Friday I began typing everything I had written free-hand; as I have said before I write my stories on paper and then transfer that material to typed text. It is that typed version of the story I dub DRAFT One or Two, etc. I spent five hours on Friday night--while my wife and kids were away--drawing the opening scene. There was a point where I stepped away and smoked a cigarette outside. It was dark and I was tired and I was ready to call it quits for the day. I only had approximately 5 more written pages to type before I realized I was going the wrong direction with the story. It wasn't a few seconds after lighting my cigarette [that] I saw the rest of the scene play out in my imagination. It was clear and detailed and it had substance, something I felt was missing from the original draft. I tossed the cigarette aside, ran to my computer and typed the final scene from the opening Prologue. After more than five hours of work I had overcome the first hurdle in this long process.

I have since dreamt the story only once, being I don't have much else written. Tonight I began typing the opening paragraphs to the first chapter. This is the part of the story where I will introduce the audience to both my protagonist and antagonist, each in opposing settings, contrasting the extreme differences in their characters. Remember, "The Other Side of Glory" is a play on the duality of man so my trick (for lack of a better word) is to draw the essence of one human divided into two entirely different human beings. One man will represent what society might deem as Good while the other will represent Evil. How good or how evil each us will have to be determined by the audience in their own way, as I can only create them as they are and portray them in story as they present themselves to me. No doubt however they will show themselves to me. Each in turn will master my thoughts and my mind and in doing so will transform a portion of their characteristics to me. I can only hope the lesser of the two evils doesn't overstay their welcome as that is the price for writing such realistic characters. That is the bain of my existence as a poet, herald and writer.

Someone asked me today how fast I can turn around this story and what "process" I use for completing the manuscript draft. My answer was this: There is no exact formula for writing a novel and I care little about what the experts say with their proven methods and fancy novel writing software. My attitude is this (and it's the reason why I have never taken a creative writing course--or any writing course for that matter): If my writing is truly a gift from God, something I was born with, then I am not going to taint it with shoddy advice from people who can't write, but rather decipher "better" means and alternatives for remembering the storyline, characters and plot. My stories come to me in visions, dreams and whispers. I see them, feel them and live with them until I dare to pour their stories onto paper. The more involved I become and the more of myself I give back to understanding the story--WITH an understanding of the concepts and fundamentals that make a story real--the easier it is to produce the finished product. I would suggest one thing if I had to suggest any outside "material" for understanding the concepts--not HOW--but the practiced methods for creating a story most people would follow. Read Joseph Campbell's "A Hero With A Thousand Faces" and follow-up with Christopher Vogler's "A Writer's Journey." If you can understand Mr. Campbell's philosophies and Mr. Vogler's methods for applying them into modern storytelling, then you are already one leg up on the competition.

Remember this though, it doesn't matter how well you are grammatically or how well you understand the concepts applied by Joseph Campbell or any other "expert" on how to write. In the end, if you can't tell a good story...there won't be anything worth reading anyhow...


~Bobby Ozuna
www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com
"Drawing Stories...With Words"

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