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sk lamont Do You Write Organically Story Trumps Structure Giveaway

Do You Write Organically? Story Trumps Structure – Giveaway!

sk lamont Do You Write Organically Story Trumps Structure Giveaway

Do you write organically or do you plot out your novels? I don’t think there is only one way to write. Different writers choose different paths, and the main question to ask is, what works best for you?

We must each find our own path.

I really wanted to be a plotter. I mean really. I bought books and their accompanying workbooks. Downloaded seminars, audio books, and software for my computer. Then tried to get my ideas to behave themselves, and allow me to organize them into the nice tidy outline had planned for them.

Did it work?

In one word … No!

Not for me, which, to be honest was a bit surprising, I can be a scatter brain, but I also like to follow rules a lot. Especially formulaic rules. I like a nice tidy path to follow, with step-by-step instructions, to make sure I’m getting it right.

A side note on rule breaking – I’m also a bit of a rebel. I like to break the rules too, especially if they’re authoritative, and I love to follow my own path. But, the security of a rule book is a nice addition, so that I don’t get lost.

Breaking The Rules

I’m also a bit OCD: I like to line up my pens, coordinate my sticky notes, and color code everything. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that outlining was not the vehicle for me–at all!

No matter how hard I tried to force my wild and crazy ideas into the box of outlining, the more they refused to communicate. In fact my imaginative ideas dried up completely, and sat in the corner like a glowered faced five-year-old with arms folded refusing to communicate.

Reading Books on Writing

Reading books on writing is very important aspect of improving our craft. We should be like sponges, and devourers of information to become masters of our trade. But, book after book I read kept talking about outlining and all its merits, and referred to pantsing as if it were some dirty little secret. Pantsing, if you don’t know, is the idea of writing without an outline, also known as flying by the seat of your pants.

Set Your Imagination Free

Do You Write Organically Story Trumps Structure GiveawayAs much as I didn’t want to be a pantser, I thought I would give it a whirl–never say never, right? And, I was surprised by the results! I was truly astonished as my imagination was set alight. My little storytelling five-year-old loved it, she wouldn’t shut up. It was all I could do to keep up with her, as story after story poured out of me and onto the paper.

I believe it’s worth giving your imagination the freedom to fly. You jump off the cliff and see what happens.

No matter what kind of writer you are, you should fill yourself up to the brim with great resources. Have a thirst for knowledge. Even if you’re a pantser you should still know how to outline–at least in theory. You gotta know the rules so that you can break them, well. Read books on how to write, listen to audio books, go to seminars, drink it all in.

Fire Up Your Imagination

If you are a storyteller then read great stories that inspire you. Read what you love. Watch copious amounts of movies. If you watch movies then you already know how story works, it’s innate–it’s in you!

I read a great book at the beginning of last year called Story Trumps Structure by Steven James. In his book he talks about a style of writing he calls organic writing. Here are some of his ideas:

I would rather …

  • Write a story than plot one.
  • Tell a story than outline one.
  • Follow the narrative than follow a formula.
  • Pursue a process that allows for surprises.
  • Save time.
  • Live in the joy of discovery rather than fill in the blanks.

I also listened to one of his seminars online, through Writer’s Digest, and I picked out this idea of his:

“Art requires trust – Fear will always drive you back to an outline.” – Steven James

There are lots of arguments for and against writing organically. But, I did enjoy his book immensely, so I thought I would give away a copy to one lucky reader in this week’s post. Please feel free to fill out the rafflecopter below.

To Enter

Use the Rafflecopter widget below!

      • You get an entry for every item you complete in the Rafflecopter widget (up to eight entries!)
      • You can also come back once a day and ‘tweet about the giveaway’ (for extra entries!).
      • You also get two entries, if you leave a comment!
      • If you already follow or friend any of the items listed, please help yourself to free entries in the Rafflecopter! Just click the appropriate checkbox in the widget.
      • You must have a US postal address to enter.
      • The winner will be announced here March 22nd, the winner will also be contacted by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run till March 21st at midnight (EST).

What are your thoughts?

