Fiction Writing and Transformation

 

Making a Beginning

When I started to write my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I merely thought I had an intriguing idea. I had always loved having my imagination stirred by mythology and mermaids particularly took my attention. There were mermen but no one seemed to care much about them. And so in this era of the empowerment of women I moved forward to a fantasy in a current real world setting. I believe the best term for the series is magical realism.

The Opening

The first book opens with a focus on an innocent young woman by the name of Avery. She worked serving third world women in an effort to give them an independent and productive economic future. Certainly she was dedicated but had no idea what was going to unfold in her life.

Not long after she had entered college the people she thought were her parents were killed in an automobile accident. She felt abandoned and moved forward.

Now Here Is the Writing Part

As a psychologist I knew the trauma she felt and that there would be great difficulty as she moved forward dedicated but alone. As it turned out she was not alone. She came to know her real parents were alive and she was a key person in the time our Earth Mother would throw the world into crisis. Her emotional agony was terrible.

I knew there had been  inner turmoil and I showed it in the story but initially it came across as whining. No doubt that was what she felt inside but that was not intriguing in the book. I had to tone her emotions down.

Each Character Had a Birth and A Development 

I began this effort with a detailed outline and a plan. The plan was useful but the characters were troublesome. I took Avery in hand and brought in some other women. First came an especially intriguing women called Brigid. She was the leader of the Andromeda warrior women and had Irish heritage. Well, kind of. 

I was led into some research on Brigid who had flaming red hair and decided she was Irish but it seemed the true origins of red hair was in the steppes of Asia among their Amazon women. That’s right, the warrior Amazon women. And it seemed likely that as the ice age ended they moved west probably settling in Ireland. Her history and dedication exploded. She was truly demanding and grew in the story. Sometimes as the supposed writer I wondered who was in charge.

Then Came Darling Luisa

Another Andromeda woman arrived and worked closely with Brigid. Brigid called her Kitten. She was darling, beautiful, irresistible to men and dangerous. As an agent of Andromeda she engaged men, often took them to bed and extracted the information and involvement she wanted as a part of her mission. In her story I knew I was in dangerous ground because she could have been viewed as despoiled rather than dedicated. But she was also insistent and in the age of empowering women I knew she had to be viewed more in terms of her dedication and courage.

Who Is In Charge?

It seemed as the author I was only nominally in charge. The characters were insistent and the story in the end seemed to presage the era we now find ourselves in. Strong and dedicated women were leading us into a time of transformation and they and us in our time don’t know where the transformation will lead us. Can we ever be detached from the larger picture of human life? Through fiction we can open our eyes to the rich and powerful developments which may go well beyond a simple view of life on a lovely planet.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

—————–

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

————-

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

Expressiveness in Men and Women

 

How are your feelings manifested?

For most of my writing on the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy the story and the characters seemed to flow out of my brain. Well, actually I did do an outline first but then the waves of details and change started to flow. For the outline I chose to use the tools found in Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational Arc by Dara Marks. It is actually aimed at creating screen plays but works wonderfully for novels as well.

Even with an outline I often felt on autopilot. Looking back it seems though that my right brain was dominant with a little assist from the left.

I wondered where my characterization of Avery, my lead female protagonist, came from. And I also had to look at how I characterized her guy, Beck. What I saw was that it came directly out of my work with couples in therapy of various kinds.

Recognizing Origins 

Avery came out as a bright, dedicated woman but she could seem immature at times particularly when she was under stress. Of yes, having your life suddenly bombed and strafed and finding out you were part of an almost mythological body of humanity is stressful.

Certainly I wanted her to be interesting and to show emotions as she was swept out to sea as it were. But in working with couples I saw a characteristic difference overall between men and women. Women were more expressive of their emotions and the men seemed to be feeling less. Of course, what I learned over time was that they weren’t feeling less, but merely showing it less. And, in fact, there is actually research supporting that observation. When physiological indicators are measured it becomes clear men are feeling just as strongly as women, but contain it, often without tears.

So I was giving Avery free rein to show the emotional states she had to be having and Beck was more studied at least on the surface. The fact that she had a range of feelings, including some which might seem immature, was indicative of strength and not weakness. And the fact that Beck seemed more studied didn’t mean he cared less.

