The Power of Words

Dr. Solomon (John Lithgow) makes a great point in this short clip above.  The dictionary is not only a great resource to check one’s spelling – although spellcheck does most of the heavy lifting for us these days – but it’s also a storehouse of the millions of words that we as writers implement through our own creativity to produce stories, characters, locations, and descriptions designed to entertain audiences.

Too often we will read a great novel, see a well-written film or play, and be intimidated by the awesome creative forces at work before us.  But then we need to step back and remember the above clip from 3rdRock from the Sun.  Every writer, screenwriter, and playwright is using the same dictionary of words that we have at our disposal.  

With practice, determination, and editing, we can also be at the same level of skill and talent as those who have gone before us.  It’s all the same words, it’s how they’re organized that makes the difference.

Today, go and organize some words into a great short story and see what happens!

A Message to All “Aspiring” Creative People

If you’ve ever seen an interview with a creative person that has a Q&A session at the end, there’s usually a person who asks a question like this: “I’m an aspiring author.  What advice would you give to someone like me?” If I were the person being asked this question, my response would be: “Are you currently writing?”  If they answered yes, then I would reply: “Then you’re not aspiring to be a writer, you ARE a writer.”  Seems simple enough.

And it really is.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of ASPIRE is “to seek to attain or accomplish a particular goal,” which means that if you are writing in any capacity in the genre or medium you desire to write in, you are no longer aspiring to do so.  Now, if you aspire to be a published author, or aspire to have one of your screenplays produced, that’s a different thing entirely.

And that’s where setting goals comes into play.  

We are living in a golden age of independent media content production.  No longer do we have to sit idly by and merely hope to have something published or produced.  We can do it ourselves!  Podcasts, self-publishing, blogs, YouTube, Vimeo, and dozens of other outlets allow creative types like us to make our dreams a reality without having to wade through rejection letters, unreturned phone calls, and the dreaded silent “no.”  

Don’t just ASPIRE to do it.  Do it! You want to get your book out there? There are ways to make it happen on your own.  Want to be on the radio?  Do a podcast and get it out there for others to listen to and enjoy.  Like writing and directing films?  YouTube can give you a platform and an audience without having to spend hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars.  

Every person reading this needs to know that we have the power to not just ASPIRE to do things. No, we can do them and then INSPIRE others to get their creativity out for the world to see.  

In a world that can be so mired in cynicism and negativity, it’s time for all creative people to bring their positivity and influence out in the open to help make the world a better place.

Let’s all move beyond aspiring to inspiring and motivate yourself and others to be agents of positive creativity!

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

When it Comes to Your Writing, Who’s Really in Control?

Where do you want your characters to go…or where should they take you?

So, you’ve finally done it. You’ve completed your outline for your novel or short story and you’re ready to sit down and write.  Your fingers are poised over the keys of your computer – or typewriter, if you’re old school – you take a deep breath, and dive into the story.

As you start to dig into story, you realize that your main character is taking you down a storyline that you didn’t outline or anticipate.  In fact, it’s almost as if your protagonist is in control of what they’re saying and doing.  It’s as if you are only there to transcribe the events as they unfold.  A mere voyeur to a story you hadn’t even planned.

This is a good thing!

I’ve had these moments happen many times while writing.  I think I’m going to take the story one place due to planning ahead, and then the main character takes the wheel and we go off on a weed-infested dirt road that I never even knew was there.  It’s at these moments while writing – especially during the drafting process – that it’s best to just sit back and see where things go.

Sometimes you’ll hit a dead end.  Sometimes you’ll learn something new about the character and the choices they make that can have an impact on the story and in turn the character’s interactions with others in the story.  The key during these moments is not to fight the creativity taking hold of your brain and your fingers as the rapidly pound the keys to get every sentence down as fast as possible.

And it’s not only a great method of discovery for your main character.  Supporting characters can benefit and develop greatly during this process of creative surrender.  Maybe you have a character who you feel isn’t strong or dimensional enough; but while writing a sequence that includes them they begin to say things and do things that make them far more interesting and instrumental to the overall story.  That’s always an exciting time!

While I do support writing outlines, I also believe that as creative people we must allow ourselves to give into the temptation of going where our roadmap doesn’t.  Even if you do return to the road you previously paved, you may have learned a thing or two that can benefit your characters – and your story – in the long run.

Have you ever let your characters take the wheel and take your story down a trail you never expected? Leave a comment and let me know!

JOIN ME ON TWITTER TOMORROW!

Tomorrow, join me for my Twitter Takeover of @YoungEntmag Thursday, February 7 from 2p to 4p PST about my YA novel, The Field, writing, and other things!

Looking forward to your questions! #YAauthorTakeover

UPDATE: Thank you everyone who stopped by for the my #YATwitterTakeover!

THE TRUE STORY BEHIND “THE FIELD” BY IAN DAWSON – PART Two

We continue now with the police report of my abduction from May 1, 1993.

Twenty-five years ago, this corner was the location of the clearing where I was taken by my abductors.
After I was released, I raced down Shasta View on my bike toward home. Was very happy to be alive!

I often wonder what ever became of my two abductors. They were never found, which means that they are still out there over two decades later. I hope that no other kid encountered them after my situation in May of 1993. One can only hope.

The True Story Behind “The Field” by Ian Dawson – Part One

Happy 2019, everyone! I wanted to start off the New Year by sharing the true story behind the events that inspired my novel, The Field. While I was home in Redding for Christmas, I went for a walk and took photos of the locations where I was abducted. Some of it looks the same 25 years later.  Other areas – like the clearing where I was taken – have been replaced by housing.  

Along with the photos, I would like to share sections of the police report taken on May 1, 1993 documenting the incident and what I told the officers who responded to the call.

The fateful road that began a nightmarish evening in May 1993.
The area across the street from Shasta View and Rancho Road where I was nabbed after an intense chase.
Now home to housing developments, the corner of Rancho and Shasta View used to be home to a large clearing where I was taken by my abductors.

More of the story coming up in the next post. Stay tuned…

Thank you from Ian Dawson

Hello!  I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has read and reviewed my novel, The Field, this year, and also thank those who interviewed me about the book.  It was quite the journey getting it published, and I truly appreciate the support and positive reviews I have received.

I also want to thank all the people who have subscribed to my blog (www.thefieldya.com) and have followed me on Twitter (@thefieldya).  I haven’t posted in a while, but I assure you that more blog posts will be coming in 2019!

Thank you again, and I look forward to publishing my next novel in the new year!