I would love to know what you think! What have you found to be your best methods for getting a story down on paper? Are you are plotter or a pantser? Or are you still trying to figure out what works for you? Do you believe we are innate storytellers? Or, do we need someone to show us what story looks like?

sk lamont Do You Write Organically Story Trumps Structure Giveaway

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

What kind of writer are you?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


You might also like:

Fearless Writing – How I Write with Wild Abandon

sk lamont When Distractions are Driving You Crazy

When Distractions are Driving You Crazy!

sk lamont When Distractions are Driving You CrazyAt the beginning of last week I came to realization that my house was a disgusting mess! One of the less exciting side effects of throwing yourself fully into your work as a writer—a messy house—and it was really getting to me. It was getting to the point where my environment was effecting the edits of my current manuscript.

All the mess was making the inside of my head messy.

No, I don’t believe its was a diversion or procrastination. As I’ve said before, I’m all or nothing and I have to take these breaks sometimes to keep myself in balance and stop our family from getting nasty diseases. 🙂 So I downed tools on Wednesday and got to work. Besides, everything was beginning to ache from pouring over my keyboard everyday. I desperately needed a break. So I donned my lovely cleaning outfit, pulled my hair up into a pony tail and got to work scraping the grunge from our life—a nice clean slate as it were…

…Did it work?

Decluttering Magic

I decluttered 15 years ago for the very first time. It was one of the most revolutionary and refreshing things I’ve ever done. I know crazy right, how can putting your house in order make you feel so good? But it did. I laughed manically as I dropped trash bags full of the past from an upper window. My first born, then aged one, giggled and laughed as mommy was having some kind of weird mental, but liberating, breakdown.

You see I was freeing myself from the past—from the grunge of my life. That stuff that had clung to me for decades. I was carrying the past with me and into the future and even allowing it define who I was as a person. At first I was terrified to part with some of it. Feeling that the stuff I had surrounded myself with was somehow part of me and that if I let it go I wouldn’t know who I was anymore. So I clung to it for years creating some kind of pack-rat mentality. It made me think of those little decorator crabs that carry camouflage around on their backs that they pick up from their environment. I felt camouflaged and I didn’t know who I was anymore.  When Distractions are Driving You Crazy

Then one day I snapped. I had had enough. My environment felt oppressive and I felt constricted, imprisoned in a cell of my own making. The weight of all my unfinished projects and college classes that I had tanked at pressed against me reminding me that I sucked. And, that I would probably fail at the next thing I tried. I needed a revolution and a really large dumpster to get a new life.

I needed a really big dumpster

In the space of a couple of days I had eleven trash bags ready to go to the dump. Yes, I only had one child then, if I were to do the same exercise now with five kids I’d probably have one hundred and eleven bags. But for me at that time it was a huge deal. I found out I was hanging onto stuff from when I was ten and it was time to let it go. I started to open up the windows of my house, one by one, as I gave each room a good clean. I admired all the new open spaces. I walked down to the front door and opened it. A wind swept past me and though my house—it felt like the winds of change were sweeping through my life. It was awesome and amazing, and the beginning of a revolutionary journey that turned my life around. It marked a brand new period in my life. Where I redefined myself as a person and decided who I wanted to be without the past clinging to me trying to remind me of who I thought I was. It opened up the space for me to become something new. I highly recommend it.

This time around

Now I’m not where I was then. I’m no longer buried under the past. Every couple of years I have a good purge, I think it’s good for the soul. I’m not even in a place where I need to do a good purge, because I did a decent one last year. But it was just time for a tune up, some tweaking, and some cleaning. Sometimes I just have to get my house in order to feel those free spaces opening up on the inside again so that I can fill them with something new.

“But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” ~ Marie Kondō

sk lamont When Distractions are Driving You CrazySo for three days this week I did nothing but tidy, scrub, and mop. It was very liberating. I know kind of weird, but I feel refreshed and renewed and ready to take on the world again.

Sometimes you just need to get your house in order.

This week I needed to take the time to clean out the crud so that it would stop creeping in the cracks of my writing and distracting me. But, I had to do it fast, like ripping off a band aid. After all, I have a book to finish, and I’m determined to complete it this week.

