Advice on Creative Writing from Daniel C. Lavery

My professors in creative writing classes and forums stressed writing every day for at least an hour at a place where you are comfortable and will have hopefully no interruptions. Some like to write at night, others early. Everyone is different so you should find your time. For me it is 10 am to noon. Some people like to go to a Starbucks to see the faces of people, the bustle of the crowd, and the coffee for inspiration. I prefer my desk overlooking my front yard. Another suggestion is to always use your favorite writing pen (preferably not a ball point-and not typing). The connection of your hand to the pen and what you write is a stimulating one for most writers.

List the most compelling words you can think of in a notebook. I always keep a writing notebook for inspiration. When you have that dream that you won't remember in the morning, get up and write it as you recall it right after you have experienced it. Waiting later will lose it usually.

 

Don't be afraid to copy a writer's style. This is especially true of a poet. Find a poem you like, and take out your thesaurus, change the words, move around inserting your similar experiences and use the format. Amazingly simple way to create a new poem by just following someone's road map. Always read a great author for at least 30 minutes before writing. This is warming up your creative thinking. Your brain needs this. You will see a difference in your attitude, and willingness to explore language and its beauty.

Revise: All creative writing requires once you have written your piece, to go back and revise with an eye to use of heightened language (metaphor/simile, evocative vocabulary, sense driven language, action verbs and brilliant nouns) and remove any boring adverbs and adjectives. Check spelling by starting at the end of the piece and work backwards so you aren't lulled into accepting a misspelling you may make frequently. Read it aloud and see if there are awkward words when spoken that should be changed. If it doesn't sound right, it won't read effectively. Make sure each of the five senses appear somewhere. See if you can't make your descriptions luminescent.

One of the secrets of nonfiction storytelling is the use of description. Much as a novelist would, these nonfiction storytellers set a scene and describe their story's action. Above all, they have an eye for detail and employ these carefully observed facts to bring scenes alive for readers.

Look for opportunities to put the reader into the action. Where are we? What's it look (smell, sound) like? Who are the characters? What do they look like? How do they act? Strive to be specific, not general: Name names, measure things, count so you can report exact numbers. Learn to identify trees and birds, car makes, and architectural styles.

So instead of writing, "A lot of birds perched on the ornate rooftop," do the homework and note taking necessary to report, "Thirteen purple martins perched on the Italianate rooftop." Rather than describing "a big pile of old cars," aim for "a 20-foot pyramid of rusting, windowless Fords, Toyotas, and Chevrolets."

This kind of descriptive writing starts at the very beginning—at the note-taking stage. You can't just plop down at the keyboard and conjure this up; you have to be there, all eyes and fully alert, and noting details. Don't forget the senses beyond sight. Are the bees buzzing, trucks rumbling, horns honking? Do cockleburs scrape your pant legs as you walk to your subject's front door? Is your interviewee's desktop smooth and new or pitted with age and use? Give detail and description a try, and you'll find that you can be every bit as "creative" a writer when you're not making things up.

Here are my social media:

djasb@aol.com (email) http://www.danielclavery.com (author website) https://www.facebook.com/danielclavery (Facebook) https://www.linkedin.com/danielclavery.com (Linkedin) https://twitter.com/Danielclavery

All the Difference, a memoir by Daniel C. Lavery, available at Amazon.com. for purchase or free look inside of the first 6 1/2 chapters at Dan's website: http://www.danielclavery.com, and on Amazon's Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BNXHV9Q, A paperback version is available at http://www.amazon.com/All-Difference-Daniel-C-Lavery/dp/1482676532/ book-cover-all-the-difference.jpg

Related Images:

Snowball Fight Justice

 

Soon the weather changed and snow covered the Duke University Campus. Snowball fights at Duke could turn dangerous. The snow fell on the campus in January leaving an opportunity to engage in snowball fights. Some fraternity brothers from KA were harassing freshmen and assaulting them with snow balls. 

 
Duke Football Jerseys.jpg

A huge football player, and future All-American, caught my attention as I had thrown passes to him as a freshman QB practicing with the varsity.  6' 9" tall and two hundred and forty pounds, he was also a vicious defensive end.