Our Truths Displayed Broadly

What was conveyed was human truth and we see it in places such as corporate or organizational meetings where women may show more depth of expression and, yes, be what we call emotional. When it occurs, the men often take it as a sign of weakness. Got it wrong guys. In fact, their own lack of expressiveness or muted expressiveness may be getting in the way of their homing in on the issue at hand. In some ways, with appropriate structure, laying out what we feel forthrightly helps us assess the matter at hand. Then we can move on to do the focused work needed.

The lesson is that, in writing, we might be less judgmental and more accepting of the flow which occurs. It displays how we are as people and the diversity we bring to our interactions. We can always redirect and hone our work later on. I’m sure Avery and Beck loved each other just that much more because of what they brought to the emotional table.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before 

them. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now in Pre-Order and goes on sale April 29 on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Available Now in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge

Searching For Meaning

 

There are a variety of ways for us to describe our lives. We each have our own story. Sometimes we aren’t even sure that we are searching for something. Generally a common thread is communicated to us. Get an education, find a job, marry, have children – is common. Of course our lives are far more nuanced than that.

Seeing a Hint

I think my earliest memory is telling. One rainy evening, probably around 1943, I was seated in a window seat looking out through a rain streaked window. There was a soft sparkle of light in the drops streaming down. I remember a soothing quiet. It was just the type of evening in which dreams are born as we grow and begin to explore our personal and larger world. It was a time of wonder.

I probably would not have remembered it except for the fact that there was a loud knock on the door to our apartment. It was the block captain telling my mother that our curtains must be closed. I had pulled back the curtains to sit at the window.

It was World War II and we were to maintain a blackout. New York was not under attack but precautions were essential. There was no anger. Just a statement of essential caution. I was a very young child and could not understand. 

But that evening I was opening my dreams and where I searched for meaning. That search has endured through my life.

What’s The Point?

It is not a matter of an early dream or recollection. It is about us and our personal search. Each of us is different. Some simply march forward. Others demand exploration. Others dream. the stories of our approach to life are almost infinite. We are informed of expectations but we build our own.

My Viewpoint

Certainly I obeyed the prime directives of what we are supposed to expect from life. Yes, I went to school, pursued a career, married and had children. But the components are telling. 

When I went to college I found I wasn’t clear why I was there. What did it really mean to get an education? For what? We begin with basic courses. Only later do we get to choose. Along the way nuclear physics got my attention. What researchers found was unfolding and revealing more than expected. So, at last I had found a direction.

Except an unforgivable math professor who was uncommitted to our education ruined my view forward. The details are unimportant but I chose another field where I could explore. I entered the field of psychology. 

I think I have to say I found clinical psychology truly interesting partly because we really don’t know anything definitive about the human mind. There are theories, dicta, and beliefs. But now, decades later I think the unanswered questions are almost infinite. Does that sound strange?

I accept very little as given and I’ll go into that in more detail later in this blog.

Again! What’s the Point?

I’m redirecting this blog into specifics of diverse kinds. Yes, it is called the Cusp of Reality which is truly how I view where we spend our lives. But there are a number of specifics which have demanded my attention over my life. I’ve gathered them and will do more detailed and sequential sharing.

One of my essential endeavors lately has been to write and develop my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. What developed was not expected.

Essential Transformation

The point is not about diversity. Rather I am redirecting the blog somewhat because of my growing concern about the potential for transformation on the horizon. And, with Gaia’s Majesty, I find myself being engaged by transformation. And transformation may be wonderful or it may be terrible. It is my view that our world will be transformed shortly.

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

(Available now in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.) 

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before them.

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now in Pre-Order and goes on sale April 29 on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead. 

Feminism and the Roles of Characters

Changes For Female Characters

How do you feel about recent changes for women?

It has become more challenging to write female characters, especially now that the traditional role of women is being questioned. “The woman’s place is in the home” has receded into history and the permissible roles are changing. Yes, I chose the word permissible deliberately. There are still pressures regarding what a woman should and should not do and how she should act. This is an evolutionary process. And it affects how we develop fictional characters.

Greater Challenge

And so the author has to decide upon what a female character should be like or at least should attend to how they may be affected by contemporary views. Of course, if we are writing fiction a woman can do anything the author wants her to do. And then we will see how the reading public reacts. This raises the possibility for the author of challenging views and change. Of course, there is the matter of wanting people to buy your books.

Off Into a Changing world

And so I set off into the world of fiction and fantasy. The setting was contemporary which conditioned certain choices. And that can be challenging. There is a context for the present but if we are writing into the future there are many more contexts that become available.In the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy these were women chosen for roles to lead us into the future and related to whether that future will be fulfilling or disastrous.

In history and in the present women certainly have had a variety of roles whether we approved of them or not. In this instance I began with a role where the Andromeda women were the consorts of rich, powerful and greedy men. I wanted them to be people readers could relate to and not simply courageous women who sought wealth and ease. They had to have values even if they were hidden. And implicit is that just because they are consorts they are in no way despoiled. They are their own person and have their mission. In fact they deserve recognition and praise.

What Will Women Think!

It would have been complicated to weave the history of the warrior women of ancient near Asia into the story for context purposes. It was inspiring to come to understand this part of history and the Andromeda women had to stand on their own. Of course they were not uniform and had their personal stories. I came to appreciate them more and more as I got deeper into the books. I’m pleased to say that so far I’m finding that women appreciate them. I think we all fundamentally understand that challenge in life is highly variable as is adaptability depending on need.

Coming to Comfort

The theme of an end to subjugation of women and their empowerment is woven deep into the story. I admired these “gutsy” women. They are smart and tenacious. Certainly they are not passive and retiring. They are who they are and they have joined a cause and that relates to what is happening for women and all of us now. Women have a growing opportunity to fulfill their talent and potential. And that in turn leads to value for all of us. It is truly a pleasure to see recent revelations about what women have suffered under predatory men and that those men are now suffering consequences. It is not all over, but increasingly we will now see women stepping foreword and they will receive broad support. It is more than about time. 

###

Don’t Miss My Developing Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy

I refer to it as a work of magical realism. It is a series with a strong mythological element and a real world setting in this time when women are being empowered at last. It is a time of wonder and awakening for all of humankind.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power – Book 1

(Available now in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.) 

Avery had dedicated her life to work for the future of third world women. Her life was enhanced when she met the man who became the love of her life. They could not know that they shared a destiny and that a mission set long ago by our Earth Goddess was to be revealed before them.

Gaia’s Majesty-Challenge: The Chosen Rise – Book 2

(Available now in Pre-Order and goes on sale April 29 on Amazon)

These people, called Tethyans, live in cities in the sea but can morph into fully human form and come to land to form families. They join with the warrior women called the Andromeda to fight against the forces working to impair the future of humankind. Avery has found her birth name of Chantia and she and Beck find there is soon to be a child of seeming great import just as the world falls into terrible strife with millions already dead.

Are We Kidding Ourselves – Pt. 1

 

Gaining Perspective

I’ve been sharing my experience of writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy—that it started out as one book and now may actually be four books. One of the problems is that demanding characters keep showing up and so do intriguing twists to the plot.

That’s one set of issues, but there is another set which is related. It requires me taking my psychologist off the shelf. Being a clinical psychologist has been interesting and demanding, but after all these decades it seems I have no greater fixed clarity.

Essential Questions

I still have to ask, What is reality? And I also still have to ask, What is mental illness?

Okay. There, I said it. There is a fundamental problem. Well, two fundamental problems. First of all reality is maddeningly unclear. Second sanity and mental illness have no bounds.

The Matter of Reality

Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder. And reality is in the eye of the beholder as well. Is that bad? After decades of dealing with psychology my answer is clear. Reality is a matter of what is serviceable and functional—broadly defined. We don’t have to agree and our respective viewpoints may serve our respective purposes. If we have the same job and the same focus, that is another matter.

The Outcome

The end point is respect and accepting that these different views need not be considered a problem so long as they do not serve negative purposes. Currently we are seeing the down side of this issue about reality on the political stage and the uproar and potential devastation are terrible to consider. 

So again, we see it is a matter of functionality, but in some instances there are destructive orientations. Reality may not be at issue but intent may be the key issue.

The essence here is related to intent and outcome. The wonderful thing is that in writing fiction we can serve whatever purpose we choose and it is up to the reader to love the story or to throw the book in the trash.

Mental Illness

Quite awhile back there was a movement to move virtually everything related to human nature into the health field. Our mental status and related functioning was dragged in kicking and screaming. To this day there is a dispute about what is and is not mental illness. 

Our differences are substantial and, especially thanks to Carl Jung, we understand that there can be vast differences in personality. That means those differences are often great but not pathological. The issue again comes back to functionality. We often have to see what the outcome is or how harmful the person is. It remains complex and we have to respect the complexity.

What Is The Point? (It’s about time you may be saying!)

While the issues of reality and mental illness do have real world consequences, the basic point is applicable to the world of fiction writing. In fiction we can swing open the door for exploration and what we see is generally safe and can be intriguing. As I indicated above I found that characters could be insistent and plots could be intriguing in many forms. In the end, in fiction we see how nuanced our lives can be and that our different realities and functionality enrich our lives. And that enrichment is not just in our books but in our existences. There is much to be enjoyed and savored and, yes, managed.

What have you concluded?

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

Writing – The Larger Discovery

 

Means of Expression

Too often we take for granted the availability of what I will call means of expression. It seems to have started long ago around our camp fires and quiet evenings in caves before there was writing. We have been discovering ourselves and our potential for a very long time. 

Religion surely began long before we could write and reflected our needs of many varying kinds. We sought guidance and understanding. In time, surely even before we had writing there were entertaining and often moving displays to each other. And then came language and writing.

It Hasn’t Stopped

Now we have the stage, visual media and all different forms of written inspiration. For many of us it is not a pastime or simply amusement. When we look we see the movement of us and our cultures.

Do any of us who write begin with a clear understanding of why we write or where it will lead us. Certainly some authors amuse us, aid us with our dreams and inspire us to seek involvement and changes for our future. It is hard to be definitive regarding the specific scope of all such expressive endeavors. Likewise it is hard to define the reactions of the people who view and read these productions or what it means to each one of them.

As The Writer

And, as I’ve said before, I didn’t begin writing with a clear goal or understanding of what I was doing. Doesn’t that sound stupid and clueless? But it probably is true of many of our endeavors. We do not definitively plan in many cases. Even in the creation of a family we do not plan it out although we may think we do. We probably did not specifically foresee that fabulous face and while we may think our children will be a little me, we are often not prepared for who comes to live at our house.

The Wonder of Discovery

And therein lies the wonder. Wouldn’t it be dull if we could specifically plan our course in life and who will join us in the voyage. In the same way I started writing thinking there was a story I might like to develop. It proved not to be entirely under my control. The insistence on inclusion and development of some characters was challenging. I had to take charge at least to some degree. 

And it was only later that I recognized why I chose the themes I chose. Myth is a powerful force and when we refer to myth we often make the error of taking it to mean that it lacks truth. In fact, what I see is that it often conveys deep truths, offers us futures to weigh and other endless possibilities.

Enjoying the Adventure

It may seem odd but for me it does not detract from the experience to study what is revealed. The story and its experience may explode and lead but it is also endlessly intriguing. It enhances the reader and the writer and may open unintended and unexpected pathways. This may not be new to you but when we each look at the implications, it is a matter of wonder.

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

The Author as Host – AH!

 

The Attraction  of Writing Fiction

What a fascinating idea writing fiction is. You have this great idea in your head and what fun it will be to bring it to life.

And Then There’s Reality

I’ve found, in some ways that the actual writing skill may be the least of it. That’s not arrogance or being dismissive. I found a lot of unforeseen issues. Let me be upfront that I’m a clinical psychologist which turned out to be a plus and a minus. I found some things I hadn’t expected such as characters beating on my door and some I had to fire. I had no idea that would happen.

Characters as Living Beings

Maybe that’s a problem because of what I did for a living. Doing psychotherapy sounded really interesting and it was but it is also challenging. My clients were sometimes stubborn—like a character.  Sometimes they had unexpected things going on inside of their brains—like characters. With a character you can try to ease them into something coherent. Real people are often not so obliging. And actually characters can be annoying and stubborn as well.

And Then There is the Author

We would like to think that the story and its construction are firmly under our control. Well, that’s what we might like to believe. What I’ve seen is that we often harbor beings in ourselves that we are not clear about. Naively we might think the character we chose is brilliant but it may be something hiding in us. Oh dear! 

And then there is our own personality. Maybe you haven’t considered that but as a psychologist I found I had to. I know my Jungian personality type and understand that part of my personality is in my unconscious. Interesting construct—and then comes the writing. My primary personality component is intuition. How cool! My basic direction is toward what might be, and I ask “What If” a lot. As a writer my saving grace is that my backup function is thinking which means part of me then moves forward to give some structure and focus rather than always racing off toward the horizon. And, of course, there are other attributes further down. Those things in the unconscious constitute traps in themselves.

The Coming Together

When we go to work we have a brilliant idea and then are bombarded by the demands of characters and various parts of ourselves. Sometimes I think it is a blessing to know this because of my profession and sometimes all it tells me is how unexpected and difficult the writing process can be whether we are forewarned or not.

Tools

I’ve found that the construction of Dara Marks’ transformational arc helped keep me under control. It also helped to know that we all have hidden beings in ourselves. They may drive a character forward or make him or her be insistent. Our personality my help us or hinder us but it is helpful to know that our personality may contribute. So much for the neat idea of writing which simply needed actualizing. We are beings who live with a host of selves and beings. That’s both a blessing and a curse but it helps to not have it all be unexpected.

Maybe in the End…

Of course,  what I’ve been talking about is the unexpected but it need not be a curse. If we know we live with our multiple inner sources we can form alliances and allegiances that help us. Over time we can form them into resources and aides. It may be that the process may be less or more challenging but at least we can know to expect challenge of kinds we might not have expected.

AH! Or should it be YIKES!

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

Hey Author! Do You Think You’re in Charge?

 

The Same Question To You

We all like to think we are in charge of our lives and, at least to some degree we are. But the author of fiction has an essential problem because he or she is creating something. The process can be surprising.

I’ve come to believe that we live in an emerging universe. As our sight has improved we see what a dynamic place the universe it and we may accept its creativity or fear its dynamism. The same alternatives can be seen in our personal world close in. We each have to deal with what we may be in charge of.

Where Does Writing Fiction Lead Us?

For a long time I felt moved to write fiction but the demands of my life always got in the way. There were thing like marriage, children, a job. They demand our time.

When at last I had the luxury of focusing on stories stirring in my head I found I was not alone. Earlier I talked about the evenings in a valley in northern Maryland and the spirits who dwelled there. Well there were other spirits, or characters if you will, who were nearby and I did not suspect them. They became demanding and, in their own way shaped what I wrote.

My Own Expanding Universe

I thought to write one book but swiftly it became a trilogy. And now it seems there may be a fourth book. At the same time I have to silence callings to other elements that keep developing and creating other stories. Having to deal with this insistent gathering was not in my plan.

In some way it is another set of personal waves. I believe in waves in the lives of humanity personally and collectively and that we have our own life but it is part of the lives of the collective. That means we are never entirely in charge.

Focusing the Challenge

Is that bad? In the end it is essential to see it as enriching. How boring otherwise. We might as well be sitting isolated on a desert island. One essential focus is on where we may be going collectively. Of course as a small individual in the larger crowd we must understand that we are not in charge. And, of course, we can ask if humanity as a whole is in charge.

More recently we are finding evidence of the fundamentals of life in asteroids and are assuming they exist on other planets. That means in a broad sense the universe is alive. Of course our religions have always led us to believe in greater beings but too often we turned in and believed it was all about us and our deity. But, what if it is merely a universe of a living form and that we may find our way to a larger and more diverse future than we had ever thought might be possible.

The Creative Universe

As I’ve been writing my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I was constantly thrust to the point where it kept expanding into a larger and larger framework which imposed the thought of a living universe calling us. I haven’t created any of that and wonder where I’m being led. Do I think I am in charge? Not really!! 

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 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

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