 

A side note on items you cherish:

I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō last year, she suggests when decluttering that you hold each item in your hands and ask, does it bring me joy? If your body responds with a yes you keep it! I’m a sentimental person, so I’m surrounded by the things I love. I also love collecting knickknacks, this is not about living in a clinical bubble but about surrounding yourself with the things that bring you pleasure. I thought her method was a great take on this age old method of decluttering so that you don’t throw away any of your beloved treasures.

What are your thoughts?

I’d love to know what you think! Have you ever had a major declutter and what were the effects? Did you feel a newness in your life, or were there regrets about treasured possessions being lost? What has been your experience when distractions start taking over your brain?

sk lamont When Distractions are Driving You Crazy

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Are distractions driving you crazy?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


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All Work and No Play – What Do You Do to Relax?

sk lamont Fear A Writer's Friend or Foe

Fear – A Writer’s Friend or Foe?

sk lamont Fear A Writer's Friend or FoeFear seems to be one of those emotions that we writers have to deal with a lot, or anyone else for that matter. It seems to chase us down anytime we try to step outside of our nice comfortable comfort zone. But I’ve always thought that a comfort zone can one of the most uncomfortable places we can be. When it comes down to it, when we are alone, or the TV is switched off, or there is zero distraction in our life and we sit quietly listening to that inner voice—it whispers something profound to us…

You are more than this, you can do more than this, you have something special to offer

…and it’s a terrifying thought. Because then, we have to look that monster, Fear, in the eye. That somehow we would have to conquer it—we would have to face our fear! And that thought is often too much to bare, it’s easier to hit the button on the remote and slip back into our coma.

Is fear the enemy?

I know this is a strange question and I think most people would say, yes, fear is definitely the enemy. It is the menace that stalks the writer and squeezes out all hope of ever being published. It is the killer of inspiration that crushes the life out of our creative endeavors, and instead leaves us playing small.

Or is it?

Maybe it is right now, but can that negative force be put to good use in the writer’s life?

I have always been a very fearful person. For as long as I can remember fear has stalked my every hope and dream. It has been around the corner, lying in wait, every time I thought I could try something new. Or it has tried to kill the life out of every new connection and communication.

sk lamont Fear A Writer's Friend or FoeWho knows where my fear came from; fear of not being loved, fear of not being good enough, fear of falling flat on my face. I could go on.

One thing I do know is it has been my constant companion for as long as I can remember. It has traveled with me everywhere I have gone, and in everything I have done.

I spent the majority of my younger life trying to shake it loose; trying to run away from it, overcome it, conquer it, or destroy it. I pinned a badge on My Pinterest Page years ago that says Punch Fear in Face.

But I then realized I was going about it all the wrong way. I was always looking at fear as a problem, a curse, and as something that I had to get away from. Then one day I realized I couldn’t. That fear was my constant traveling companion, it had always been there and always would be, and there was nowhere to hide.

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

I read a book back in the 90’s called Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers, it stayed with me long after I read it, particularly the 5 tenets about fear. I wrote them on cards and stuck them to my wall, to try and get the principles through my thick skull:

  • The fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow!
  • The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and…do it!
  • The only way to feel better about yourself is to go out and…do it!
  • Not only are you afraid when facing the unknown, so is everyone else!
  • Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the bigger underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness!

But it still took me another ten years, at least, to get it! I was still fighting, still battling, and still trying to punch fear in the face.

My Friend Fear

Then one day I had an epiphany, fear wasn’t the beast I was trying to make it out to be, it was actually my friend.

I know, shocker. All it was trying to do was keep me safe from the big bad world. Like an over-concerned mother trying to stop her child from swinging too high on the big swing at the playground—never mind that the child gets to experience the exhilaration of flying! It’s better to just be on the ground, to be safe, to be secure, and let’s not let any of that bad stuff happen to you.

Fear - A Writer's Friend or Foe?The problem is bad stuff still happens. Not only in the playground, but crossing the street, or driving in the car. At any moment something bad can happen and it puts the brakes on this whole thing we call living, either temporary or permanently.