 
 

At the fourth floor freshman dorm bathroom with a good view of the quad beneath, I decided to alter the unfair bully-confrontation. From snow that had collected on window sills, I scooped enough to fill half a trashcan and made a pile of baseball-sized snowballs. As the beast attacked a small freshman, and tossed snow down his back, the boy’s books fell in wet mud and snow. My first throw hit the side of the monster’s face and had to sting.

Mean Defensive Football Player.jpg
 

“I’m coming to get you, you son-of-a-bitch,” he screamed enraged at my assault. He terrified me. Immediately, with just one throw, I had become the target of a dangerous muscular giant. But, he had to run up four floors to find me. He raced to the second floor raging like a wild bull. In seconds, he would appear on my floor. Streaking to my room, farthest from the stairway, luckily on the left, I hid under my bed listening to the damage he did room by room. He threatened mayhem and falsely accused many. I felt pity for those innocent ones caught in his tirade. He swung open my door, but did not notice me huddled under my bed with a blanket over me.

 Thug White.jpg
 

He slammed the door on his rampage. Every dorm freshmen feared his retaliation. While exposing my classmates to a fierce attack, I had made another narrow escape by using my intelligence, natural athletic ability, courage, and sense of justice that diverted a bully from further harming a helpless freshman. 

Imagine John Lennon.jpg
 

Related Images:

Meet an Immense Goliath: Hercules

When King Kong protected me

From harm as I rode his back,

Brookfield Zoo Gorilla cage

At forty through thick window,

Stared in the eyes of immense

Five hundred pound Goliath

Munching grapes like emperor.

Sunny mood, gentle with mice,

Endless quarts of milk swallowed

Brute's brown bristle-brush torso,

Rough-hewn wrinkled hairy head,

Divided by muscle wall

My frame cast dappled shadow

On grey rock sanctuary.

My boys romped to ape's shelter

Before wife with baby came

Giant arose like mountain,

Lightening blaze from fire eyes

Grasped my gaze, enraged  he dashed

Smashed thunder fists on thick glass

Shattering serenity

Terror-stricken faces jumped

Back from rattling refuge cave.

Black janitor smiled and said,

“Don’t you know how to read, man?”

Mortified, body shaking,

Looked at sign above his den

"Never stare in gorilla’s eyes,

it challenges his space.”

There is a Man on the Roof!

Related Images:

Dan Lavery will appear at a Book Reading 8/9/15 2-4 PM at Vroman’s Bookstore

Daniel C. Lavery's All the Difference, a tortuous path from a pawn in the military to a crusader for justice, will be featured and he will sign his book for buyers with other authors in Pasadena August 9, 2015: The author is pleased to announce he has been selected to appear at Vroman's famous bookstore in Pasadena for a book reading from IWOSC's (Independent Writers of Southern California) bi-annual event titled "IWOSC Reads Its Own"with other authors from 2-4 PM at Southern California's Oldest and Largest Independent Bookstore... Vroman's Bookstore-695 E. Colorado Blvd- Pasadena, CA 91101- Tel: 626 449 5320.

Dan's Memoir is available at Amazon.com and will be offering a discount on his memoir for a limited time on line. (Stand by for that announcement with details later). His book is available at Crown Books, 6100 Topanga Blvd. #1340, Woodland Hills, CA 91367, at the local authors section.

As a featured author on Amazon.com, the first six and half chapters of Dan's Memoir are available to thousands of readers to sample free of charge:paperback is available at http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-c-Lavery/dp/1482676532/. It is also available for the same free look inside on Dan's website at www.danielclavery.com and for Amazon's Kindle version at http://www.amazon.com/dp/BOOBNXHV9Q. Thirteen five star reviews are posted on Dan's website that features poems,short stories,commentary from a wide audience on pertinent issues, excerpts from his memoir, and media. Where appropriate his offerings include a wide variety of photos.

book cover all the differenceCHAPTER 38 Dan  ENCINO LAW OFFICE  

Related Images: