Cusp of Reality Blog

Fiction Writing Process II – An Inherent Process

If you write fiction, what is your process?

An Outpouring

At last the writing of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy began. It led initially to scattered notes which shaped a global outline. As I said previously, I found definitive guidance in the  story arc process described by Dara Marks. It is visually and conceptually helpful and is found in her book INSIDE STORY. 

Intrinsic Structure

When looking at the arc I became immediately aware of how I had been seeing the process in films. Being highly visual myself, it made sense. And then I looked at my notes and could see that much of it fit her arc. In fact each book fit the arc and all three books together composed an arc. Amazing! It turned out that moving a few chapters reinforced the overall arc. It was then that the outpouring took the form of the actual detailed writing following the construction.

One of the things that became clear was that there was an intuitive process in writing, at least for some of us. My notes indicated a fundamental attraction to an arc. I had not been aware of it. What Marks had put together was a highly useful guide. Unbounded creativity is one thing, but it also takes shaping if it is to be sufficiently grounded. 

Interaction with Characters

The whole process was so compelling that I did not stop with book 1, but went straight through a first draft for all three books. That turned out to be crucial because back and forth reinforcements and shaping were occurring. With all three books in view I could see which characters were working or had staying power. I had to kill one of my darling characters and reshaped others. I also began to discover secrets for some of the characters which had to be worked out in the plot. This process added interest and led to firming up of the arcs. 

Detailing often came to shape the story. Once the substance of a given character became clear, that in turn led to refinement of plot and interactions. There was obviously a very dynamic process involved. 

Inherent Process

It was also apparent that layering was occurring. And having all three books was proving crucial. The foundation had been laid, the flow of the arcs established and the characters developed more fully. I could clearly see that my intuitive personality function had been crucial to the concept and my thinking type auxiliary was helping me with the building as well as helping me seek resources.

Personal Lessons

As a psychologist I couldn’t resist looking at the process in general and also the contributions made by each component of the person doing the writing. And, of course, fiction leads us to lessons about our own humanity. We resonate to certain characters more than others and that speaks to who we are as a person. Do we get affirmation of ourselves or does it lead us to self examination and refinement? And what of the villains or the people to whom we do not resonate? Surely we have lessons to be learned from them and revelations.

Clearly reading is not a passive activity. It enhances our lives and ourselves. And then there is the question of what it may do for the author.

What processes in your life lead you to personal development?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

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Subjugation of Women Seems To Be Ending

 

And I’m Trying to Grasp What Is Happening

If that sounds like a bizarre statement, it is and it isn’t. I have to mention my personality type again – intuitive. I don’t accept facts easily and I always find events have depth and nuance. Possibilities always present themselves. And while I think the changes in regard to women are long overdue I have to raise a hand and ask what may truly be happening and where it will lead. I doubt it will be without conflict and across the world it may take on markedly different forms.

A note on the picture at the top. Two very different women. What is your reaction? Who do you think each might be?

And Then There Is The Matter of Transformation

I’m truly not sure if we are looking at the opening of a rich future or whether it will turn toward an outbreak and domination of authoritarianism which will mirror a prior period leading to devastating wars. Of course I have my hopes and, if the more positive view holds, then we may be looking at a blossoming era with a magnificent future.

How’s that for pie in the sky? But I have to insist that we have seen the unexpected take hold before and now surely is possibly no different.

The Focus of My Hope

But let me come back to the changes regarding women. I think I’ve made it clear I embraced the hope of the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s. It seemed to move behind the scenes for a time and now the changes are ramping up.

One explanation is that they have gained control over their fertility although many men are attempting to snatch back control or at least block their use of it. But I never have found that significant movements have one cause. The changes with women are showing up across different cultures which, in itself, is unusual. 

Getting Our Attention

It seems to be coming at us quickly and I am immersed in what I see on television. Where did these smart, assertive and skillful women come from who comment on the world and our lives. Not only that but they do not seem to feel they need to “dress down” or fail to display the forms of their attractiveness. I chuckle when I think about it. “Get a grip guys.” The fact that they are willing to be attractive in all its forms does not mean we still hold them in our grasp.

And it all feels so sudden. 

Not Being Passive

I suppose my first thought is that it is clear important things are happening all at once. Under such circumstances it is not a good idea to engage in passive acceptance or mindless obstruction. Of one thing I think we can be sure, this change is earth shaking in the end and we would do well to be evaluating the meaning and support the changes. We all stand to benefit and it may presage a movement into a new future we would do best to consider and evaluate.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Fiction Writing Process I – The Birth and Shaping of Fiction

Various Sources and Resources

The writing process is fascinating. There is conventional wisdom about how to do it, but there is considerable variation among those of us who write fiction. Nothing is universal. Clearly we are using our personal resources, but certainly we all need editors and a proofreader at the end. Of course there is the matter of inspiration. For me, I found some surprises. And those surprises came at many levels. First I noticed that I reached a point in the development of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy when I realized that I had been working on it, in what I call the back of my brain, for decades. 

Sources of Inspiration

And I found the source of inspiration was anything but confined. Over my life I’ve worked in a number of environments from medical establishments, helping people with personal conflicts, assisting in vocational choices and addressing inner city poverty. In the latter, our staff had to do battle with entrenched interests among the higher ups. While they were not despoiling the earth, they were working against the development of a rich new way to deliver services. Such opposition can be seen at all levels of our lives and in our societies.

Many Changes and Sources   

And at the time women were becoming more and more central and influential. My mentor was an extraordinarily bright black women. My feminist orientation was born in those days. Later I moved on to dealing with the crisis management of stepfamilies in formation. And through it all I was getting deep into people’s personal lives in psychotherapy and some of it was simply life management. 

From my educational background I had acquired a fascination with mythology and cultural processes. All of these elements coalesced in causing me to watch the world stage and political intrigue as our social life on this planet developed and we descended into environmental and social crises. 

And more recently women rising to power has become more central as they gained control over their fertility and cultural events defined a need for new roles. I won’t try to detail the process because it is complex and is well covered elsewhere. But we can see their rise worldwide and the benefits attached are truly stunning.

Melding Sources and Themes

When I put all these components together a story was taking shape in my brain. It was attuned to feminism, the reality of growing conflicts and portrayed the need for stewardship of all kinds. And, of course, it had to have a mythological context which enhanced its creative shape.

Shaping the Story

At some point the question becomes how to shape the story. The author can simply start writing, can make notes and can also organize. My wife writes screenplays and in her work I saw something fascinating in the form of Dara Marks’ (see www.DaraMarks.com) Transformational Arc. I recognized it immediately. It is apparent at the movies. Specific elements are built including high points and culminations such as “as bad as it gets” which is the crisis that generally comes about three quarters of the way through a movie. The system does a wonderful job of shaping stories so they thrive rather than plod. I also used Carl Jung’s personality typology to help guide me in developing and joining characters. In fact, I present this tool in my book Creating Characters and Plots which is available as an ebook on Amazon.

But there was also the matter of containment when inspiration was truly sparked. The outpouring began which led to three books. I refer to it as coming from the back of my brain, but we know such things are fortified by the contributions of the right brain. And, with my knowledge of Carl Jung’s personality typology I could see that my personality components were making a contribution. My primary function of Intuition was leading me to speculative fiction and my auxiliary function of thinking was saving me from utter disorganization because it forced me toward organization.

In subsequent posts I’ll give more details on various components of what I call the writing process and what aids its organization and development.

What shapes the story of your life?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Men! Who Are We?

 

It Seems I’ve Missed Something

For decades now we’ve heard of Women’s Liberation and the end of the subjugation of women but I hear precious little of exploration by men about what it means for men. By that I mean, who are men and who are they to become? Are they to simply accept the changing place of women but not explore themselves? If it is being discussed, it seems to be in a whisper with a whimper.

That does not mean I’m an advocate of a roaring fight against the liberation of women by men. It quite simply means such monumental change in human history suggests there will have to be monumental changes by men and certainly more than whimper.

Fundamental Reexamination of Self

Without men’s role assessment or self examination it is impossible to make a meaningful adaptation and response to this change. It is hardly a sudden event. It has been coming for many decades even if we just look at the fight for the vote by women. But the movement is growing and I would contend that men should see this as an opportunity for them.

An opportunity to yield power? Probably, but there’s a lot more to it. As a man I must say that I see us having a constricted identity. I won’t even begin to try to delineate who and how we are because it’s not up to me. It is up to us as a whole and must indicate a productive commitment to change. Instead we seem to see resistance of various kinds. Even if there was no challenge, it is time for us to examine ourselves.

Meanwhile Back at Identity

What we are seeing is a long overdue movement to diversify identity which is causing confusion. There is considerable resistance when people present themselves as homosexual, bisexual, multisexual or whatever. The fact of the matter is that we are complex and there is place for all of our various iterations.

But a prominent focus seems to be on limited acceptance of women being liberated and gaining power. Granted some of it may be resistance to yielding power by men but as it is being done we are failing at self examination.

This Is An Opportunity

Dare I use the word liberation when it comes to men? Is it possible that we need to face that there has been some form of subjugation by our own sex even while we concentrate on restraining women? We might actually gain a great deal if we focus on what men might gain rather than what they might need to yield. At base perhaps we all need to take on liberation and an end to subjugation. Who are we as men and what possibilities might we open for ourselves?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Welcome To My Newsletter

 Welcome To My Newsletter – Myth and Transformation 

Roger B Burt: Author of Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: 

Women in Power

 

At last! Things got hectic toward the end of 2018 and so I moved the opening of the monthly newsletter to now.  Expect to receive it on the second Wednesday of the month.

Challenge!

Isn’t it interesting that the liberation of women is escalating just at the point we are reaching a new period of increasing challenge across Earth? Women are increasingly speaking up, taking their place in Congress and on television and bring us the import of the #Me Too Movement.

We have only begun to comprehend and explore the meaning and resources they will bring. It was a dawning awareness of the rise of crisis and women that led to my creation of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. I felt women had to be central with the theme that they had been in reserve throughout the millennia. Woven in as well was myth which is a powerful conveyance of underlying themes of power and change.

Book 1 of the trilogy sets the scene and now, in book 2, Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge we bring the full force of the conflicts, a world brought to the confrontation of its future and the dawning of what may be developing before us. The second book will be out shortly and I will continue to weave the themes and the adventure into the development in what we call the real world.

Challenge means there are things which demand our attention and commitment. Certainly we are seeing things which we must address. It is not a time to ignore what is forming even if we cannot yet know where we will be led. Adventure is before us in literature but also before our very eyes in the real world. Let’s commit to a grand exploration.

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Available Now: Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power (Book 1 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

Coming Soon: Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge : The Chosen Rise (Book 2 of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy)

Amazon Link for Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called, Book 1:

https://www.amazon.com/Gaias-Majesty-Mission-Called-Women/dp/1935994255/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535136372&sr=1-1&keywords=Gaia%27s+Majesty

A Guiding Principle

“It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation.”

Joseph Campbell