So I got to ask myself the question: Do I want to die in the back seat of my car riding to play park strapped into my nice safe seat? Or, did I want get up on the freaking swing and fly as high as I could? —with death being a mild consequence of living and taking that wild ride.

Fears just fear, it’s never going away, I told myself. So I decided to treat it as an awesome friend whom I would listen to very closely and consult on all my endeavors. Anytime I’m about to step out into new territory I listen carefully to that inner voice of fear. My close consultant.

The voice of fear that sounds something like this:

You shouldn’t do that thing: no one will like you.


You shouldn’t do that thing: your going to look like an idiot.


You shouldn’t do that thing: who the hell do you think you are.

I listen very carefully and then I do the exact opposite of what fear tells me to do. See if fear is just trying to protect me, then I know longer see it as a menace.  I now see it as a compass and I use it to guide me to where all the growth is at, where all the fun is at, and where all the best swings in the playground are.

sk lamont Fear A Writer's Friend or FoeI’m still scared. I might fall flat on my face, but it doesn’t matter. I have to just pick myself up and look for the next big swing. Sometimes, I may take a little time to lick my wounds, but I don’t stay there, I have to get up and look for that next swing—the one that scares me the most—after all what else is there?

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

I can either choose to live full out or shrink back and hide in the corner.

I get to choose.

 

What are your thoughts?

I’d love to know what you think! Do you see fear as a friend or foe? How has it stopped you in the past? What will you do now to change things? What tips and strategies do you have to motivate you to step out and take risks? What do you tell yourself when fear tries to cripple you?

 

sk lamont Fear A Writer's Friend or Foe

 

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Is fear your enemy?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


You might also like:

How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You Want

sk lamont How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You Want

How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You Want

sk lamont How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You WantThis week I’ve noticed that a lot of blogs are chatting about love with Valentine’s Day being just around the corner. I wanted to write about fear this week. I know, not exactly conducive to love, or is it? I was going to write about fear and writing, but fear is fear, so I thought why not write about fear and love? They can go can hand-in-hand, and I’ve definitely had some experience in this department, so why not!

“Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to.” ~ unknown

The day I nearly never got married

It all started a long time ago when I was still living back home, in Scotland. Well actually, it probably started way further back, when I was forming my beliefs about love when I was little, but we’ll get to that, in a bit. Anyway, I was minding my own business, living my life; productive, happy, single and free. Working on my coaching business, and traveling the world to attend seminars on how to take your life to the next level.

Then I met a man.

It all started innocently enough, you know how it goes; we connected, started chatting, sharing small details about our lives and the things we enjoyed. Then we got closer, and began sharing deeper parts of ourselves and the things close to our hearts. Next thing you know, we’re spending hours together as time started loosing it’s hold on us—hours slipped past like minutes.

We’d meet each other at various conferences around the world and then spend endless hours chatting on the phone when we were apart. Everything was going great, then my future husband dropped the bomb—he mentioned the M word aka marriage—and that was me running scared and literally running for my life.

He’d call—I wouldn’t pick up—there was no way I was going to marry this man. Yes I enjoyed his company, yes I may even be in love with him, but that didn’t meant I should settle for something as totally and completely final as marriage.

A Fear of Commitment

sk lamont How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You WantThey say men are afraid of commitment, but I was definitely a card-carrying fully-fledged member of the group, and I didn’t want some man clipping my wings.

So I did the best thing I knew how—I hid—for ten days. I know very grown up and mature of me, but it was the best thing that my inner quivering ten-year-old fear-filled kid could come up with at the time.

You see from an early age I was brainwashed that marriage equaled death. Being a product of the seventies and eighties, and watching most of my friends’ moms and dads splitting up and finally getting divorces—including my own parents. And, growing up in Scotland probably didn’t help either, as those around me considered marriage a relic of the 50’s, and as something that would probably be better off being left there.

Without going into it too much, I had an old record that went around and around in my head, that played louder and louder when any man got near that seemed even a little interested. The old record played; you don’t need a man, you can’t trust men, you never want to get married. And round and round it went.

Ten Days Later

I was still hiding; avoiding the phone calls, not replying to emails, and generally falling off the face of the planet. On day ten, I got an email from my future hubby, it had ten songs attached, with the instructions that I should listen to them. Having my interested piqued, I listened to the songs, and they started to melt the ice around my heart. I’m a very emotional being and music can do things for me that words never could. I thought, a man that can love these songs, is a man worth getting to know better—we started to talk again.

We chatted everyday on the phone for hours, this went on for several months, though we never really talked about the M word again.

My Date with Destiny

I was scheduled to go to a conference in the Bahamas, the long away awaited—Date with Destiny—even the name gave me goosebumps! Upon booking my air tickets, my future hubby told me he had managed to secure himself a ticket for the event. It had been sold out for months, but he had pulled some strings, so he would be joining me.

How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You WantI arrived in the Nassau, and he met me off the plane. We spent the week together. Our early mornings were spent playing in the huge waves on the sun-soaked beach. And, our intense days and nights were spent at the conference, helping ourselves and others have massive breakthroughs.

Everything was going great, or so I thought, until the last day. We got up nice and early, which had become our custom for the week, so that we could enjoy a few fleeting moments on the beach before it was time for us to head indoors for the rest of the day. As the next day we would be getting up and jumping on separate planes to return to our own respective countries. And we would not be seeing each other again for months.

On our last morning together we walked down to the beach just after sunrise, and ate breakfast—we shared a tropical fruit platter, on a wooden deck in front of the water. It was beautiful. Then we went for a stroll along the beach enjoying this glorious morning before returning home to rain and buses, at least for me. The turquoise waves crashed relentlessly against the sun-bleached shore, the breeze tugged on my hair, as the sun began to warm my skin. I realized in this moment, I had never felt so alive, so wonderful, so free…

I took my toe and started to write in the sand the one word that had always made my feel so vibrant and alive, it represented everything that I loved and aspired to. The word was FREEDOM, and being the queen of exclamation marks, I drew one, putting my toe in the sand to complete my statement. Suddenly, my future hubby dropped to one knee and took my hand…

“Will you Marry me?”

Huh wha?… I don’t even know what I was thinking, I don’t even know if I was thinking … It was more of a physical reaction … I ran … Yes totally and completely, I took my hand back in a split second, and was tearing off down the beach. Sand under my feet, wind in my hair, running away as fast as I could from the man who had just asked me to marry him.

My husband said he knelt there for a second not knowing what to do next, then he did the only thing he could think of, he chased me.

Finally he caught up to me and grabbed me by my arms. He looked deep into my eyes. “Well, will you marry me?

sk lamont How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You WantI kid you not … I looked over at the freedom I had written on the beach, and a huge wave obliterated it!

I looked back at him and said in a quiet voice. “But my freedom, it’s washed away.”

He looked at me, and touched the center of my chest with his finger tips.

“Honey, your freedoms not out there, it’s in here.”
 Then he repeated his question.
“So, will you marry me?”

Not one for making life easy, I replied, “I’ll tell you later, by the end of today.”

I had a lot of thinking to do. So we left the beach and got ready to step into the last day of the conference—relationship day, of course!

At these conferences you don’t sit to together. If you came with someone, you’re split up into different groups, so you can take part without feeling like you have to act a certain way around a spouse, a sister, or whomever you chose to come with.

My future hubby was sitting near the front, and I was sitting near the back. One of the exercises was to write down everything you wanted in your mate and write a letter to them. All these exercises I had done before having been around the block a few times in the world of coaching.

I knew the man I had found was the perfect embodiment of everything I had wished for—and yet—I was still terrified. I went looking for help, I needed some one-on-one coaching to help me process all the crud that kept floating to the surface.

Getting to the Truth

I found a good coaching friend of mine, and hoped that she could help me clarify my want over my fear. The two questions I remembered the most were these.

Q. Why don’t you stop spending time with him for the next six months, let things cool off?
A. Arrrgh no, that’s not an option I have to see him.

Okay, then she asked:

Q. What was the first answer that you felt in your body before all your BS (Belief Systems) started showing up?
A. Yes, I said to her. Every cell in my body screamed yes, but then my thinking mind screamed back no.”

She said, “that’s your true answer. Go to him.”

I walked back down the isle looking for his seat. The conference was beginning to wrap up when I saw him.

He says that he kept turning back to look for me, but my seat was empty. And he thought. Where is she? Is she even here still? Did she go to the airport?

I made my way across the tangle of legs finally arriving at the convenient empty seat beside him. I sat down and he leaned in close to me.

“Well?” He whispered in my ear.

I wrapped my arms around his neck, and whispered back. “Yes, I’ll marry you.”

sk lamont How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You WantAnd they Lived Happily Ever After

I know this whole thing sounds cheesy and I couldn’t make it up if I tried. But it’s all true. At that moment slow music started to play, and couples got up from their separate seats around the hall and were reunited. We stood up, walked into the isle, and slow danced.

Now I’m not going to say the next few months were very smooth before we finally tied the knot, I did try and run a few more times, but maybe that can be a story for another day.

 

Suffice to say, that fear nearly got in the way, and robbed me of my wonderful husband, and all my completely amazing children.

So the the next time fear tries to stop you, don’t be fooled. Stop. And asked yourself, what is it I really want? Then sit back and listen quietly.

What are you thoughts?

I’d love to know what you think! Has fear ever made you do something crazy? Is it standing in the way of your wants and desires? Or, are you living your dream already, and going after the things that you want? What tips and tricks do you have for conquering fear, and overcoming obstacles?

sk lamont How Fear Can Stop You from Getting What You Want

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Oh and don’t forget to enter my giveaway for Neil Gaiman’s 3-Book Box Set: Coraline; The Graveyard Book; Fortunately, the Milk

Is fear holding you back?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


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Fearless Writing – How I Write with Wild Abandon

sk lamont Do you use all five senses - Do your characters

Do You Use All Five Senses – Do Your Characters?

sk lamont Do you use all five senses - Do your charactersThis week I’m looking into the idea of fully inhabiting our bodies as a way to deepen the experience readers have with our characters. And, maybe in the process this will allow you to inhabit your body, even more fully. So that you too can appreciate the subtleties of life that you may possibly be missing out on.

There is a lot that can delight our senses if we deepen our awareness.

So first ask yourself a few questions:

Do you live fully in your body?
Do you use the full range of your senses?
Do you experience all of your senses on a regular basis, at a conscious level?
Do your characters?

For some this is easier than it is for others.

Some people are a lot more cerebrally driven, than sensory driven. Which means they tend to be pretty focused and get things done, which is great! But at the same time, this may mean that they miss out on a lot of the little pleasures in life that surround us on a daily basis.

Usually what is required to access all this extra information that our brain has managed to delete as unimportant, is an awakening with ourselves—allowing us to be completely grounded and centered in our body. A lot of people walk around not really connected to their body, or some are but only a little.

Others have a heightened body awareness, they are aware of where their limbs are in time and space the majority of the time, they feel the clothes against their skin and sense changes in the environment easily.

So what you might say—what has this got to do with me? For one, the more grounded in your body you are, the more you will experience the fullness of life. And two, if you are a writer, it’s going to help you get inside your characters skin—to breath life into them fully and see the world through their eyes.

sk lamont Do you use all five senses - Do your characters

Make Your Characters Come Alive

If you inhabit your skin well, then it will be much easier to jump into your characters bodies, and experiences life through their eyes and all of their senses. You will breath life into your scenes when you can step into them fully, clothed in your character skin, and experience the world you have created through their eyes.

Connect to Your Characters Environment

Breath in the air and describe it. Marvel at the nuances—the yellow kettle in the corner puffing steam gently into the room. The brilliant greens in a blade of grass at a significant moment. Also pay attention to pain and when the stakes are high, usually our senses sharpen and come into tight focus. We start to notice things that were insignificant moments before—time slows down and we actually start to see and feel what surrounds us in minute detail.

Switch on Your Senses

But this can apply anytime too, we don’t need a trigger like pain to switch us on—to make us come alive. Anytime we want we can step into this moment and feel, taste, smell, hear and see.

The benefits of characters who feel

When your characters fully notice and engage with their surroundings, your readers will too! Thus deepening your reader’s experience. Taste the air, take a deep breath, smell the sweetness or foulness that lingers there. What do you notice?

A Super Power

Do You Use All Five Senses - Do Your Characters

The way to learn this super power, and yes I consider it a super power—I know I’m weird—is to start noticing your environment on a much deeper level. Sound is a miraculous and underutilized sense. An interesting exercise is to open a window and listen to what you hear outside, do you hear birds singing, cars driving past, kids playing, what else do you hear, listen deeply. The same with music, listen to a complex piece of music that you know well—then listen deeper, depending on the music, you might hear a whole other level or layers of instruments that you never noticed before—then press closer.

Pay attention to your skin, what do you feel? Notice the surface you’re resting against, is it rough or soft? Smooth or hard? Where are you clothes touching you? Where do they squeeze or pinch? Where do they feel comfortable? Pick up a drink, feel the weight of the cup in you hand. Is it warm or cold? Touch the cup to you lips, what do you taste? Breath in. When you’re brushing your teeth, really brush them, consciously notice the bristles against you teeth how does it feel, taste the toothpaste, engage and then go deeper.

Now take your new super power and slip into your character’s skin. What does it feel like to be in their body? How do their senses interpret the world you have created around them? What does he/she feel, see, taste, smell or hear? What’s it like to experience your character in this way?

Do you have a favorite sense?

Does one of your senses dominate over another? Do you tend to experience life visually, audibly, through touch? What about in your writing? Do you tend to focus more fully on one sense? Would developing your character’s other senses give your reader a fuller experience?

What are you thoughts?

I’d love to know what you think! Do you inhabit your body? Do your characters? Do you consider yourself pretty well versed in this department, or could you grow? What tips and tricks do you have for living in a body, or for slipping into your character’s bodies?

sk lamont Do you use all five senses - Do your characters

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Who are you?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


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Do Your Characters Wear Masks — Do You?

sk lamont Do Your Characters Wear Masks- Do You

Do Your Characters Wear Masks – Do You?

sk lamont Do Your Characters Wear Masks- Do YouThis week’s post is about the masks that people wear. Recently, I’ve been diving beneath the hood of my main character in my current work in progress, and asking her some serious questions about who she really is? What lies beneath the surface? In the process of asking her these questions, I found that I’ve been holding a mirror up to myself.

Who am I?

I think as writers it is really important to know who we are. Interesting people and characters have layers, but sometimes all of that hides beneath the surface. So this week I’m going to look at what goes on behind the mask.

Do you ever feel like you’re wearing a mask?

Like you can’t be your true self, because of fear. Fear of ridicule, fear of attack, or fear of rejection? This is an idea I have been toying with for a few weeks– actually for years. I have written about it before, but recently the idea resurfaced. Playing with my characters in my stories, has been an eye-opening experience, and one that I find very interesting. Sometimes when characters appear in my books they present a certain persona to the world, a mask if you will, but there is usually a whole lot more going on beneath the surface.

I see these two aspects going on, hand in hand, as I write my books. I think about it when I walk down the street. Past strangers at the mall, or on the sidewalk. Often times, I try to read the stories on their face. What kind of lives do they live? What mask do they wear for their children, their boss, their mother?

I wonder if any of us walk around without a mask; in every situation, circumstance or the company we keep? Or does everyone distort who they are, even a little, for the recipient?

In asking myself this question I think it’s easy to say, ‘yes, I wear a mask’. Or sometimes I do, with certain people, or in certain situations. I think it’s easy to recognize the mask or even feel the weight of it on my face.

Questions I’ve been Pondering:

Who am I?
Who am I really?
Do I know?
Am I hiding?
If so, what am I hiding?

Knowing Yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. ~ Aristotle

Like I said I have been playing a lot with this idea lately. It’s something my brain loves to do. Ask a question or make a statement, then attack it from all angles. So that I can dig down into the heart and meat of the idea.

Why Hide?

What could be a reason why I would not reveal myself completely?

Maybe because I have been hurt in the past, a long time ago, and I don’t want to reveal myself, so that I can protect myself.

But, I’ve also discovered something else in my search. People often create inner masks, or shells. It’s like a double-layered mask, created out of self-protection. I know it sounds strange, but this second mask, that I would reveal to others wasn’t the real me either. It would reveal itself if someone got too close to me. Except this mask wasn’t very pretty at all. In fact it was rather scary. You see I created a mask made out of anger, which served as gatekeeper to my true self; my vulnerable self, my soft center.

Do Your Characters Wear Masks- Do You

The hard exterior shell would steal my joy, but keep me safe. But, it would prevent me from ever being my true self. At least with anyone else.

To really reveal ourselves, we must know ourselves– do you know who you are?

Do You Wear an Angry Mask?

As a coach, I have heard people say, ‘people need to accept me, and see me for who I really am’. Which really translates into, ‘you have to love me at my worst, then maybe, just maybe I’ll let you in’.

But I would question, if who you really think you are– is really you? Or is it maybe all the hurt, anger, depression and rage that you hide behind a mask, that you let people either glimpse a little or a lot.

Is really what hides behind the mask just another hard shell, that actually hides your soft center? The part of you that is so soft, so gentle, so vulnerable and has been damaged so badly a long time ago that it will never see the light of day again– ever!

Is the dark shell the part of you that you are asking others to accept?– “Here’s me warts and all, accept me, hate me, or leave me.”

Sometimes I think it’s easier to reveal a crappy part of ourselves that evolved from dysfunction and rejection, rather than the gentle and soft loving part.

Maybe you wear a different kind of mask?

sk lamont Do Your Characters Wear Masks- Do You

Do You Wear a Happy Mask?

Or maybe you have swung the other way. Do your wear a mask of feigned niceness, when really you’re depressed inside or sad? Are you a people pleaser?

Do you try to maintain the status quo, try not to rock the boat, so that no one ever gets to see a genuine emotion or voice come from you?

What would happen if you revealed that soft part, that real part, that loving part? What would happen if you revealed your true self- your inner softness, that part of you that is intimate and vulnerable?

Dropping the Mask- who are you really?

Is it okay to let people see the real you?

Oh don’t get me wrong, anger has its place, anger has power. Anger kept you safe at a time when you weren’t. But, are you still offering others something that no longer serves you? No longer, really protects you? Are you pushing the people you love away, the ones that deserve the real you, your soft innards?

Or, what would happen if you dropped the, ‘I’m okay’ mask, maybe you’re not, maybe it’s okay to ask for help. To reach out to someone else, and show them the real you.

What’s the worse that could happen anyway, you’re a grown up now– remember! You have the power to make decisions and choices, maybe anger doesn’t need to be involved at all. Or nonchalance, or superiority, or whatever coping mechanism you’ve come up with in the past to protect yourself. Maybe, you can just be you, and when you need to, you can just walk away!

Will the real me please stand up!

Write it down–

What’s the worse that could happen, if I showed my true self to another?

Now write down–

What’s the best that could happen, if I opened up to someone else?

Wait I’m not asking you too, I’m just asking what if?

What if you trusted?
What if you tried?

Who are you?
Who are you really?
Do you know?

Have you accepted yourself? Loved yourself? Could there be a part of you that you deem unworthy? Because it’s too nice? Too soft? Too weak? Too bad?

Just asking?

I’m experimenting this month with renewal. Or maybe even rediscovery. Playing and having some fun with it –nothing too scary– as I prod and poke at my soft center, and give my characters a friendly poke too!

Are you free already?

What are your thoughts? Who are you? Do you think there is any truth to this, what has been your experience? Are you free already, and if so how did you get there? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comments in the comment box below.

sk lamont Do Your Characters Wear Masks- Do You

 

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Who are you?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


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Fearless Writing – How I Write with Wild Abandon